January 2018 - In This Issue:
Fix the DSP Crisis: Join us in Fighting for a Fair Living Wage for All Direct Support  Professionals
Across the state there are 35,000 Direct Support Professionals (DSPs)--caring, qualified people who provide daily hands-on support of Pennsylvanians with intellectual disability or autism. That figure includes 400 UCP DSPs who serve individuals and families right here in our local community.  
Unfortunately, government funding--the sole source of DSP wages--has flat-lined for 10 years. As a result of low wages, the turnover rate among this segment of the workforce has skyrocketed to 26%. Today, PA is facing a DSP Workforce Crisis.
But all is not doom and gloom. Governor Tom Wolf has voiced his support for a living wage for all DSPs throughout the state. It is up to us--families of individuals who receive services, staff, and leadership of agencies who provide services, caregivers and other like-minded advocates--to hold the Governor accountable.
To that end, UCP has joined forces with 25 other provider agencies throughout PA who are asking staff and supporters to call Governor Wolf's office on or before January 30 in support of a living wage for DSPs.
The FixTheDSP Crisis flier has more details; the UCP Advocacy One Pager has calling instructions and scripted messages you can use. If you have a personal message or story you want to share, please do. These typically have the greatest impact.
The bottom line: DSP wages MUST improve. We are asking Governor Wolf to allocate $60M dollars to fund DSP wage increases in 2018. UCP CEO Judith McCowan has stated unequivocally that if the Governor allocates the funds we are requesting, UCP WILL ensure that every penny goes to DSP wages! 
PLEASE SHARE THIS CALL TO ACTION with anyone you know who has a vested interest in the issue. Together, we can #FIXTHEDSPCRISIS!

Featured Program:  
Adult Day Programs 
In 2018, Life without Limits e-news will offer a new feature: monthly program highlights. Each issue will focus on the good work being done and the progress being made in a different UCP program. This month, for our first installment, we turn our eyes to Adult Day Programs. UCP offers a multi-tiered approach to these programs, with individuals placed according to their ability, interests, behaviors, and goals. Each program hub is designed to meet the intellectual, emotional, and social needs of the participants. The Crossroads adult day program in Middletown is one such example.   
The Sensory Room--Creating Wonder Without Limits 

Sensory rooms are a relatively new therapeutic feature designed to develop individual senses. This could be through special lighting, music, or objects used to stimulate self-organization and positive change. In conjunction with the other services offered through our Adult Day Programs,
sensory rooms can act as a conduit for increased creativity, resilience, and self-care. 

Crossroads was the first UCP program to install a fully-furnished sensory room. The
"Calming Sensory Room" package provides a multi sensory environment which, on any given day, produces a wide range of positive soothing results for individuals in the program. 

For example, Jason loves to spend time in the sensory room, returning to it often t hroughout the day.  Relatively new to the program, you can read his story here.

Toni becomes easily distraught and starts crying.  When that happens, she is now gently guided into the sensory room...and is able to calm herself within minutes. 

Hank, who is blind, enjoys feeling the vibration of the platform bench, as well as the textures and heaviness of the specially weighted pad. The room serves to both calm individuals at key moments, or simply create an overall sense of well-being.  

If you would like to view more images from Crossroads in action, click here!

Paid for by a generous donation to the UCP Foundation, the 20'x20' sensory room--a remarkably quieting and soothing mix of sound, colors, and textures--produces an overall sense of total relaxation. Having such a room removes the guesswork for staff of finding a "happy spot" for individuals when dealing with day-to-day stresses.

Clearly, the "calming sensory room" has lived up to its name.
Please Consider Donating

Going forward, UCP CEO Judith McCowan has shared her desire to incorporate similar sensory room environments in each of our adult day programs. The issue, of course, is cost. If you have been touched by learning the impact such an offering can have on the people in our programs, we encourage you to consider financially supporting this endeavor.  

You can make a donation to the UCP foundation to be earmarked specifically for "sensory room  support". Or you can contact Judith (or UCP Foundation Executive Director Julie Snyder)  directly at 717.737.3477 .
Upcoming Events & Advisories

2018 Cold Weather Alert
Though today is no indication, 2018 is shaping up to be host to the coldest winter in a long time. This is important to remember when traveling or transporting loved ones.  Please note the information from the Office of Departmental Programs below:

Magic Night: Save the Date
Join us for a night of philanthropy, food, drink, dancing, and friendship. Magic Night 2018 will be held Saturday, March 10th at the Hershey Country Club, with the theme a tribute to "An American in Paris." Individual tickets and sponsorships can be purchased at ucpmagicnight.org , or email Anna.Spiess@ucpcentralpa.org for more details.

Respite Care: The Gift of Time
As part of our ongoing commitment to not only participants in our programs, but their fami lie s as well,  UCP offers respite care throughout the year. Respite care is offered so caretakers and family members can have a night off from the valiant work they do in caring for loved ones. If yo u are interested in signing up for this program, you can contact Becki Kreiser at 717.382.6900, or by email at becki.kreiser@ucpcentralpa.org.  Our next respite session is February 2nd at the Mechanicsburg location.

It is the mission of UCP Central PA to assist infants, children, youth, and adults with disabilities and their families achieve their goals of development, growth, independence, and full citizenship.