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Maryland Department of Disabilities
January 2017 Newsletter
Top Ten Photos From 2016

The Maryland Department of Disabilities was busy in 2016 working to change Maryland for the better along side those with disabilities in our state.  We were pleased to be able to share these experiences with Marylanders through our social media and community outreach efforts. 


So, what were some of the department's top social media photos of 2016?  Read on and find out which images were most liked and shared in 2016 and how these photos represent the work of the department over the past year.  As always, the State Disabilities Plan will guide our progress in 2017.  We look forward to working under the leadership of Governor Hogan with other State partners and private stakeholders to change Maryland for the better as we welcome the new year!   

ribbon cutting
 Members of MPAH and elected officials participate in the ribbon cutting at a new affordable housing location
NUMBER TEN: State Government Collaboration
The Maryland Department of Disabilities continues to work with the Department of Housing and Community Development along with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and other partners as the Maryland Partnership for Affordable Housing (MPAH).  Through this consortium, a multi disciplinary approach to improving the availability of affordable housing in Maryland can be achieved affecting real change in our communities.  Find out more about MPAH on the Maryland Department of Disabilities website at this link.
NUMBER NINE: Promoting Mental Health Awareness

In 2016, Governor Hogan declared May 1st through 7th Children's Mental Health Awareness Week in Maryland.  To bring recognition to this campaign, Mrs. Hogan hosted a youth art display at the House Office Building in Annapolis.  Celebrating Through Art: The First Lady's Youth Mental Health Awareness Art Display grand opening and reception was held on May 2nd and welcomed over 175 student artists, teachers, service providers, and State government officials.  Youth artists with and without disabilities came together as one artistic voice to highlight the importance of good mental health for all children in Maryland.
During 2017, this event will expand as a series of anti-stigma mental health awareness art shows set for the Spring.  The department is also proud to better serve Marylanders in 2017 as we add a Director of Health and Behavioral Health Policy to address these policy issues within State government and our communities. 
Mrs. Hogan and mental health art show partners
State and local partners in Children's Mental Health Matters Campaign with Mrs. Hogan and Secretary Beatty

Haben Girma and event attendee communicate with tactile sign
Haben Girma communicates with event attendee using tactile sign.
NUMBER EIGHT: Intersect 26 Years of the ADA 
The Maryland Department of Disabilities was proud to bring internationally acclaimed disability advocate and technology accessibility expert, Haben Girma, to the department's ADA anniversary celebration this past year.  With almost 400 community members in attendance at this free learning event, the focus was on the ways technology intersects with the arts, employment, education, and recreation to increase access and innovation for everyone.  Ms. Girma reminded the audience that disability and problem solving fuels innovation and moves our society forward as we learn to create technology with universal access in mind.
Kira poses on a trip with vacation participant
Governor's Citation recipient, Kira, from Melwood poses with supported vacation participant.
NUMBER SEVEN: Direct Support Professional Month

For the full month of September, the Maryland Department of Disabilities and the Developmental Disabilities Administration traveled the state thanking Direct Support Professionals for their enormous contributions supporting those with disabilities in Maryland. 
NUMBER SIX: Recognition at Maryland's State House

In September, Lieutenant Governor Rutherford presented Governor's Citations to outstanding employment Direct Support Professionals, local employers, and advocates at the State House for working toward increasing opportunities for employment and financial wellness for those with disabilities in our State. 
Lt governor rutherford poses with staff from Itineris
Governor's Citation recipients from Itineris with Lieutenant Governor at the State House
Image of young man with dark hair working in factory
A worker supported by The Arc Howard completes a project at Mobern Lighting
NUMBER FIVE: Disability Employment Awareness Month

Governor Hogan declared October, 2016 Disability Employment Awareness Month in Maryland. Our state joined the federal government in using the month to recognize the immense contributions of workers with disabilities. The department traveled the state highlighting employers and employees who have had successful experiences and encouraged others to consider strengthening their workforce through inclusive hiring practices.
"Expanding employment opportunities and improving quality of life for all Marylanders, including those with disabilities, is one of our top priorities," said Governor Hogan. "People with disabilities are often underrepresented in our workforce, and it's essential that we work to make employers aware of the valuable skills and unique contributions these Marylanders make to our economy."
NUMBER FOUR: Exploring Innovative Employment

Mrs. Hogan, an art professor and artist herself, uses the unifying language of artistic expression to reach out to Marylanders across the state.  In the spring of 2016 Maryland's First Lady visited Make Studio in Baltimore.  Make Studio offers a unique approach by supporting those with disabilities to develop their skills as artists and sell their work on the open market. The Maryland Department of Disabilities works to highlight organizations which provide competitive, community-based employment opportunities for workers with disabilities. 

Mrs. Hogan stands next to artist and his work providing adivce

NUMBER THREE: Answering Governor Hogan's Call for Excellent Customer Service & Community Outreach

The Maryland Department of Disabilities has an active Outreach and Constituent Services Department.  We answer calls daily from constituents requesting resource referrals on various disability issues.  We also remain engaged in events throughout Maryland to support the disability community.  In the below image, Deputy Secretary Frank poses with Governor Hogan at the Annual Maryland State Police Polar Bear Plunge to support Special Olympics.  Read more about the department's constituent services on our website at this link.
Deputy Secretary Frank poses with Governor Hogan

Patrick Speaker poses with family, Special Olympics staff, Governor and Lt. Governor
World Games Special Olympics athlete from Western Maryland, Patrick Speaker, receives a Governor's Citation at the Cabinet Meeting on October 13th.
NUMBER TWO: Outreach To Every Region in Maryland

Following Governor Hogan's lead, The Maryland Department of Disabilities made it our goal to provide community outreach to every region in Maryland.  We achieved this goal in 2016 and plan to broaden our reach even further in 2017.  Secretary Beatty was pleased to join Governor Hogan and fellow Cabinet members in bringing State government to Western Maryland in the fall.  Members of Governor Hogan's administration held a Cabinet meeting in Hagerstown and spent several days visiting local residents and community organizations throughout the western region.  
NUMBER ONE: Advancing Disability Policy
In 2016, Governor Hogan signed into law several bills which will significantly improve the quality of life for Marylanders with disabilities in the years to come.  Many of these advancements owe their start to community advocates and disability groups who worked with State partners to ensure that the disability community is considered, consulted, and included in the goal of improving the lives of all Marylanders. Be sure to stay up to date on disability policy during the 2017 Maryland legislative session on the Maryland Department of Disabilities website. 
Signing of Ken Capone act in Annapolis
The Ken Capone Equal Employment Opportunity Act is signed April of 2016