July 2021 Issue
We were so excited to finally be able to host our first in-person MACer meeting at
Morgan's Wonderland on June 23rd.
Letter from CEO
It’s all about Joey.
“Joey” is a composite of an individual who will use The MAC for services once we open. Our MAC Client and Caregiver Committee recommended we call these individuals MAC Members, representing intentionality that they are part of The MAC family. The MAC is theirs. Hence, Joey is the future MAC Member for whom we are building our Care Model. We have Joey in mind in every decision we make. Joey is our driving force and our inspiration. All of our planning asks the question: Is this right for Joey? Will this help Joey? What would Joey think? Today, Joey faces many obstacles and barriers, and The MAC's goal is to limit these barriers or remove them.

This edition of the newsletter highlights the MAC Client and Caregiver Committee. This is an extraordinary group of committed folks that live the daily issues The MAC is trying to address. They represent individuals with special needs and have Joey in mind when providing feedback on the MAC Care Model. They are tasked with ensuring that everything we offer at The MAC is beneficial to Joey. To give a perspective on these issues, I invite you to watch our MACnificent Minute video below, where you see Angela Packard stating what The MAC means for her. Angela was selected to be apart of The MAC Board of Directors to ensure that issues facing individuals with special needs are front and center.
This is what we are working towards.
It’s all about Angela and Joey.

Ad astra,
Allan Castro, CEO
Meet the Team
The Client and Caregiver Committee
The vision of The MAC is to offer a new way of efficiently delivering an array of integrated and coordinated services that provide value to special-needs individuals, their families, and other relevant community stakeholders.
The MAC looked to individuals from the special needs community and their caregivers to create a Client and Caregiver Committee. They are tasked with providing feedback, input, and guidance on The MAC operational framework, services offered, potential partners, and outcomes expected.

The Client and Caregiver Committee has worked to provide feedback on The MAC Care Model from the client and patient perspective, guide its development and respond to the appropriateness of the model. They have also supported the other MAC Committee’s, making recommendations on The MAC intake process and Social Determinants of Health Assessment. The Committee is currently working on identifying outcome measures to define what success is for The MAC. This committee will continue to provide feedback and guidance once The MAC is operational.

Edward Tamez, shared "As a father of a son with a rare genetic disorder, I have a firsthand experience to the lack of resources provided to individuals with special needs. There is a profound need for programs and initiatives that enrich the lives of special needs individuals. The services that the Multi-Assistance Center at Morgan’s Wonderland will provide will be an invaluable resource. It will serve as a catalyst to a better life for exceptional individuals like my son. It is absolutely critical to have an organization in our community that you can trust your child with, because the team being assembled at The MAC will have a unique understanding and perspective to special needs individuals in a way that many resources don’t have. I am honored to serve on the Client and Caregiver Committee for The MAC at Morgan’s Wonderland, because if I can make a difference in one person’s life, then it will make a difference to an entire group of special and beautiful souls that do not deserve to be disenfranchised."

Committee members include; Cici Osonma, Tonya Williams, Judy Sanders, Ken McConnell, Yolanda Phillips, Julie Evans, Chantel Keller, and Edward Tamez. 

Meet some of our committee members!
Chaired by Cici Osonma, President & CEO of Special Reach, Cici shared, "For the past 14 months, the MAC Client & Caregiver Committee has been meeting to provide feedback to all the committees at The MAC that will positively impact future MAC Members and caregivers. We have been diligently working to ensure that every encounter that future MAC Members have with The MAC will be memorable, meaningful, and streamlined to minimize any barriers to meeting the needs of these clients and caregiver."
Committee member, Judy Sanders said, “We have a deep commitment to Morgan's Wonderland and its sister organizations, not only because of the current and future needs of our son on the autism spectrum, but also because of what it meant to our son Alan throughout his cancer treatment. The MAC will be an amazing resource for special needs families, and I want to help it get off to a great start!” 
Chantel Keller is a mother of two wonderful children. During the ultrasound in her 18th week of pregnancy, she learned that Carson's life would be very different than expected. Carson was delivered prematurely because of rapidly advancing hydrocephalus. Throughout Carson's 8 years of life, he struggled with many disabilities, requiring Chantel to learn and study various disorders, medical procedures, therapies, community services, and hospice care. Chantel shared, "I understand the unique challenges, heartaches, and most of all - the pure joy that comes from caring for individuals with special needs." She is passionate about helping families find joy in their journey as they care for their loved ones. "I am excited to be a part of the Client and Caregiver Committee and look forward to serving the families and individuals who will visit The MAC."
Julie Pi Evans is the proud mother of Benjamin (age 13) and Caroline Evans (age 10). Benjamin was born with a genetic disorder which has caused multiple disabilities but he is the most joyful person you will ever meet. Julie shared, "I am proud to serve on the Client and Caregivers Committee for The MAC because she is a native of San Antonio and wants to do anything she can to make her hometown the best place for adults like Ben to live and thrive."
MACer Spotlight
ConnectAbility is an initiative of the Warm Springs Foundation, which supports people and their families in Bexar and surrounding counties who have experienced traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, amputation or stroke, and other related conditions through care coordination, support groups, caregiver support, and peer mentoring. All of ConnectAbility's services are at no cost to the individual or family regardless of income or insurance status.
Dawn Dixon, Executive Director shared, "ConnectAbility is excited to be part of the MAC! The MAC Care Model will ensure a seamless continuum of care for every person receiving services. It is time for people living with all types of special needs to have a place that they can go to and receive the guidance they need to reach their fullest potential. We feel that The MAC will provide this and much more!"
MAC Updates
The MAC Construction Continues!

Construction is being completed by Metropolitan Contracting Company.
Lead by Nathan Davidson, Senior Project Manager said, “I feel The MAC construction project embodies purpose, integrity, and community.” 
Over the last few months Metro has joined forces, identified milestones, and put forth an unwavering effort to meet or exceed them. On Thursday June 24, 2021, Metro completed a major milestone by pouring the last section of concrete slab at area “B”.  Our next major milestone is erecting the seventy-plus, sixty foot tall concrete tilt-wall panels by mid-August.

Stay tuned as we continue to share our construction photos with you as we make progress.
Tell Me Something Good
Cynthia Watson a 20-year veteran advocate for empowering people who are blind, has been named President & CEO of SA Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired.
Watson, who is blind herself, was the top finalist in a national search that drew more than 200 candidates. She holds an MBA from the University of Houston at Clear Lake and has a national profile as one of only a handful of non-sighted CEOs who head major non-profits.
"The San Antonio Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired is the leading organization in empowering people who are blind in Texas,” says Watson. “I am honored and excited to have been selected to lead the organization. It’s incredible to have lived the mission and now get to further it in the future.” Cynthia becomes only the fifth CEO in the 88-year history of the iconic San Antonio Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired," explains Mike Gilliam, who is retiring as CEO after 16 years at the helm of one of Texas’ largest military apparel manufacturing operations.
Splash Week at TEAMability
Girls just want to have fun!

Annette, OTR, and our Diamond improving her right arm function, using a switch to squirt our Executive Director, Barbara Goldman!

When children are having fun they are motivated to learn, move, and make things happen. Physical therapy is fun at TEAMability!

Did You Know?
#DYK - San Antonio voice teacher and Any Baby Can Board Member Juli Henderson has recently launched a new resource and community for special needs families and caretakers in honor of her late son, Robert. The mission of In Our Arms Blog is to give a voice to parents, families, and communities caring for an individual with special needs. It has already inspired, encouraged, and supported many individuals through shared stories, resources, and practical acts of kindness. 

If you are a member of this community, or if you would like to be a support system for them, we invite you to join In Our Arms' NEW private Facebook group to share resources, connect, share stories, and support one another!

#DYK - Autism Community Network hosts Coffee & Connection every Friday morning? Join ACN on Friday mornings at 9 a.m. CST via Zoom to learn about ways to support children and caregivers through autism. Topics are wide-ranging and guest speakers are "extra"-ordinary! All are welcome to join and the program is provided at no cost.

To register, please email Patty Vela at pattyv@acn-sa.org. We hope to see you all there!

July Calendar

July 21, 2021
Medical Home Committee Meeting
4 p.m. - 5 p.m. via Zoom

July 26, 2021
Legal Home Committee Meeting
1 p.m. - 3 p.m. at Morgan's Wonderland Camp

July 27, 2021
Client & Caregiver Committee
2 p.m. - 4 p.m. at Morgan's Wonderland Camp

July 28, 2021
MAC Navigation Committee Meeting
1 p.m. - 3 p.m. at Morgan's Wonderland Event Center

July 30, 2021
MemorAbility at Morgan's Wonderland
10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Virtual Zoom Session
Word of the Month
Build your MAC terminology with new words and definitions every month. 

MAC Member
[mack mem-br]
Individual who meets the priority population definition and receives services from any MACer at The MAC.

MAC Fact
The MAC is a 3 story, 165,000 square foot structure, with office space for MACers, a 4,677 square foot MAC Conference Center with 4 conference rooms, and a MAC Meeting Center with 25 meeting rooms.
MWIF Corner
Morgan's Wonderland Sports Opens!
Play ball! On June 26th, the Morgan’s Wonderland Inclusion Foundation officially opened Morgan’s Wonderland Sports with our inaugural Sports Expo. It was quite an event as Morgan’s dad, Gordon Hartman, made opening remarks, and Morgan threw out the first pitch! She nailed it -- right over home plate. Joy, our butterfly mascot, was there wearing her jersey and baseball hat, ready to cheer on the players in an action-packed wheelchair softball tournament.

There were plenty of sports for our guests to choose from pickleball, football, Frisbee-throwing, tennis, basketball, and softball. It was wonderful to watch members of the community enjoy our new state-of-the-art sporting complex. Our 3-acre facility offers 30 court or field combinations, has an 8,000 square-foot covered pavilion, and a separate stage to host private events. And just like all of our “family” members, Morgan’s Wonderland Sports is Ultra-Accessible™ and fully inclusive, built for people of all abilities to enjoy!  
If you haven’t stopped by yet, we invite you to sign up for open play or check out one of our sports programs. You can find out more by visiting 
MACnificent Minute
Submit Your Content!
We would love for all the MACers to submit content for the monthly newsletter. Let us know about updates, events for the calendar, a Tell Me Something Good, or a one-minute video for the MACnificent Minute. Please submit all content by the 20th of the month.