Expanding Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities

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Newsletter - Volume #5  May 2016
A Note from Matt ...
Like a modern-day Footloose, in an era where Deaf people are not supposed to
black t-shirt with a picture of Nyle's face on it
dance, Nyle DiMarco busts down stereotypes and wins Dancing with the Stars!  Throughout DTWS, Nyle received an interpreter, not provided by him, but the show. Across our country, deaf people are denied interpreters for essential services, like medical, legal, education, and governmental services. It is unlawful, but there is almost no enforcement. Nyle would not have access to DTWS without an interpreter, would not be able to learn to dance from Peta without an interpreter, and would not be able to understand the judges without an interpreter.
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DIG in the News

Deaf Inmates Sue Miami-Dade Corrections for Lack of Interpreters

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featuredarticleSummer Fun and Discrimination against Kids

No Kids in the Pool!
Unless the housing facility is a qualified 55 and over housing development, a housing provider cannot have rules that treat children differently, and less favorably than adults.
When the US Congress amended the Fair Housing Act in 1988, it prohibited housing practices that discriminate on the basis of familial status. When it amended the Act, Congress recognized that "families with children are refused housing despite their ability to pay for it."
Summer Camp
Asthma and Air Conditioning
Pool Rules 
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Out and About with DIG
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Small Business ADA Summit, Hallandale Beach, FL 
6-4-16  Guardianship Training, Miami, FL 
6-17-16 FL BAR Animal Law Committee, Orlando, FL  
June 2016  NFHA Conference, Washington, DC 
July 2016  47th Annual Autism Society Conference, New Orleans, LA 
Sept. 2016  Child Protection Summit, Orlando, FL 
9-9-16 ABC's of Emotional Support Animals, Tallahassee, FL
2016 DRBA West Coast Conference, Los Angeles, CA
Debbie, Matt, and Corey at the CIL Broward Dinner.
CIL Broward Dinner
 Vicki Johnson_ Jack Catlin_ and Matt Dietz
Vicki Johnson_ Jack Catlin_ and Matt Dietz
FAWL Leadership summit 5-19-16
2016 FAWL Leadership Summit 
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DIG Office Staff
Internship Experience at Disability Independence Group  
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Victoria Chippari
University of Miami, Class of 2016
They say that sometimes the experiences you least expect are capable of making the most lasting impacts on your life. For me, completing my senior practicum with the Disability Independence Group has been one of those unexpected experiences that granted me with so much new knowledge, passion, and interest in a field that was pretty foreign to me. I have always had a desire to work in the human service industry providing help to individuals in need, but never knew exactly what I wanted to do beyond that. The opportunities I was given at DIG helped guide me towards discovering what areas of the field truly mattered most to me and where I believe I can make the biggest impact in the lives of others.
Kailea, Kim, and Mystic the dog.
litigationLitigation: Is Your Child a Runner?
By: Matthew Dietz

  Some children with autism, developmental or intellectual disabilities may wander off without any comprehension of possible danger. This might include running off from adults at school or in the community, leaving the classroom without permission, or leaving the house when the family is not looking. While most children are drawn to water, many autistic children seem even more fascinated by it -- and they're fearless.

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kidscrusadersKids Crusaders Corner
By: Julie Fioravanti 

Julie will be back next month!

Thank you email from students learning about your organization  
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UM Students, Spring 2016
Undergraduate course at  the University of Miami in the School of Education  entitled Understanding Human Service Organizations
Dear Mrs. Dietz and the rest of the Disability Independence Group,
Thank you again for providing us the opportunity to learn about your organization in such a hands-on way. Before this project, our team had very limited experience working with non-profits, so being able to come into your office and speak with you taught us so much about what it really means to run a non-profit. We were inspired by your passion; it is truly remarkable how driven you all are and how much you care about the work you do for the community. We learned a lot from DIG in terms of our course material (like the importance of open communication in the office place and flexibility and diversity in skills, structural elements of the way you are run, etc.), but we also learned about thinking sensitively at all times with our words (it's Persons with Disabilities, not disabled people!!) with our actions (to open doors for people in wheelchairs), and even with our future business pursuits (having websites that are accessible for everyone is a must).
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dvAt The Intersection of Disability and Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault

We have a lot of services for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in Miami-Dade County yet many barriers to those services still exist for persons with disabilities.
There are however, promising solutions. They include the Collaborative Partnership of DIG, MUJER, Legal Aid, and CVAC right here in Miami. Building partnerships of essential agencies will increase resources, expertise and create strategies towards addressing these issues. Our goal is awareness first and enhanced services later. This will have a big impact on survivors.

Click here to read more
If you are interested in volunteering please contact Sharon Langer at sharon@justdigit.org
The Wallet Card Logo.  A blue hexagon with the words the wallet card in the hexagon.
walletcardThe Wallet Card Project

The wallet card is a tool for young adults to use when they come into contact with law enforcement; either as a victim, a witness, or as a potential suspect.

The wallet card will help to clarify any interaction with law enforcement so that the behavior of the person with a disability is not misinterpreted as suspicious or as criminal behavior.

Click here to sign up for a wallet card

The Wallet Card Project is a collaboration with DIG, CGPD, and UM-NSU CARD.
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leslyAsset Building for Individuals with Disabilties

Public benefit programs for people with disabilities, especially Supplemental Security Income (SSI), are not aimed at increasing assets and independence for people with disabilities as a result individuals with disabilities often have very limited income and few, if any, assets. The intent of asset building initiatives is that as individuals develop assets, they will be able to move out of poverty and remain out of poverty. Many asset building services for people with disabilities will NOT cause loss of critical SSA disability cash payments and essential health insurance such as Medicaid or Medicare.
Types of asset building services for people with disabilities:
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Lisa Goodman head shot
lisaNot Your Average Fundraiser

Fundraiser?!?!-Probably a word you expect to hear from an organization. However, this fundraiser will warm your stomach. I imagine you are scratching your head at this point and asking "what could she possibly be talking about?"
First, let me explain the motivation for this fundraiser-By now I hope you have heard about The Wallet CardTM, but if not here is a little about it: "The Wallet CardTM Project is a project of The Disability Independence Group, Inc. that was designed in collaboration with the Coral Gables Police Department (CGPD), and The University of Miami Nova Southeastern University Center for Autism and Related Disabilities. (UM-NSU CARD). The Wallet Card is a tool to be used by a teenager or an adult with a disability." For more information visit http://www.justdigit.org/wallet-cards/  

 Click here to read more
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 Help DIG raise awareness and funds!

DIG's Wallet Card TM Project creates a direct impact on people with disabilities not only throughout the United States but all throughout the world. We are asking you to help us find a hashtag that can have the same impact in America and beyond. In order to promote DIG's Shake Shack fundraiser, we need your help to come up with a creative and informative hashtag to get all of Miami out to eat for an amazing cause in the fall!
Submissions can be unique and fun, but we ask that you incorporate the Wallet Card and Shake Shack in any way you'd like, this way, we can raise awareness of the fundraising event and about the project in general throughout Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! Hashtags are a popular way to reach out to both people who know and do not know about DIG. We will be accepting submissions until the beginning of July--more information about how to submit your idea is coming soon!
Israel and Lorinda
lorindaSummer Fun in Sunny Florida
...it's a smile, it's a kiss, it's a sip of wine ... it's summertime! 
     - Kenny Chesney  
The temperature is rising and soon everyone will hit the beach. Summers in Florida are epic, and people travel from all over the world to feel the warm sun on their face. As a motorized wheelchair user, I too enjoy the beautiful Atlantic Ocean and sandy beaches on our coast. However, a Florida beach day isn't as simple for me as putting on a bikini, packing towels, a beach hat and sunscreen. There's a lot more that goes into the planning process. Unless it's highly compacted and solid, getting your wheelchair on the sand is next to impossible. Good news! Here in Miami there are a number of recreational opportunities available for wheelchair users to enjoy in the summer festivities just like everyone else.
Sabrina Cohen Foundation

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The cover of the book Your Upward Journey by Patricia Bochi
patuYour Upward Journey

In a nutshell, Your Upward Journey: It Is Easier Than You Think!, is a three-part project (book, self-help seminars and merchandise sale). I intend to promote the book through self-help seminars and sale of merchandise, such as mugs, journals etc.


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penguinA Parcel of Penguins


For more information about DIG and to find out how you can be involved, please call or email our executive director, Debbie Dietz at 305-669-2822 or  debbie@justdigit.org. 
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Disability Independence Group, Inc.

Thank you to the organizations that support our projects.

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  Disability Independence Group, Inc. | 305-669-2822 | info@justdigit.org | www.justdigit.org