Disability Network Southwest Michigan's quarterly newsletter
October 2020
Ready, Set, VOTE! . . . on November 3
text graphic: 2020 - Your vote counts
You are a very powerful person because you have the power to VOTE. It’s easy for any one of us to start feeling small in the big picture of a National election. Another way to think of yourself is as part of a group of voters. Nearly one fifth of all Americans have a disability; think of yourself as a “disability voter” – now you are part of something that makes up a significant percentage of overall votes. YOU, as a “disability voter,” have the power to impact this election.

Follow this link to read more about the power of your vote.

Have questions about voting in 2020? . . . We can help!

  • If you have questions about voting, contact our Information & Referral department: (269) 345-1516 or toll free: 1- 877-674-5209, or email:

  • Free, live webinar to address this year’s voting issues. (See below)
Webinar: VOTE - Know Your Rights
Vote button
Whether you are voting for the first time or you are an experienced voter, you may have questions about the upcoming election and what process for voting best suites you.

  • Monday, October 5, 2020 at 1:00 to 2:30 PM
  • Tuesday, October 6, 2020 at 10:00 to 11:30 AM
The first presentation will be recorded and made available to view if you are not able to attend the webinars.

Follow this link for more information at to register for VOTE: Know Your Rights
CARES Act funding helps provide relief during COVID-19
Capitol Building
The CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act) made Federal funds available to assist vulnerable populations with needs specific to the pandemic. Centers for Independent Living across the country received CARES Act funds to assist people with disabilities. To date, Disability Network Southwest Michigan has assisted nearly 100 individuals and 15 organizations in seven counties through the CARES Act.

Follow this link to read more about how Disability Network has services our communities with CARES Act funding.
Agency Office Operations & Customer Contact
staff and customer meeting with masks and a plexiglass divider
Disability Network Southwest Michigan continues a phased-in process of resuming face-to-face meetings with our customers. We are meeting with people by appointment only; to schedule an appointment, call us at 269-345-1516 email a staff person through the Staff page of our website.

We are taking every precaution to protect our customers and staff from further spread of Coronavirus. For the safety of our staff, customers and the community, face coverings are required during in-person meetings. Customers will also be asked to answer a short health assessment. We are here for you and able perform all of our usual services, even if that looks a bit different now.

Follow this link to read more about our current agency operations under COVID-19.
NDEAM: Increasing Access & Opportunity
photos of various people with disabilites working
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, or NDEAM. The purpose of NDEAM is to raise awareness and educate people about disability employment issues and celebrate the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities. Workplaces welcoming the talents of all people, including people with disabilities, is a critical part of building an inclusive community and strong economy.

Follow this link to read more about NDEAM and what Disability Network is doing to celebrate.
Jamar's Path to Employment
McDonald's window with logo
Jamar is 20 years old and has an intellectual disability and was actively looking for a job. Our staff worked with Jamar on pre-employment training. He submitted an application to McDonald’s and our staff continued to work with him on “soft skills” to address employer expectations and interviewing. Staff did some role playing to go through the interview process and cover some common questions he might encounter. Staff also worked with Jamar on self-advocacy and talked about the “how, what and when” of disclosing his disability and his rights under the ADA for receiving accommodations. When Jamar went for his interview at McDonald's he was feeling much more confident. He nailed the interview and was offered a training position starting the next week. Congratulations Jamar, you’ve got this!

Follow this link to read Jamar's full story.
Community Education Online Programming
computer screen with DN logo
Our Community Education programming will remain online through the end of the year.

Visit our website for list of upcoming Community Education events.

Preregistration is required. You will be sent information to connect to the event. To register for any of these events, visit our website to register online or contact Miranda at or 269-345-1516 x120.
About Disability Network
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.
Our Publications:
You can sign up online for our publications at, or contact Dale at or (269) 345-1516 x123. Current and past issues of our publications are available on our website.

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.
Visit out website to learn more about us: