Connection
 August 2018  
Buffalo Bills invite
AIM consumer to game
AIM recently helped Antonio Maddox move out of a nursing facility. His service coordinator, Tracie Johnson, helped arrange a surprise for him: tickets to a Buffalo Bills game.
Antonio Maddox with his sister and caregiver, Monique Freeman, at their Elmira home.
When Antonio "Tony" Maddox left a nursing home to live at home with family in Elmira last summer, his service coordinator at AIM, Tracie Johnson, asked him if there was anything he wanted, or anything he'd like to do.

Maddox said he wanted to go to a Buffalo Bills game.

Unfortunately, though, he wasn't quite ready for a game last season.

Maddox, 48, has Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB), a rare genetic disease that causes fragile skin that blisters easily. He was homeless when he entered a nursing facility in his home city of Syracuse several years ago, where his condition deteriorated.

With the help of AIM's Nursing Home Transition and Diversion Program, Maddox was able to leave the nursing facility and go to live with his sister, Monique Freeman, in Elmira. Johnson arranged for medical equipment, sessions with health professionals and other services to help Maddox make the transition.

Having EB is comparable to constantly having second-degree burns all over the body, and proper wound care is critical.

Freeman, who works as a certified nursing assistant, took over the role of primary caregiver for Maddox. Under his sister's care, Maddox's condition has improved over the past year.

And Johnson didn't forget about his request to go to a Bills game. She contacted the team, and Bills' staff offered a group of tickets for the preseason game on Aug. 26 against the Cincinnati Bengals. The tickets are in the Goal Line Club, an indoor suite overlooking the end zone at the Bills' stadium, New Era Field.

The team also sent a package of Bills memorabilia, including an autographed football and photo, a blanket, backpack and flag.

Maddox plans to attend the Bills game with his sister, his son, and several of his nieces and nephews. He said he was overwhelmed by the gesture.

"When they told me, I was crying and everything," he said. "Tracie makes miracles happen. She treats me like I'm a superstar."
AIM to expand social programs for youths with developmental disabilities  
A new monthly gathering, Growing Stronger, will begin this fall for youths ages 9-13
who have developmental disabilities. Several other new programs will be added as well.

AIM Independent Living Center's programs for youths with developmental disabilities will begin serving new age groups next month.
 
AIM was recently awarded a Family Support Services grant from the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) to expand its monthly social groups, quarterly social skills programs and summer day camps.
 
A new monthly gathering called Growing Stronger for youths ages 9-13 will begin this fall. Growing Stronger is similar to AIM's Learn & Grow Playgroup, which is for ages 2-8.
 
Both groups will be led by Kelly Sidari.
 
Learn & Grow features Sidari's "Music and Movement" program. For Growing Stronger, Sidari will have participants create skits based on their favorite books. Both groups will include arts and crafts activities, along with snacks and beverages.
 
Also, AIM will add a second session of Sibshops, a fun and educational monthly group for the brothers and sisters of children with developmental disabilities. There will now be Sibshops groups for ages 5-9 and ages 10 and up.
 
Learn & Grow, Growing Stronger, Sibshops and Tween Sibshops will be offered one Saturday a month at AIM's Elmira office, 350 W. Church St. They are scheduled for Sept. 22, Oct. 10, Nov. 17, Dec. 15, Jan. 26, Feb. 23, March 23, April 27, May 25 and June 22.
 
The schedule:
Learn & Grow | 9-11 a.m.
Sibshops (ages 5-9) | 9-11 a.m.
Growing Stronger | 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Tween Sibshops (ages 10+) | 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

AIM will also expand its Social Skill Club to serve ages 9-13. This four-session program is offered quarterly in both Corning and Elmira. In addition, AIM will add a day camp for ages 9-13 next summer. The dates for these programs have not been set.
 
For more information or to RSVP, contact OPWDD Youth Specialist Amanda Gitchell at agitchell@aimcil.com or (607) 962-8225, ext. 210.
AIM to host public hearing on state IL plan
AIM will host a public hearing this week to gather input for the development of New York's next three-year State Plan for Independent Living.

The public hearing will be held from 3-5 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 8 at the Elmira AIM office, 350 W. Church St.

The plan for 2020, 2021 and 2022 is being developed by the New York State Independent Living Council (NYSILC) and the network of independent living centers across New York.

The plan is designed to improve independent living services for people with disabilities, and it identifies the needs and priorities of consumers, providers and others involved in the ILC network in order to identify common strategies. The plan guides the use of federal independent living funding.

Accommodations for people with disabilities will be available at the public hearing.

For more information, call NYSILC at (518) 427-1060 or click here.
Harshberger named Employee of the Month
Jessica Harshberger, Olmstead Housing Subsidy Specialist, is AIM's Employee of the Month for August.
Jessica Harshberger has been chosen as AIM's Employee of the Month for August.

Harshberger is AIM's Olmstead Housing Subsidy Specialist. 

The Olmstead Housing Subsidy helps seniors and people with disabilities who are high-need Medicaid recipients find safe, accessible, affordable housing. 
 
The program provides assistance to people who are homeless, unstably housed or transitioning out of a nursing home. Participants pay 30 percent of their income, less allowances, for rent. A stipend is also available for security deposits, moving expenses, household furnishings, etc.
 
Harshberger helps people apply for the Olmstead Housing Subsidy, locates and inspects apartments, and works with landlords. She also follows up with consumers regularly after they move into their new homes.
 
Harshberger "exhausts all avenues when overcoming barriers," one person who nominated her wrote.

Our current job openings:

- Veterans Advocate
- OASAS Family Support Navigator 
- OPWDD Self-Hire Staff 
- OPWDD Direct Support Professionals  
- NHTD/TBI Service Coordinator
- NHTD/TBI Community Integration Counselor
- CDPAS Personal Care Assistants 

View job descriptions and apply online here
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