A Spirit of Service 
     Our goal at Access North is to exceed the expectations of the people we work with each and every day.  That isn't easily accomplished.  As a service organization, we are not merely here just to provide a list of services found in a company brochure but to give more than expected in as many different ways as possible.  I have always felt that an important component of the spirit of service is that every employee understands that "we are all here to be inconvenienced".  Truly making a positive impact upon the lives of the people of northeastern Minnesota takes passion, persistence and creativity.   The needs in greater Minnesota are significant and we can never do it alone.  Access North is forever seeking partners that can join us in our mission to serve the people of northeastern Minnesota.  Our community partners demonstrate a strong commitment towards giving back to their communities.  We are forever in search of quality volunteers (people and businesses) that share in our commitment to service.  We need people that enjoy a "shop" environment to work on our ramp projects, we need people that are comfortable in a "business office" environment, we need people that enjoy "fundraising" activities, we need people interested in "Board" service, the list goes on & on.  Please consider calling to see how your talents can best be used as we strive to make northeastern Minnesota a better place for everyone.
     I want to thank Home Depot for continuing their Donation Partnership with Access North.  On June 29th Access North held our first Framing Hope Flea Market in which consumers could shop through our Home Depot inventory
for free.  We gave away over 600 inventory items to the people we serve that day.  This included inventory items such as windows, beds, flooring, doors, etc.  (See accompanying article below.)
     We also want to thank Slumberland for the donation of beds that were then distributed to our consumers in need.  We'd like to thank Bonner Eye Clinic for their Jeans Day donation, to G & B Maintenance for their donation of time & equipment, to Thrivent Financial, the employees of the City of Chisholm and the Building Officials across northeastern Minnesota for their contribution of time and sweat equity involved in these volunteer ramp builds completed this summer.   I am so appreciative of Walmart for once again financially supporting our Home Modification Mini Grant. 
     I would like to thank the Corporate Sponsors of our Million Dollar Hole-In-One Golf Fundraiser:  Ameriprise, Severson Financial, Fort & Company, MITC, Fairview, Republic Bank, Morris & Associates, Erickson Lumber, Bark Design, Ohana Therapeutic Massage and Mike's Pub.  Special thanks to WDIO for their on-going support of the event and for once again being our event MC.
     Access North thanks the numerous prize sponsors such as: Blue Moon,  O'Reilly Auto Parts, NAPA Auto Parts, Joan Cotton, Perkins,  Northern Business Products, Thirsty Moose, 218 Taphouse, The Village Inn, Ruttger's Bay Lake Lodge, Hibbing Auto Care, Grandma's in the Park, Grand Casino Hinckley, Black Bear Casino, Fena Advertising, Frank Baratto, Camp Bliss, Sherwin Williams and many more...        Working together, we can all make a difference, one project, one person at a time. 

     Access North is excited to welcome Patty Rediske to the Access North Board of Directors.  Patty is a Hibbing resident and has dedicated many years of service to people with disabilities.  We welcome Patty's experience and service to people with disabilities to the Access North Board!  If you have a personal experience with disability or have a passion for serving the people of northeastern Minnesota maybe Board service is something to consider?  Please call Don Brunette to get more information on how you can get involved: (218) 262-6675.

picture of kristine
Living Well with Chronic Conditions      
     In May 2017, I completed a training to lead a workshop called "Living Well with Chronic Conditions". My name is Kristine Nelson and I am an Independent Living Specialist. I love working at Access North and helping people with disabilities in our service area to live independently in their home as long as they can. Recently, I co-led my first workshop from June-August, and I am excited to share with others the importance of managing chronic health conditions and help others to self-manage their health using the tools in their toolbox. As a participant I felt encouraged to know that I can learn to manage my health and encourage others to do the same. The workshop engages people to be interactive, as co-leaders lead the evidence based curriculum developed by Stanford University, their charts, brainstorming, and activities (personal, partner, and group) is a productive and worthwhile learning experience to improve healthier living and self-management.
     The workshop is six weeks long, meets once a week for two and a half hours in a small group setting of people 8-12 who have chronic health conditions and also their caregivers are also welcome to attend. The workshop is structured to allow specific time for all of the activities and brainstorms facilitated by leader. These activities are interactive, reflective, and engage participation in a supportive group setting.  This workshop gives participants tools and steps for healthier living and skills to increase self-management of chronic health conditions, and how to use tools in your tool box.  Tools in your self-management tool box are the following: physical activity, medications, sleep, using your mind, problem solving, effective communication, healthy eating, weight management, decision making, making action plans, breathing techniques, understanding emotions, and working with health professionals.  With these tools you will learn how to break the symptom cycle and learn you are more than your symptoms! The symptom cycle is poor sleep, physical limitations, pain, stress/anxiety, difficult emotions, depression, shortness of breath and fatigue are experienced by people who have chronic health conditions and with the tools learned in this workshop participants learn to manage and increase their quality of life.
     If you would like to learn more and get a group started, please let me know we can start a waiting list and hopefully start soon! Give me a call at Access North (218) 262-6675 and let me (Kristine) know. It is a wealth of information and a worthwhile commitment, facilitated in a trusting, supportive environment to better your health.  Healthier living equates to more independence!!

How the PCA Choice Program has enriched my life 

     Hello, call me Baha Mama.  I have experienced numerous surgeries and have several chronic conditions that were difficult to diagnose.  These conditions have greatly affected my quality of life and independence.  I worked in the medical field for many years and in fact fought to help individuals stay and thrive in their homes.  I knew there were services and programs to keep people in their homes and living as independently as possible.  I am happy I had the knowledge I did, as today I currently am a consumer successfully utilizing and running my own PCA Choice program through Access North.
     The PCA Choice program allows each person who is able to manage their own care and have their personal power restored.  Not being uprooted from my home has empowered me to manage my own life.  The Choice Program is key for me.  I had utilized traditional services in the past and it did not work for me.  I was unable to communicate with my PCAs directly.  With the Choice program, we were able to have flexibility and individual training that ensures my cares are being met.  It can be difficult to allow people in your home.  With this service, I am able to choose my caregivers.  I drive my program.
     I feel strongly to get the word out in the communities and for people to recognize this may be a service you or a family member may at some point need.  It is important to know what's available and what options there are.
     PCA, for me, also stands for Provisions, Confidence and Assurance.

Click on our website to learn more about our PCA Choice Program
Framing Hope Flea Market

     On June 29th, we held our very first Framing Hope Flea Market.  Throughout the year, Home Depot donates items to us in the expectations that we will donate them to our consumers at no cost.  Items range from doors, light fixtures, faucets, appliances, electrical items, decorations, mirrors - the list goes on and on.  

We are very happy to be in our second year of collaborating with Home Depot to offer these items to our consumers! During the Flea Market alone, we donated over 600 items from our inventory to approximately 70 consumers. 

Interview with artist Anthony "Tony" Adams ... 
     Tony is a local Duluth artist.  He has evolved from walking sticks to instruments made of wood and found materials.  With assistance from Access North, Tony applied for the Individual Artist Career Development Grant at the Arrowhead Regional Art Council.  With a strong body of work Tony was awarded the grant to fulfill his proposed project.  This project of hand crafted instruments will be on display at the Duluth Coffee Company.
Access North: Thanks for joining us today and congratulations on your successful show.  Your instruments are beautiful and full of life.
Tony Adams:  Thank you.

AN: Tell me about yourself.
TA: I'm an eccentric.  I'm a worker, either working a job or on personal projects or around my house.  I'm learning the new Tony after my TBI. I'm learning how to behave.  Learning about what I used to be able to do and now what I am able to do, mostly due to my age.  I didn't consider myself to be a creative type until I met Dave Lynas.  I started making walking sticks at first.  Dave challenged me to make instruments.
AN: What is your medium of choice and why?
TA: Wood.  It's a pliable material.  You can do just about anything with it. 
AN: Is making instruments a passion for you?
TA:  Yes!  It's therapeutic and makes me feel good.  I enjoy the positive feedback from people that see and play my instruments.
AN: Who inspires you?
TA: Dave Lynas.  He is an extremely talented Duluth artist.  I try to copy him.  I see his work and get inspired to try to make it.  I try to push myself to do things I haven't done before.  Later, I see that I can do it.
AN: Where do you see your work taking you?
TA: A better supplement my income.  I would like to keep everything I make.  I love the work.  I'm as amazed by the end product as everyone else is.
AN: What does your process look like?  
TA: My process is organic.  There are no mistakes only happy creations.  The mistakes lead me to other things I never would have planned for.
AN:  How do you want people to respond to your work?
TA: I want people to enjoy it as much as I do.  Feedback from other artist or musicians helps me to progress my work.  There is no such thing as right or wrong in my work.
AN: How do you know when you have achieved success?
TA: Each completed project is my success.  Seeing other artists work inspires me to try new things.
AN:  What would you tell someone who is looking to exercise their creativity? 
TA: Challenge yourself.  Look to the people that inspire you and do things you've never done before.
AN:  Thank you, Tony.

TA:  You're welcome. 

Click here to watch an interview with Tony on Fox21 News.  

Some members of the Access North walk team! 
Walk to raise funds for MS

     Access North once again was an event sponsor and participated in the health fair and MS Walk on Sunday, May 7.  We also helped with the event set up and our team raised over $600!  
     Thank you to all who participated and attended!  What a fun and beautiful day to raise money to help stamp out Multiple  Sclerosis!

News from the Brainerd Office  

The Brainerd office moved upstairs on July 5th. We are very excited to have moved into our new space. Please stop by to say hello and take a tour!

Summer 2017 Gardening at Access North   

Here are just a few items from our garden this summer!  We harvested a great batch of beans, cucumbers, and zucchini - which was used to make homemade Chocolate Zucchini Cake!  (pictured below)

photo of cucumber salad
Garden Harvest Cucumber and Tomato Salad  

A great way to use fresh veggies from the garden!

Red Onion
Italian Dressing

Slice up the cucumber, onion and tomato.  Mix with the Italian dressing to taste and chill.  Enjoy!

3rd Annual Pig-in-the-Park Picnics Held in Hibbing 
and Duluth 
     August was a busy month!  First - we cancelled our Hibbing picnic on August 3rd because of wind, rain and 50 degree temps!  We had some rain coming down for the Duluth picnic as well, but carried on and held it in the Park Point Beachhouse.  The rain quit in time to set up and the picnic went on without a hitch!  It was great to visit with the consumers and employees who attended and the food was SO good!  We had a great time with the face painting, tattoos and accessible bikes.  
     Next was the rescheduled Hibbing picnic.  We
couldn't have asked for a better day to show our appreciation for all those that we work with throughout
the year!  We had over 100 consumers, employees and families pack the Bennett Park Pavilion, play
games, eat great food and enjoy each others' company.
     Thank you to all who attended, worked and came by to visit at each of these picnics.  And thank you for your confidence in us as your service provider and employer.  We are working hard to be the employer of choice in
 Northeastern Minnesota!

Access North ready to roll out our new, simpler Telephone Timekeeping System for employees
     There is a new federal law requiring all Personal Care Organizations to report hours worked through an electronic visit verification (EVV) system, by January 1, 2019. This means all Direct Support Profession
als (DSPs) must report their time through an EVV system.  Access North has been proactive with this rule as we currently use telephony, which is an EVV system.  
     For our employees' convenience, we have been piloting a new telephony system that will be much simpler than our current process.  We are happy to announce that, when implemented, there will be no more double timekeeping, no daily in home contact sheets, and no need to remember or record care plan codes. In the near future you will be receiving a packet of information with all the necessary and updated forms needed to make our Consumers, Responsible Parties and Direct Support Professionals successful with the new system.  
      We will have an MITC employee login button on the Access North homepage for your convenience. Please call (218) 262-6675 if you have any questions about the new system.
Driver's Ed Study Group offered at Access North 

     The Driver's Ed Study Group is a chance for individuals with disabilities 
to study and gain knowledge to pass the Minnesota permit test.  Access North uses the Minnesota Easy-to-Read Driver's manual that provides the most pertinent information found in the official state driver's manual. This group will cover basics to assist individuals to pass the permit test including the driving task, the driver, signs, signals, pavement markings, traffic laws, how to adjust to driving conditions, etc.  This class also reviews permit test accommodations and provides additional study resources.  
     This group will not cover the 30 hours of classroom component that is required for individuals under the age of 18.  Access North does not cover the cost or provide a waiver for fees to be lifted for the 30 hours of classroom training or the 6 hours of behind the wheel.
Northern St. Louis County Housing Summit ~ WE NEED YOUR HELP!

Please join others from across  the Iron Range to discuss  solutions to end
Where:     Our Saviors Lutheran Church, 
                 501 East  23rd Street, Hibbing MN
When:      Thursday, September 28th
Time:         10:00am - 3:00pm
Free lunch provided -  free transportation.  C all Anna at (218) 735-6849
RSVP not required but is appreciated to:
[email protected] or (218) 735-6003.

Happy Labor Day Heading