What's News... January 2018
(517) 782-6054 www.disabilityconnect.org
Newsletter Editor: Holly Peterson

By: Holly Peterson
This could be the year to try something new... I know that in the Peterson house we have talked a lot about trying some new things in 2018! Instead of complaining about achy bones and joints - why not complain of aches and pains because we just tried something totally new and had a blast doing it...that (almost) makes the aches and pains worth it! Plus, a funny story, new friends and bragging rights will be all yours! I'll share other ideas in future newsletters

Let's start with some opportunities right here in Michigan. Not all will be right in town but they are not far away! Listed below are a few opportunities for winter sports.


If you live in Jackson- you are probably very familiar with sledding at Cascades Park. If you are in our situation- we just cant get our daughter pulled up the hill any longer. So with 3 of us, a sled and a car.. we can still have this awesome experience. We start with a sled at the hilltop - right behind the Rotunda. I can take our (adult) daughter down the hill on the sled. My husband drives the car to the road just at the bottom of the hill and picks us up and drives us back up the road to the top of the hill...repeat!


A few years ago our family went to Challenge Mountain to take our daughter skiing. Yes, it is a ways away (nearly 4 hours- near Petoskey in Boyne Falls) but the whole event and opportunity made it well worth it. Our experience included the mountain outfitting the whole family with skis and then working with our daughter on ski options, she ended up with a sit ski. We skied a few hours in all, (the kids all went on a snowmobile ride) had lunch, made new friends and yes...we have a few funny stories to share about it. We all still talk about it and are looking forward to going again. The total cost was by donation only!
This is a real beginners hill so great for first timers and out of shape moms! Everyone there was so incredibly kind, it was like family (in someways better!). Contact them for more information at (231) 582-1186 or https://challengemtn.org/


Michigan Adaptive Sports (MAS) is a chapter of Disabled Sports USA, a non-profit, tax-exempt educational organization established for the purpose of providing sports, recreation and physical fitness opportunities for persons with disabilities.
They offer a competitive aspect as a part of their program for those seeking a higher challenge. They host many annual clinics and events which provide ample challenges and opportunities for fun and excitement. They are able to provide these sports and activities to a very wide range of people.Our participants are of all ages, from young children to adults, and their disabilities include amputation, paralysis, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, developmental disabilities, head injuries, and many others

How about a winter of downhill skiing! They provide introductory ski lessons for persons of all ability levels. Lesson includes access to specialized adaptive equipment, an instructor, and a lift ticket.

Learn To Ski Clinic
February 3, 10 and 24, 2018 - Pine Knob
March 3 2018 - Crystal Mountain
March 4, 2018 - Crystal Mountain

Social Security’s
"Ticket to Work"
Program at a Glance
By: Parrish L. Stahl

The Ticket to Work (TTW) program in its simplest form is a program offered by the Social Security Administration to help people with disabilities maintain and/or prepare for employment. The program is administered through Michigan Rehabilitation Services. MRS can be thought of as an employment office for people with disabilities. Counselors at MRS can provide insight and help with special training, education and other activities related to work free of charge.

It's important to note that the TTW program is completely voluntary. Here's the way it works. If you decide to receive services from MRS you'll be considered for the program after completing what's called an Individualized Plan for Employment. TTW offers for you to choose some of your services you will need to be successful. You and a counselor meet together to come up with specific goals for how you're going to be eventually employed.  

There are some good reasons to investigate The Ticket to Work Program. All Social Security beneficiaries undergo medical reviews if you're under retirement age. Your Ticket to Work says basically that they will delay reviews while you're working on progress goals. Think of it as a series of milestones that a person works towards to become employed. It can be confusing, but the program is a safety net that you can enroll in to protect your benefits while you're getting ready to support yourself either in part or full. 

Here is an important note; whether a person with a disability is part of the TTW program or not; you have a nine month trial work period that means you can make an unlimited amount of money. This does not have to be consecutive or even the same job.  It is a myth that people who try to work will necessarily lose their SSI or SSDI.

 Learn more about the TTW program and other work incentives by calling 1-866-968-7842 or on the internet at www.socialsecurity.gov/work
You know those bitter mornings when you look outside and want desperately to go back and climb into your bed? Maybe some days you actually do! Or, how about when you get in the car, finally feel the heat working just in time for you to get out and trudge inside... thankful for any shelter and warmth you can locate? Just think, this is Michigan, we may be in for another three months before we can shed our heavy jackets for any trip outside. 

Now, put yourself in another scenario. This time you’re at your table sifting through the bills and your bank account. Just to realize you are going to come up short, not enough money to pay them all. A number of factors could have impacted this outcome... like illness and missing work, unexpected repairs, or maybe it has been ridiculously cold and you used more heat than expected to keep your family warm. The fact of the matter is, now you’re in a situation where the heat is about to be shut off and you aren’t sure what to do. 
Community Action Agencies throughout the country hold Walk for Warmth events. The Walk for Warmth specifically helps those who may not be eligible for state and federal heating programs.  The events are held to help raise both funds and awareness to support utility needs and prevent heating emergencies for low-income residents of our communities during the winter months. Community Action Agencies partner with local utility providers and community organizations to achieve this goal. 100% of funds stay in the community where raised and go towards providing utility help to avoid shut off of electricity, propane, or to assist with deliverable fuel or other emergency situations.   The money raised may be helping your neighbor, the elderly couple around the corner, or even your child’s classmate and their family. Regardless of who it is used on, we can all agree that being cold is not pleasant. Especially in your own home. 
Please come out and support the 2018 Super Hero themed Lenawee Walk for Warmth on Friday, February 9th 12:45pm @ Citizens Gas Blue Flame Room 127 N. Main St, Adrian, MI 49221.  For pledge forms or more information contact Community Action Agency (517) 263-7861.
More in Lenawee County...
Meet our new Pre-ETS Counselor for Leenawee County
Over the last several years, some of the programs offered through disAbility Connections reach outside Jackson and serve Hillsdale and Lenawee Counties. The latest staff addition of Pre-ETS Counselor Sylvia Coleman gives DC a presence working with students throughout the counties schools. This wont be a stretch for her as Sylvia just recently retired from the district where she served as a Social Worker. Welcome Sylvia!
Giving Cards...Give all Year!
"It is such a great gift...knowing that you are helping others, it warms my heart to pass the gift on and teach others about the gift that really matters"!

Comments like these are why disAbility Connections will continue to offer "giving cards" throughout the year.

Drop by our office anytime during normal business hours to request a giving card in any desired amount. The donation you make will help to provide services to individuals who may need assistance with Respite, Ramps, Equipment and more.
What's it all about?
The mission of Employment First is to establish the expectation and promote inclusive employment opportunities for all working age individuals with disabilities. The goal in Michigan is to gain individual, integrated employment making minimum wage or more. Employment First also seeks to engage businesses to value the contributions that employees with disabilities bring to their organizations.

Gov. Snyder's Office has made the transition to Employment First a priority in Michigan. A statewide Employment First Stakeholders Committee has been working to plan and implement the transition for over a year. Stakeholders include a broad spectrum of the state departments, agencies, human services and advocacy groups of people representing people with disAbilities. Workgroups of stakeholders are meeting regularly to accomplish specific tasks.

disAbility Connections and the other centers for independent living are represented on all workgroups and will continue to work toward a smooth transition which will benefit people with disAbilities.
RSVP TO HOLLY 990-8061
Member Feature and
Valentine Surprise
Call Carole for more info: 783-6527

disAbility Connections
409 Linden Avenue Jackson MI 49203
(517) 782-6054 www.disabilityconnect.org

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