Disability Network Southwest Michigan quarterly newsletter
October 2018
Renovated Community Building Provides Access For All!

Board of Directors at Ribbon Cutting
Susceptibility to flood damage, combined with the availability of more efficient building practices and advancements in technology, prompted Disability Network Southwest Michigan's Board of Directors to make an investment in renovating our Community Building this year. We took this opportunity to make the space as accessible as possible so that the building could truly provide "Access For All!"

On June 25, after months of renovation, the Board of Directors were very pleased to unveil the new and improved, fully accessible Community Building at an official ribbon cutting ceremony.

The Community Building is available at no charge to any organization needing a meeting or gathering space. Follow this link to learn more about our Community Building.
Disability & Emergency Preparedness Focus Groups   

Have you been affected by a natural disaster?
Were you ready for it?
caution signs
Disability Network Southwest Michigan will be holding discussion groups throughout Southwest Michigan to discuss how the disability community is affected during times of emergencies. If you are a person with a disability and have had to face an emergency such as fire, flood, tornado or other disaster, how did you handle it? Were you prepared? How does your disability impact your ability to respond in an emergency?

We want to hear from you!
Watch our website and Facebook page for more information about focus groups scheduling in your area to discuss emergency preparedness in the disability community, or contact Pam Burpee for more information at burpeep@dnswm.org or 269-345-1516 x116.
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month

In celebration of National Disability Employment
Know your rights_ Disability _ Employment
Awareness Month, we are offering a FREE Disability and Employment workshop in each of the eight counties in our region during the month of October.

At this workshop you will learn about when you are (and are not) required to tell an employer about your disability or medical condition and the best way to ask for an accommodation at work. We will also discuss your rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act and where you can find helpful resources.

Follow this link for all the Disability & Employment workshop dates and locations throughout Southwest Michigan.
Community Transition Services Program Paves the Way to Independent Living For Many 

person in wheelchair doing laundry
The goal of Disability Network's Community Transition Services program, formerly Nursing Facility Transition, is to provide individuals, regardless of their disability or age, the opportunity to choose community-based living as a viable alternative to nursing facility residency.
Our staff work with individuals to explore in-home care options, connect to personal care providers, and assist with the housing application process. The Community Transition Services program can assist with expenses associated with moving and establishing a safe environment for the person's individual care needs.
Follow this link to learn more about our  Community Transition Services program.
Charting the Course: Meet Calvin

Charting the Course
Calvin connected with Disability Network Southwest Michigan through our Community Transition Services program at the age of 57. He had been living in a nursing facility for two years because of wound issues and hypertension, but he was eager to move to a place of his own. Our staff assisted Calvin through the apartment application process, coordinated his move and assisted in acquiring necessary in-home medical equipment. He is happy to be on his own and thankful to have his independence again. Follow this link to read more about Calvin's story.

Our Community Transition Services Program is one way Disability Network helps prepare people 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 or find us on Facebook.
Register! Educate! Vote! Use your Power!
The American Association of People with Disabilities' (AAPD) REV UP Campaign aims to increase the political participation of the disability community while also engaging candidates and the media on disability issues. REV UP stands for Register! Educate! Vote! Use your Power!
Full political participation for Americans with disabilities is a top priority. AAPD works with state and national coalitions on effective, non-partisan campaigns to eliminate barriers to voting; promote accessibility of voting technology and polling places; educate voters about issues and candidates; promote turnout of voters with disabilities across the country; engage candidates and the media on disability issues, and protect eligible voters' right to participate in elections. Follow this link to learn more about AAPD and REV UP.
Hayley being presented with award
Volunteer of the Year: Hayley
Hayley Kreg was recently presented with Disability Network Southwest Michigan's 2018 Volunteer of the Year Award. Hayley has been volunteering at Disability Network as a receptionist since 2016. She is always willing to help out anytime she can with extra shifts at the front desk or helping to organize the library.
Hayley is a recent Kalamazoo Valley Community College graduate with a degree in Technical & Occupational Studies and loves to cook and read in her spare time.

AT Loan FUND Can Help!
The Assistive Technology Loan Fund (ATLF) is available to help people pay for tools for independence. The ATLF is a low interest loan available to people with disabilities and their family members to help purchase items like wheelchair accessible vehicles, hearing aids, mobility devices, communication devices, or adapted recreation equipment. The ATLF can also pay for home modifications, including ramps, to make a home more accessible.  
For more information, contact Lewis Whalen at whalenl@dnswm.org or (269) 345-1516 x107 

Dos & Don'ts: Assistance Animals   

a collection of various animals
Join us for a FREE workshop to learn the Do's & Don'ts of 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.

We are offering this workshop November in Kalamazoo, St. Joseph and Battle Creek. Follow this link for more details and the dates and locations of the Do's & Dont's: Assistance Animals workshop.

RISE UP: Disability Resistance, History & Pride    

Disability Network has partnered with Van Buren Intermediate School District (ISD) to present this FREE workshop to raise awareness of disability rights and pride. Everyone is welcome to join us for this workshop which will include discussion and activities that promote knowledge of disability history and support the journey to disability pride.  

This workshop is being offered in November at the Van Buren ISD. Follow this link for more details about the Rise Up! workshop.
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.