Disability Network Southwest Michigan quarterly newsletter
July 2019
Annual ADA Anniversary Celebration set for July 26

gathering of people under canapies having lunch
Join us for our annual community-wide celebration on the anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This year marks the 29th anniversary of the ADA.

We will hold a celebration on Friday, July 26 at our Kalamazoo office from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. This free event includes lunch prepared on an outdoor grill by EMA Catering and ice cream from Treat Street. Lunch will start at 11:30 and the presentation and awards ceremony starts at noon.

NEW THIS YEAR: RSVP online or call Kristen at 269-345-1516 x119 to be entered in a drawing for a $25 Amazon gift card! (Must be present to win.)

Follow this link for all the details about our ADA Anniversary Celebration including parking and registration.
RAMP-A-THON supports our Ramp Up program      

RAMP-A-THON water bottle
Disability Network's annual RAMP-A-THON kicks off at our ADA celebration on July 26. RAMP-A-THON raises money to construct or purchase ramps for people with mobility disabilities in our service area. A ramp makes it possible to do something as basic as getting to the mailbox, as important as getting to doctor appointments, and as critical as being able to vacate in the event of an emergency. Ramps allow everyone equal opportunity to be a vibrant part of their community.

Make a RAMP-A-THON donation at our ADA Celebration on July 26 to receive a RAMP-A-THON water bottle!

You can also make a donation online or drop a check in the mail to: RAMP-A-THON / Disability Network, 517 E. Crosstown Parkway, Kalamazoo, MI 49001

Special Thanks to our RAMP-A-THON corporate sponsors:

Finishing Sponsors:
  • Integrity Back & Brain
  • Senior Services Southwest Michigan
  • Whirlpool Corporation
    Framing Sponsor
  •  Area Agency on Aging - Region IV
  •  Consumers Credit Union
    Foundation Sponsor
  •  Molina Healthcare
Your RAMP-A-THON dollars at work: Meet Chris

woman on her ramp getting her mail
Chris was excited and very appreciative to receive a ramp on her home through our Ramp Up program. Chris lives alone and has multiple sclerosis, diabetes, and fibromyalgia. Her house has a series of steps from the curb to her front door which were extremely difficult for her to maneuver, even with help, and unsafe to attempt by herself.

Now Chris is able to get to the bus stop in front of her house safely and independently to access her community and go to her appointments. She told us, "It's like night and day, the difference this ramp makes! It's the small things people take for granted-now I can take out my trash whenever I need to and get my mail every day!" In fact, our ramp volunteers (with permission from the postal service) integrated Chris' mailbox into her ramp!
Ableism workshop series coming this fall

In it's simplest form, ableism is the belief system that tells us it is better to be non-disabled than it is to be disabled. Ableism also examines disability discrimination on a systemic level by looking at the ways our society designs physically and socially segregated systems.

This fall we are expanding on our Ableism 101 workshop and offering Ableism 102 as a more in-depth study of ableism. If you have not yet attended Ableism 101, that will be offered prior to our Ableism 102 workshop. These workshops are free and open to the public.

Follow this link for all the details about our upcoming Ableism 101 & 102 workshops including a link to registration.
Intern et access for low income households   

www symbol
In today's world, the internet has the ability to empower lives, but only for those who can connect to it. Access to the internet provides an opportunity to connect with family and friends, access virtual library shelves, apply for jobs online, research health questions, complete an online education-and a whole lot more.

Both AT&T and Comcast offer a program for low-income households. Each program has its own set of qualification criteria. Visit them online to learn more or contact our Information and Referral department for more information. Click on the links below to learn more about each program:

AT&T Access

Comcast Internet Essentials
Providing Accessibility in
Outdoor Developed Areas & Recreation Facilities

woman in wheel chair on trail in the woods
Join us for this free workshop in Lansing to learn about providing accessibility in outdoor developed areas and recreation facilities such as pedestrian trails, beaches, picnic & camping areas, playgrounds, swimming pools, and sports facilities as outlined by the Americans with Disabilities Act & Architectural Barriers Act.

This workshop is being held on August 15 in Lansing, Michigan. Follow this link for all the details for our upcoming workshop Providing Accessibility in Outdoor Developed Areas & Recreation Facilities including a link to register.
Disability Network's Annual Report available on-line   

You can now view or download our 2017-18 Annual Report on our website as a pdf or a text-only Word document.

Accommodations for All

JAN logo
Join us in either our Kalamazoo or St. Joseph office on Friday, August 9 at 1:00 for an interactive live webcast training from the Job Accommodation Network (JAN). The presentation will provide information for employees and employers on job accommodations for hidden disabilities. Question and answer sessions will be available during the webcast.

JAN is the leading source of free, expert, and confidential guidance on workplace accommodations and disability employment issues. Working toward practical solutions that benefit both employer and employee, JAN helps people with disabilities enhance their employability, and shows employers how to capitalize on the value and talent that people with disabilities add to the workplace.

Follow this link for details, including a link to registration for Accommodations for All.
DO'S & DON'TS: Assistance 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 in either our Kalamazoo or St. Joseph office in  August to learn more!

Follow this link for all the details for our Do's & Don'ts: Assistance Animals workshop including a link to register for the date and location you plan to attend.
Accessible Computer Lab  
The Accessible Computer Lab in our Kalamazoo office is open any time our office is open. We have a volunteer available to offer assistance during the following designated hours:

computer screen with Disability Network logo
Computer Lab Assistance Hours:

Monday & Tuesday:
10:00 am - 12:00 pm
1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

1:30 pm - 3:00 pm

10:00 am - 12:00 pm

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 and is available in alternative format upon request.
Disability Digest is a monthly e-newsletter focused on the Disability Rights Movement 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.