Disability Network Southwest Michigan quarterly newsletter
April 2018
Spring in to Action:
Connect to Your Community!

hands raised
Spring is a great time to break out of your shell and look for ways to connect to your community-volunteer with a non-profit, join a cause or get involved with your local civic/government entity. Getting involved can take a lot of different forms: individually or as part of a group; going out in the community or working from your home; being a vocal activist or working behind the scenes-whatever your preferred style is, there is something out there for you to do!

Follow this link for our article on how to  Connect to Your Community and how to bring disability rights issues to the table in whatever way you choose to become involved.
Advocacy Academy:
Preparing the next generation of disability rights activist

We are currently accepting applications for this year's Advocacy Academy. We are seeking six individuals between the ages of 16-29  to form our 2018 Advocacy Academy team. This is an 8-week paid summer job in our Kalamazoo office.

For more information go to the Advocacy Academy page of our website or contact Miranda at grunwellm@dnswm.org or
269-345-1516 x120.
July 27
Annual ADA Celebration
Scheduled for July 27th 

Mark your calendars and join us for a celebration of the twenty-eighth anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act on Friday, July 27 from 11:30 a.m. ­to 1:30 p.m. We are hosting a community-wide event at our Kalamazoo office, including a free lunch, awards, and speakers. We invite all community members and organizations to join us!
Say YES to Seniors in Kalamazoo County 

check mark in a box
Disability Network Southwest Michigan is a proud partner on the Senior Millage Planning Committee in Kalamazoo County. Kalamazoo is one of only ten counties in the state of Michigan that does not have a senior millage-what does that say about the way we care for the elderly in our community? After tireless work with the County Commission, the Senior Millage Planning Committee has successfully gotten the Senior Millage on the ballot for the August 7 election.

The proposed millage would be used to support in-home and community services. This encompasses basic needs, such as home safety & repair (including ramps), home delivered meals, and in-home care services. Successful passage of this millage would make a significant difference in keeping seniors safe and living independently in their own homes.

If you live in Kalamazoo County, be sure to get out and vote on August 7 to support independent living and the needs of seniors in our community!
Youth in Transition Programs Are a Big Success  

staff assisting Bradley with new hire paperwork
Disability Network Southwest Michigan offers a number of programs centered on providing valuable training and experience to youth and young adults with disabilities, whether they are transitioning to employment or continuing their education. In the past year, we have worked in nearly half the high schools throughout our region and have assisted youth in all eight counties we represent.

Follow this link to learn more about our Youth in Transition programs.

Charting the Course: Meet Bradley  
Bradley, a young man who is autistic, was referred to Disability Network by a concerned family member. He was facing significant challenges living at home and wanted to gain some independence. Our staff worked with Bradley to help him find his own apartment and work on his independent living skills.

Disability Network staff encouraged Bradley to enroll in Project Search to gain employment training and experience. Bradley did such a great job during his Project Search training at Lakeland Hospital, they hired him as a permanent employee at the end of the program.

Follow this link to read more of Bradley's story.

Our partnership in Project Search is one way Disability Network helps prepare young adults with disabilities for their path forward. At Disability Network Southwest Michigan, we are helping people with disabilities chart their course to increased independence in a more inclusive community. We cannot do this important work without your support. To learn more about our programs and services, visit our website at www.dnswm.org or find us on Facebook.
Dina movie jacket

Join us for lunch and a movie in either Kalamazoo or St. Joseph. We will be watching the film Dina. While juggling all the decisions that come along with planning a wedding, Dina, an autistic woman, faces her fiancé and impending in-laws with head-on directness that makes her who she is. Note: this film is a real-life documentary that deals with mature content.

This event is being offered in both Kalamazoo (April 18) and St. Joseph (April 24). Follow this link for more information and to register.
The Lottery

Join us at either our Kalamazoo or St. Joseph office on Wednesday, May 2, 12:00-1:30 p.m. to discuss The Lottery by Patricia Wood.

Visit our website for more details about our Lunchtime Book Club.
Do's & Don'ts: Assistance Animals
various animals

There is a lot of confusion about what qualifies as a Service Animal and how they differ from Emotional Support Animals. There are specific laws regarding what type of assistance animals are allowed in different places and whether an establishment can deny access to an assistance animal. Join us to learn more!

This event is being offered in both Kalamazoo (April 27) and St. Joseph (April 30). Follow this link for more information and to register.
Rise Up! Disability Resistance, History & Pride

disability rights protest
Many of us in the disability community are unaware of the depth of our culture and history and feel shame and stigma instead of pride around our disability identities. Join us for discussion and activities that promote knowledge of disability history and support the journey to disability pride. Everyone is welcome!

We are offering this workshop at the John H. Dominguez Special Services Building in Lawrence on Tuesday, May 15. Follow this link for details about our  Rise Up! Disability Resistance, History & Pride workshop and to register.

Make a Difference in Your Community

Hands raised
Are you ready to "be the change you want to see in the world" but are not sure where to start? Join us for a light lunch as we talk about finding ways to put our passion into action! We are offering this workshop in both Kalamazoo (May 16) and St.Joseph (May 22) 
Follow this link for details about our Make A Difference in Your Community workshop and RSVP for the location & date you'd like to attend.
About Disability Network Southwest Michigan
Disability Network Southwest Michigan serves 8 counties in Southwest Michigan: Barry, Berrien, Branch, Calhoun, Cass, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph, Van Buren

Office Locations:
Kalamazoo: 517 E. Crosstown Pkwy., Kalamazoo, MI  49001, phone: (269) 345-1516
St. Joseph: 2900 Lakeview Avenue., St. Joseph, MI 49085, phone: (269) 985-0111

For the accessibility and well-being of our employees and visitors, Disability Network Southwest Michigan is a fragrance-free office. Please do not wear perfume, cologne or other scented products when visiting.

Mission Statement:
We educate and connect people with disabilities to resources while advocating social change.

Vision Statement:
Our vision is a community that values disability as human diversity, free of attitudinal barriers, where all people benefit with full access and inclusion.

Our Publications:
The LINK is our quarterly newsletter, available in printed format or emailed in electronic format.
Disability Digest is a monthly e-newsletter focused on Disability Rights issues and upcoming Disability Network happenings. Available in electronic format only.

You can sign up online for our publications at www.dnswm.org, or contact Dale at
abbottd@dnswm.org or (269) 345-1516 x123.Current and past issues of our publications are available on our website at www.dnswm.org.

This newsletter is available in alternative format upon request.

Support Our Work:
You can help support the work we do with a tax-deductible donation to Disability Network. Visit our website to donate online or call Kristen at (269) 345-1516 x119.