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Ethan Saylor Alliance Update: Changing Maryland for the Better
The Ethan Saylor Alliance, a partnership between The Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities at Kennedy Krieger (MCDD), People on the Go of Maryland, Pathfinders for Autism, and The Arc Maryland, has been hard at work since the project's inception in mid-September. A recruitment effort for self-advocates as law enforcement educators yielded a total of 53 applications being received throughout central and southern Maryland.  Interviews are currently underway to identify fifteen individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities who will be prepared to train alongside law enforcement trainers starting in February of 2017. The self-advocates will be educated over a three day period which will include basic self-advocacy and trainer skills as well as focusing on meaningful engagement during law enforcement instruction. Meaningful engagement is not limited to the self-advocate sharing his or her personal story, rather it distinguishes the self-advocate as a key player in educating law enforcement through instruction, role-playing exercises, and scenario-based experiences. By the project's conclusion in June 2017, each self-advocate will have delivered two trainings to both entry-level and in-service law enforcement.  The new partnership is intended to develop and field test this alliance, with an ultimate goal of broadening the model throughout the state.
Last year, Governor Hogan signed a bill expanding the membership and duties of the Ethan Saylor Alliance for Self-Advocates as Educators steering committee.  The primary goal of the Alliance is to ensure self-advocates take the central role in educating and informing members of law enforcement concerning the specific needs of those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The alliance will form a framework needed to support and facilitate self-advocates as educators for law enforcement and other public service entities.

The project is a culmination of activities in response to the death of Ethan Saylor, a young Maryland man with Down syndrome who died on January 12, 2013 during an altercation with off-duty police officers. Shortly after his death, a commission was formed to develop recommendations for training standards and best practices the State should adopt to educate law enforcement and other first responders about how to safely manage situations involving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Maryland's program is the first State-wide initiative of its kind to address this need.  The Maryland Department of Disabilities was charged with oversight and formation of the Alliance and is proud to continue to change Maryland for the better!

WW II Memorial
Maryland Serves Our Veterans
The Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs was created by the State Legislature in 1999 as an executive agency with the mission of assisting veterans, active duty service members, their families and dependents, in securing benefits earned through military service. The Department's origin follows the history of the Maryland Veterans Commission back to 1924, when the Soldiers' Relief Fund Commission was formed to administer a State relief fund for disabled veterans of World War I.

Under the Department of Veterans Affairs are five major programs:
  • The Service and Benefits Program provides assistance to the men and women who served in the Uniformed Services of the United States, their dependents, and survivors in obtaining benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Defense, State of Maryland and other programs for veterans and their families. Located in communities throughout Maryland, Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs Service Officers assist veterans and their eligible dependents in acquiring benefits.
  • The Charlotte Hall Veterans Home has been proudly "Serving Those Who Served" since 1985.  The Home is situated on 126 beautiful acres in St. Mary's County, and offers a continuum of care from the 168-bed assisted living program to the 286-bed skilled nursing program.   Charlotte Hall Veterans Home also offers memory care in secure units.
  • The Cemetery and Memorial Program is the largest of its kind in the nation.  The State of Maryland and the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs are honored to offer our veterans and their eligible dependents a final resting place at one of five state veterans cemeteries located throughout Maryland. In addition, the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs manages a memorial program.  The Maryland World War II Memorial is in Annapolis, and the Vietnam War and Korean War Memorials are in Baltimore. Additionally, the Department shares joint responsibility with the City of Baltimore for the War Memorial Building in Baltimore.
  • The Outreach and Advocacy Program's mission is to develop innovative ways to seek out and inform Maryland's veterans about benefits and services that are available from federal, state, and local organizations, as well as solicit feedback from veterans regarding their requests and needs for additional services. To accomplish its mission the Outreach and Advocacy Program works closely with multiple local, state, and federal agencies and non-profit organizations to coordinate efforts to locate and inform Maryland's veterans as well as to expand benefits and services available to Maryland veterans.
  • The Maryland Veterans Trust receives donations, and then makes grants and loans to veterans and their family members who are in dire financial situations, or to private organizations that help veterans. The Trust Fund gives citizens, businesses, and other organizations a way to express their support to veteran causes through their donations and contributions.
Find out more on the Maryland Department of Veteran's Affairs webpage HERE and follow the department on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date with activities, find needed veteran assistance, or discover ways you can honor our veterans.  Changing Maryland for the better for our service members!
Special Olympics Maryland logo
Video: Special Olympics Maryland Athlete Leader Interviews Secretary Beatty

Department of Disabilities Secretary, Carol Beatty, sat down with Athlete Leader, Adam Hays, from Special Olympics Maryland to discuss her goals for the Maryland Department of Disabilities, the work of the agency, and how she has been "Brave In The Attempt" in her own life.  Check it out!

Find out more about Special Olympics Maryland on their website at this LINK.
Special Olympics Athlete Leader Interviews Secretary Beatty
The video is Closed Captioned if viewed via YouTube.

Visual Text Description: Secretary Beatty sits at a table with a blank wall behind her wearing a light blue blazer and a white shirt.  The interviewer is off camera.