Advocacy in Action
Looking for a chance to advocate for your family, friends, and coworkers with disabilities… AND for the extraordinary people who provide their care? Join us on Monday, June 4, as we campaign for $60 million in additional state funding for Direct Support Professional (DSP) wages.

PA DSPs (also known as caregivers, home health aides, direct care workers) have been challenged by wage stagnation for the better part of a decade, leading to the current crisis situation. That’s why UCP Central PA, PAR, and other disability providers are gathering at the Capitol Rotunda on Monday. We want to send a clear message that DSPs deserve to be paid a living wage for the work that they do.

Like other human service agencies, UCP relies on state funding to compensate our direct care workers. Without a funding increase, there can be no appropriate wage increase. As a result, the retention of quality caregivers becomes an even bigger challenge. One disturbing impact of the caregiver shortage can be found in the News You Can Use section at the end of this newsletter. We encourage you to thoughtfully read and consider the implications of “Caregiver Shortage Forcing Young People with Disabilities into Institutions.”
Supporting Self-Advocacy
UCP’s Capital Home Care program was front and center (literally) at the Pennsylvania Homecare Association Lobby Day at the Capitol on May 22. CHC program participant Connie Folk, who was accompanied by a full CHC support team, was a featured guest speaker during the afternoon press conference. Following a series of life-changing strokes over the last 16 years, Connie was left with physical limitations that require her to have additional support in the home.

While she was not at the Capitol to speak on the issue of DSP funding, her comments made clear the vital role that her paid caregivers play in her life: I have learned to accept and live with my disability because of the love and support of my aides… who have become like family to me. Without the continued support of UCP and my exceptional aides, I would not experience any of life’s little enjoyments.” 
Join Us this Saturday!
UCP/Harrisburg Senators
Sports Memorabilia Auction
Saturday, June 2
Carousel Pavilion, Harrisburg


Join us on City Island this Saturday for a chance at some iconic sports memorabilia! We've got autographed items from the Washington Nationals , Harrisburg Senators , Philadelphia Eagles , Pittsburgh Steelers,   Penn State (and lots more!) to make up nearly 200 silent and over 100 live auction items! Registration is FREE, and the event is held under cover of the Carousel Pavilion, so come out RAIN OR SHINE!

Lastly, thank you to everyone who came out to Underdogs Family Night last week for our mini "pre-auction!"

Check out our social media for more information, or email our Community Relations Coordinator at volunteer@ucpcentralpa.org
Bryan Gibbs Graduates from
St. Cloud State University
Former UCP Links to Independence Participant Realizes His Dream
Bryan Gibbs has mastered the power of positive thinking... and is a prime example of the value of persistence. It was his dream to go to college since he first entered high school. After receiving his Certificate of Life Skills from Cumberland Valley High School in May 2011, Bryan connected with UCP’s Links to Independence (LTI) program.

LTI staff helped Bryan develop a long-range plan that included college. Despite the challenges he faced at the time, Bryan would not be dissuaded from his dream. “I had been talking and dreaming about college for years,” Bryan explained. “I knew there was more out there for me."

With the assistance of UCP Habilitation Aides, Bryan’s dream of going to college became a reality in August 2013 when he began classes at Harrisburg Area Community College (HACC). In 2016, Bryan transferred to a four-year school, St. Cloud State University, in Minnesota. Earlier this month, he walked the stage at graduation, receiving a Liberal Arts degree. 
One of the first people he reached out to with the exciting news was UCP Program Manager Jamie Fleck, who has been a huge supporter and resource for Bryan over the years. “Bryan was amazing at doing everything he needed to do every step of the way to get to this point," Jamie says, "I am so very proud of him and can’t wait to see where his next journey--into the workforce--takes him.”

Bryan loves his life in St. Cloud and has decided to stay there to pursue a career. We have no doubt that will happen, as the St. Cloud metropolitan area is ranked 24th on Forbes magazine's “Best Small Places for Businesses and Careers."

Love Without Limits on Display
The UCP staff retreat conjures up a wealth of emotions every year--excitement, hope, appreciation, inspiration. This year, the room seemed to swell with optimism.

CEO Judith McCowan took the stage in a picture-perfect costume-- with an important message about the need to adapt to “change” in order to move forward, both individually and collectively. UCP Board Chair Marisa Tokarsky similarly reminded staff that “change is an opportunity.” 

The staff celebration was focused around our Love without Limits initiative, including our desire to embrace the "gold standard" of excellence in every facet of what we do. UCP program staff from across our geographic footprint created and shared handmade flags representing they many ways they show “love without limits” in their day to day work. 

There were breakout sessions on a variety of key topics and a great line-up of guest speakers, including: 

- Mike Greene , Life Coach and Owner of IntegrityWorks Coaching

- Hattie McCarter , Recruitment, Retention, and Diversity Specialist for the Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilition (OVR); and Vondol D. Hammond , Central Region Business Services & Outreach Specialist at OVR

- Bill Raab , Mindfulness Counselor and Risk Management Consultant

- Jim Carchidi , "Chief Enthusiasm Officer" at JFC Staffing

Keynote Speaker and UCP Agency with Choice program participant Amber Logan closed out the day with her inspirational life story, and reminded everyone "We can help be the change we want to see in our communities."

If you haven't done so already, visit our Facebook page for Photo booth, candid pictures, and more!
Thanks for Swinging By!

Everyone had a fantastic time at our First Annual Fore! UCP Mini Golf Tournament. Special thanks to our participating sponsors and all of our attendees.

And a HUGE shoutout to the creative talents who built the putting holes. We can't wait to see what you come up with next year!

Check out our album of pictures on Facebook and stay tuned for a bigger, even better event next Spring!
Family Fun Night
Family Pool Party