Week of May 17th, 2021
We're re-running last week's GTKM feature with Jen May again. Jeremy & Rocio have been busy this week in the field and didn't have quite enough time to complete their editing before this newsletter deadline.

Would you like to be a guest interviewer?
Let us know!
Meanwhile, Angie participated in 3 different STEP-funded activities this week (left to right) problem solving in "Life Out Loud", working on tactile senses with Kinetic Sand as part of "It Makes Sense", and vibing with nature as part of "Balance, Mind, & Body".
We had a quite a few STEP services submissions this week. Top, Kenilee is hosting Pleasant Elementary classrooms this month for a bowling field trip (1 class per day) this month, which meant that Jeremy & David got to do some high-intensity, hands-on customer service as part of the "Up Your Alley" class.
Deanna also participated in the "Live Out Loud" group.

Here she is working on sorting, then counting money.

Easy Peasy.
John's usual excuses & apologies--
Get ready for some confusion over the next few months as Ohio's DD system sorts out how to reopen services. On one hand, vaccinations should make it safe to resume group activities in most settings. On the other hand the same changes to Ohio law that forced CLI and other providers to privatize away from the County Board of DDs also eliminate segregated large workshop-style services as a legal, long-term option. It will be interesting as we (collectively) sort out what "re-opening" looks like. Frankly, CLI can no longer afford to do both segregated and community based services. CLI believes that small group, person-centered, community-integrated services are the future of our field, so we're leaning in hard on that.

In one way the state-wide crisis has been helpful. CLI was struggling pre-COVID because the way that programs were funded ran opposite to the mandates of community employment and community integration. The old reimbursement paid a lot more per staff person to provide facility-based services. Without the safety concerns related to COVID, I don't think there really would have been the political will to change the funding incentives. CLI used to lose money every time we did small group activities in the community under the old model. Then came COVID and eliminated that old model and suddenly paid providers enough to support 3-4 person groups.

There are many people who want things to go back to the old way. I do not. I think that we need to figure out ways to manipulate STEP and community employment services to better support people who live with families and need support all day. I get frustrated when philosophical arguments ignore this systemic need and forget that Ohio advocates created the original 169 legislation more than 50 years ago to provide parents of kids & adults with DD daytime school & work so that the rest of the family could also go to work & school.

Our system needs to establish ways to enable real person-centered planning that build what each person needs based on not just choice, but also their living situation. 24/7 residential supports are very expensive. Individuals with DD who live with family with little or no outside supports should be entitled to a bigger allocation for STEP and/or community employment services by virtue of saving residential dollars that would otherwise support that person. Families of adults with DD support their loved one by choice. They are not legally required to do it. It is in the state's best interest to support those families. I think it's also in the individual served's best interest too by supporting that natural resource-- separate from the money. Good staff are priceless, but even if you can count on them for 10, 20, even 30 years-- we all eventually go away. Family is forever.

That's all I've got. Have a great week. And-- so as not to disappoint the nurse-- wash your hands!

Ohio Mask Mandate Update--

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced a series of statewide drawings to provide incentives to Ohioans to get a COVID-19 vaccination. With wide access to the fife-saving vaccine to help Ohioans safe, Governor DeWine also announced that most COVID-19 health orders would be removed on June 2nd.  DeWine made the announcements during a statewide address to Ohioans Wednesday evening.

Vaccine Incentives/Statewide Drawings -
In an effort to increase the number of Ohioans who currently have not taken a COVID-19 vaccine to get vaccinated, Governor DeWine announced a series of statewide drawings to help incentivize vaccinations. Ohioans under the age of 18 who are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine will be entered into a drawing for a four-year full scholarship to any of Ohio's state colleges and universities, including full tuition, room and board. 

Ohioans aged 18 and older will be entered into a weekly drawing with a prize of up to $1 million. A total of five weekly drawings for each prize will take place, with the first winners being announced on May 26th. Winners must have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by the date of the respective drawing. 

The drawings will be administered by the Ohio Department of Health, with technical assistance from the Ohio Lottery Commission, and will be funded through existing allocations to the Ohio Department of Health of unexpended coronavirus relief funds. Further  details and contest rules will be announced by the Ohio Department of Health and the Ohio Lottery Commission next week during a briefing to news media.
Would you like to join CLI for some fun virtual activities?
It's a bunch of loud fun!
Firelands Local LLC Update:
James Johnson
Mr. Johnson is back this week, but not quite in time to get his feature in before the Constant Contact Presses ran Sunday night!

Miss his unique take on things?

Make sure to let him know that you missed his commentary this week.
"They always say that time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself"

-- Andy Warhol
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