In This Issue:

Letter from our Executive Director

Celebrating Black History Month

Golf Tournament

Harford Center

Art Show

Staff News

Congratulations to Harford Center Participant Alysse on Her New Job!

Return to Chesapeake Therapeutic Riding

Disability Updates from this Legislative Session

Other Disability News

Community Events

Report from the Groundhog

And More!

A Message from our

Executive Director

During the month of February, I hearken back to the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, “What are you doing for others?’” (Montgomery, Alabama, 1957). Over 60 years ago, this question was asked. It is as relevant then as it is now. In the month of February, love is in the air. What better way to show love than to give to those in need and receive the gift of giving. At the Harford Center, it is our mission to support others to live life to the fullest. For people with disabilities, this can be met with challenges. Challenge in access, challenge in resources, and challenge in acceptance. It is our commitment to advocate and make real change for all people so that everyone is afforded the same opportunities. During this legislative session, I encourage all of you to support efforts to improve the lives of people with disabilities. You hear it on the news and feel it in your wallets; money is tight. During periods when fiscal spending is being carefully monitored, non-profits and human service organizations tend to be the hardest hit. We need your help to ensure that the Harford Center’s participants and this community receives the best possible support. Please reach out to your local representatives and let them know what is important to you. The time to act is now. As supporters of the Harford Center, we will be sending action alerts to you and strongly request that you respond to show support of legislation that will ensure that the quality of care that we provide will continue at the same level. The Harford Center is committed to provide the best possible care to people with disabilities, their families, and this community. Harford County is a strong community with a huge and giving heart. Please reach out to me with any questions or suggestions if you have any. I wish you all a warm and loving February.

Black History Month Spotlight

These Amazing People Are Making History Today and

Getting Things Done For the Disability Community!

Claudia L. Gordan

Claudia Gordan was the first deaf African American female attorney in the United States. She is currently the Vice President of National Black Deaf Advocates, and she works in the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs. National Black Deaf Advocates provides scholarships, fights for civil rights and access, and runs the Miss Black Deaf America Pageant. Find out more about the organization here.

Ola Ojewumi

Ola Ojewumi has had two organ transplants and has founded two nonprofits, the Sacred Hearts Children’s Transplant Foundation and Project ASCEND. She sells fashionable disability pride clothes in her Truth Boutique, where she also posts amazing videos like this one. Ola is a professional public speaker, and she frequently appears on Democracy Now to fight for the rights of people with disabilities, people of color, and women. Find out more about Project Ascend here, and find out more about the Sacred Hearts Children's Transplant Foundation here.

Crystal R. Emery

Crystal Emery is a writer, producer, and filmmaker whose works include the books "Against All Odds: Black Women in Medicine" and "Master Builders of the Modern World: Reimagining the Face of STEM." She has been named one of Good Housekeeping's "50 Over 50: Women Who Are Changing the World," and she is the founder of the nonprofit organization URU: The Right To be, which produces content that addresses social issues. As a black woman with quadriplegia, she is interested in making sure that diverse stories are told. Learn more about her and her organization here.

Haben Girma

Haben Girma was the first deafblind person to ever graduate from Harvard Law School, and she is currently a human rights lawyer for disability justice. She advocates for inclusion in education and entertainment. She frequently speaks about the value of representing people with disabilities as fully realized human beings rather than one-dimensional characters. She also discourages the thinking that successful people with disabilities "overcame" their disabilities, stressing that the barriers she has had to overcome have not existed inside of her body, but in the world around her where access is still limited in so many places. With proper access, people who have disabilities do not have to "overcome" anything. Learn more about her here.

While you're here, please see the Museum of Disability's Timeline of Disability and the African American Experience here.

Sponsors Needed for our

3rd Annual Golf Tournament!

Sponsorships available from $150-$7,500

(view sponsorship benefits here)

Early Bird Registration: $150 per player

Please click here to learn more, sponsor the event, or register to play.

Email Dinah for more information.

Monday, May 8th

Mountain Branch Golf Club

1827 Mountain Road Joppa, MD 21085

Prizes : 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Place Teams

Contests: Putting Contest, Longest Drive,

Closest to the Pin.

$5,000 cash prize for hole-in-one at hole 9!

Save The Date: Harford Center Art Show April 14th, 2023

Congratulations, Alysse!

Harford Center participant Alysse recently started a job as a Cafeteria Lunch Aide for HCPS! We're very proud of her accomplishment, as well as the work done by Madison, Jenell, and Kelly to support her in securing this competitive position! Way to go, team!

Voc. Ed. Season

Starts at CTR!

It's that time of year again! We're delighted to be back at Chesapeake Therapeutic Riding's Vocational Education program.

At CTR, the people we support learn the ins and outs of horse care: feeding, grooming, lead walking, and, of course, talking to and petting the horses. The program is designed to be understood by people of all abilities, with an easy-to-use card system functioning as "to do" and "done" lists. The participants move the tasks from one row to the other once it's completed. This prepares the people we support for managing multiple tasks and processes with multiple steps in the workforce. Additionally, since so many Harford Center participants live in rural areas, tending to horses allows them to be part of a profession and tradition that's important to their communities.

CTR also offers programs for veterans and anyone else "whose minds, bodies and spirits will benefit from the transformative connection between people and horses." (Source: CTR website).

Click here to visit the CTR website and learn more.

Harford County is Busy, Busy, Busy! Check out some of the events below!

On March 3, Harford Community College will present the Athena Leadership and Athena Young Professional Awards. The event will be at Richlin Catering at 7:30 AM. Click here for more information or to purchase tickets.

On March 4, The Bel Air Downtown Alliance will host its 7th annual Chocolate, Brew & Wine Tour. Click here for more information or to get tickets!

Extreme Family Outreach will hold its Annual Dinner Auction on March 10 at 7:00 PM at Richlin Catering. Click here to learn more or purchase tickets.

On March 25, the State Theatre in Havre de Grace will take you back to the heyday of 80s Hair Bands with its Rock of Ages show. Click here for more details.

Harford 250 is honoring our County's 250th birthday with celebrations and events all year. There's a kickoff event on March 31 and a Family Fun Day on April 1 that you won't want to miss. Visit their site for more information.

On April 22, Harford County will host the Empowered Expo for teens and young adults with IEPs and 504 Plans who are planning the journey from high school to adulthood. The conference will feature workshops on employment, financial planning, housing, and more. The conference is free to attend, and registration starts on March 1. Click here to learn more.

Bills we're following this legislative session:

House Bill 41 would require all polling locations to allow curbside voting for persons with disabilities. This bill is currently being reviewed by the Ways and Means Committee.

House Bill 95 would require that election judges be provided training materials teaching them how to assist elderly and disabled voters. This bill is currently being reviewed by the Ways and Means Committee.

House Bill 294 would shift the burden of proof onto the school systems in due process hearings, when there is a question as to whether a child with a disability was provided with an appropriate education. This bill is pending review by the Ways and Means Committee.

House Bill 354 would raise the age limit for opening an ABLE account (from 26 to 46) to accommodate people who become disabled later in life. This bill has been read by the Health and Government Committee and is scheduled for a hearing on 2/28.

House Bill 621 would require DORS to post their number of open cases on their website, and update the information monthly. This bill has been read by the Ways and Means Committee and is awaiting a hearing.

House Bill 726 would allow children of military families who are on the Autism Waiver Registry to remain on the registry if the family is relocated by the military, so that they do not have to begin the process and go back to the end of the waiting list if they return to Maryland (currently, the average wait time for services is nine years). This bill has been read by the Health and Government Committee and is scheduled for a hearing on 2/28.

House Bill 870 would require DORS and DDA to develop a "memorandum of understanding," in order to safely and efficiently share data regarding individuals who are served by both. This bill is scheduled for a House Health and Government Operations Hearing on March 14.

We'll keep you posted with any pertinent developments!

Disability News Roundup:

  • All Legoland parks in the US will become Certified Autism Centers by Spring. Click here to learn more.
  • Adult changing stations are (finally!) becoming more common in rest areas. Read more here!
  • SSI is considering excluding or partially excluding food from its in kind support calculation. Read more here. (Note: This site only allows non-subscribers to read two free articles per month).

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