Sharing Information Loud and Clear May 2021

Sharing Information Loud and Clear May 2021

For Immediate Release : May 20, 2021

Contact: Carrie England, Executive Director, State Independent Living Council (SILC).

Sharing Information Loud and Clear

May 2021

In This Issue:

    Message from the Chairperson

    May 2021 SILC Full Council Meeting

    Meet the DOR ILATS Team

    Global Accessibility Awareness Day

    National Stuttering Awareness Week

    Mobility Awareness Month

    Vaccines At Home

photo description: Woman reading Braille, wheelchair user on beach facing away from camera with arms raised triumphantly, and two smiling women posing for photo

Message From The Chair

Photo description: Peter Mendoza, SILC Chairperson

Greetings Independent Living Leaders and Community Members,

It’s hard to believe we are well in to 2021. I want to honor each of you for all the wonderful work you are doing every day to support people with disabilities and of course the Independent Living Network in California. This past year with Covid-19 we have been through so much. I am proud to say that through many challenges related to Covid-19 our network has answered the call and gone above and beyond serving our communities. Job well done and you have my sincerest thanks! The budget forecast for the State of California is much better than I could have ever imagined. I want to express my appreciation to Governor Newsom and the entire administration for truly addressing the needs of so many people from marginalized communities including those of us with disabilities and older adults.

This month is Mental Health Awareness Month. Mental Health related conditions touch many communities including my own. We need to do more to remove the stigma around mental health related conditions.

Too often these valued community members are not treated with the dignity and respect they deserve and are subject to so much discrimination, not only in society, even within the disability community. It is a cornerstone of the Disability Rights/ Independent Living Movement that all people with disabilities have the right to independence, to be fully included in their community, and most importantly to be treated with dignity and respect.

Too often this is denied for our community members with behavioral health related conditions. Everyone has a right to the services and supports they need to live their best life. We must do more. In Independent Living we work every day to break down the stigma and remove barriers to independence for all people including those with mental and behavioral health related conditions.

The SILC is here for you. Feel free to reach out to us at SILC@calsilc.ca.gov or myself, peter@marincil.org.

In Unity and Solidarity,

Peter T. Mendoza

May 2021 SILC Full Council Meeting

The SILC encourages public comments during the May council meeting, which will be hosted remotely utilizing the zoom platform. At this meeting, we provide an opportunity for the public to provide insights and share concerns to help shape future independent living programs in California.

There is no physical location being made available to the public. Per Executive Order N-29-20, teleconferencing restrictions are waived during the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, committee members are not required to list their remote locations, and members of the public may participate either by Zoom or teleconference from any location.

Accessible formats of agendas and materials including teleconference information can be found online at www.calsilc.ca.gov/meeting-notices/ 10 days prior to the meeting.

Public input is critical to the success of SILC and the state’s 28 Independent Living Centers. The SILC is particularly interested in the perspectives of persons living with a disability, chronic condition or health issue, family members of people with disabilities and advocates and community stakeholders concerned with disability rights.

SILC Full Council Meeting

May 25, 2021, 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM

May 26, 2021, 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM

Zoom Web Link

Call-in Number: (669) 900-6833

Meeting ID: 822 5526 5818

Passcode: 389636

RSVP:

To Danielle at (toll free) 1-866-866-7452 voice or Danielle@calsilc.ca.gov.  If you are unable to attend the meeting, but would like to provide input, please contact the SILC.

If disability-related accommodations are required for your participation, please contact the SILC at Danielle@calsilc.ca.gov at least 5 business days before the meeting. After that deadline the SILC will make every effort to meet accessibility needs, but cannot guarantee to do so.

Meet the Department of Rehabilitation Independent Living and Assistive Technology Section (ILATS) Team

Photo description: DOR Logo; “DOR” in text above text “Department of Rehabilitation”. Underneath is text “Employment, Independence, & Equality”

The DSE is the state entity that receives and distributes Title VII funds, which we allocate through the State Plan for Independent Living (SPIL). In California, the chosen DSE is Department of Rehabilitation (DOR).

The DSE accounts to the SILC for the money and the disbursement of the money, per the State Plan for Independent Living because the SILC monitors the implementation of the plan. The DSE provides administrative support for the IL program in the state, which includes distribution of grants to the Independent Living Centers, monitoring of those grants, and technical assistance.

Since the DSE plays such an important role in the network, we thought you might like to get to know the staff of the Independent Living, Assistive Technology, and Traumatic Brain Injury Section (ILATS) a little better.

Below, meet the DOR ILATS Team!

ILATS Chief, Megan Sampson

Photo: Megan wearing a colorful dress and black sweater with her 2 children. Megan is looking down and smiling.

Trigger Warning: Mental Health/Self Harm/Suicide

I grew up never knowing about hidden disabilities. I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety since childhood, and these things, my feelings, were always seen as melodramatic or attention seeking. I felt very alone and wondered why I was so broken. I’ve had a peculiar life that has involved a lot of heartache and abuse; unfortunately I had no coping skills besides self harm and failed attempts at taking my life. My last try at 19, another failure, led me to realize that maybe I’m supposed to be here. 

I began channeling my depression, anxiety, and PTSD into love and care of others. I volunteered training shelter dogs who were at risk of being euthanized, I sat with those in hospice, and I taught high risk youth so they could get their GEDs. 

When I acquired my TBI, and many subsequent concussions since, everything became so much harder. I lost my sense of self while my mental health problems were compounded exponentially. I was constantly compared to a version of me that I had no memory of; one I could never live up to. 

It’s been 3 years since my accident. I’ve regained my ability to walk unassisted (mostly), and speak without too many obvious indications, but everyday is a new and different struggle. DOR has been a place where I can advocate for others with invisible disabilities, and in turn, it’s been a place of healing, love, and support that I never knew I needed. 

My team, my programs, my partners, stakeholders, leaders, and friends have all taught me beautiful lessons and have played a tremendous role in my recovery and finding me new sense of self.

You all have helped me to change my perspective and narrative from “I’m broken and worthless” to “I have mental health disabilities, I have an acquired disability, and because of this I have a unique perspective on life that is perfectly, complicatedly, beautifully me.”

IL Program Manager, Jocelyne O’Toole

(Photo unavailable)

What is your name? What is your role at the DOR?

Jocelyne O’Toole

Independent Living & Assistive Technology Section (ILATS) Program Manager

What should SILC members understand about the role you play in the IL Network?

My position provides supervision to the 4 ILATS Grant Administrators who oversee the 28 Independent Living Centers throughout California, administration of IL grants, and direct responsibility for the most sensitive IL projects and issues for the section.

How long have you been in your position?

I have been in my position as the IL Program Manager for 19 months

How long have you been working in the IL field?

16 years

What drew you to working in this field or this position?

I had recently returned back to state service after a 15 year leave of absence and was interested in working on the program side rather than the accounting as that is what I was doing when I left state service.  I researched several programs in the Department and was excited that the position that was open in the ILATS section not only would allow me to utilize my accounting experience but also allow me to learn the program side. Having two youth family members with severe disabilities, it was even more rewarding to find out that the position supported programs that serve people with disabilities in the community throughout California, that was my deciding factor to apply.

What are the parts of your job that make you smile, and make it worth showing up each day?

I work with amazing people who make coming to work each day such a pleasure and knowing that the work the entire team does behind the scenes is helping consumers in the community to get the support they need is every reason to smile!

How do you like to spend your time when you are not at work? Do you have hobbies or talents that no one knows about that you’d like to share?

I enjoy spending time with my husband and my adult children. I enjoy Football, fishing, sewing, quilting, and crafting just about anything.

Tell us a little about your pets, children, partner or spouse.

Wayne and I have been married for 16 years, together we have 7 children and 5 grandchildren. Chief is our 10-year old Golden Retriever and we recently have a new addition to our family who a is 3-month-old French Bull Dog Macy Grey.

Is there anything else SILC members should know about you?

I am a huge Kansas City Chiefs Fan!!

Office Technician, George Moultrie

Photo:George, smiling, wearing a white Addidas hat and black hooded sweatshirt, and sunglasses.

What is your name? What is your role at the DOR?

George Moultrie, Office Technician

What should SILC members understand about the role you play in the IL Network?

I support all the staff in the Sections

How long have you been in your position, or if applicable, how long have you been working in the IL field?

19 Years 8 Months

What drew you to working in this field or this position?

I love helping others, staff members were so supportive/helpful and has vast knowledge of their jobs

What are the parts of your job that make you smile, and make it worth showing up each day?

Family type atmosphere, personal relationships home away from home.

How do you like to spend your time when you are not at work? I am a foster parent, always busy, preparing teenagers for life skills. 

 

Do you have hobbies or talents that no one knows about that you’d like to share?

My hobbies are singing, dancing, art and interior decorating. I’ve served 20 years in the Air Force, escorted 2 presidents, and worked with 5 presidents.

Tell us a little about your pets, children, partner or spouse.

My pets include, Peanut, Charlies and Cora. We’ve fostered over 109 youth, mainly teenage boys. I do have 5 great grandchildren.

Is there anything else SILC members should know about you?

I’ve loved working with and for DOR and my former boss at SILC and two others who now work with SILC. Awesome people!

IL Grant Administrator, Beau Wilding

Photo: Beau standing on a pier in front of the ocean, wearing a mask.

What is your name? What is your role at the DOR?

Beau Wilding, Independent Living Grant Administrator

What should SILC members understand about the role you play in the IL Network?

I play a variety of roles to support Independent Living Centers and their access to state and federal grant monies. It is my duty to ensure the accuracy of grants and grant related documents to the DOR, including invoices, revisions and amendments. When invoices are submitted to DOR, I get them to the appropriate party for payment. When payments are missing, I go sleuthing. The purpose of my review of grant and other documents is to be a first line of defense, to make sure all figures and information is consistently presented throughout grant materials.

How long have you been in your position, or if applicable, how long have you been working in the IL field?

I have been in my current role for four years and four months but have been working in the field of disability for approximately ten years.

What drew you to working in this field or this position?

I grew up with a father who had a disability. His journey to independence and expressions of self-advocacy were inspiring to me. My father expressed a need to be seen and valued as an individual, not just a disability. When I experienced my own disability journey, he was an inspiring role model to me. I connect to the independent living philosophy because I want to be seen as an individual and not a disability, and I believe all people have this right.

What are the parts of your job that make you smile, and make it worth showing up each day?

Hearing consumer success stories from the IL Community. Hearing that a center received a check on time. Hearing that a ILC was able to use state or federal funding in a creative way to benefit their community. Connecting with the IL network to celebrate successes, passions and goals. 

How do you like to spend your time when you are not at work? Do you have hobbies or talents that no one knows about that you’d like to share?

Meditation and exercise are very important to me. I enjoy going to the record store and discovering what treasures may emerge. I have made several batches of good tasting beer and several batches of not so good tasting beer, but enjoy the process of home brewing nonetheless.

Tell us a little about your pets, children, partner or spouse.

My wife and I have been together for nearly nine years, married for eight months. So far so good! We hope to travel to many foreign lands, including Bhutan, Korea, Northern Ireland and mainland Europe.

Is there anything else SILC members should know about you?

I am here for you and I want to help as much as I am able. I believe in the work the ILCs do. It is impressive and inspiring. I am grateful to be a part of this movement, this lineage and this community even if in a small way.

IL Grant Administrator, Mike Valencia

Photo: Mike, wearing sunglasses and standing with the State Capitol in the background.

What is your name? What is your role at the DOR?

Michael Valencia, Independent Living Grant Administrator

What should SILC members understand about the role you play in the IL Network?

Hard to say, I think my role in the IL Network is more of a supporting role. The centers are the ones out there doing the hard work, I just try and make myself available for any and all support I can provide.

How long have you been in your position, or if applicable, how long have you been working in the IL field?

I have been with DOR for almost 5 years, a little over 3 years in accounting as an Accounting Officer and over a year and a half in ILATS as a Grant Administrator.

What drew you to working in this field or this position?

Luck!!! While in accounting I paid the invoices and advances for the ILC’s, and when there was an opening in ILATS I went for it! Talking to those in ILATS and hearing the awesome work the centers do, I knew I wanted to be a part of that!!!!

What are the parts of your job that make you smile, and make it worth showing up each day?

Everything!!!! I worked the majority of my career in accounting for the private sector. Honestly, I had to drag myself to go to work, most days thinking of ways to call in sick. From the first day at DOR, I have not even had an inkling of taking sick time. I love what I do, and there is no where else I would rather be!

How do you like to spend your time when you are not at work? Do you have hobbies or talents that no one knows about that you’d like to share?

I love playing golf, only because I stink at it. I guess you can say I am a sucker for pain. One thing not too many people know about me is that I love to play cards, specifically poker. I used to play every weekend for 12 hours or more, and sometimes during the week. I have won a handful of tournaments, and even played in a World Series of Poker tournament in Las Vegas.

Tell us a little about your pets, children, partner or spouse.

I Just celebrated my 30th wedding anniversary in April. I have 2 kids, a girl and a boy and 2 dogs that are my world!

Is there anything else SILC members should know about you? My son was born with a birth defect and at the age of 16 months we had to make the hard choice to amputate his foot. He is a Shriner’s Hospital Patient Ambassador and has been featured not only in their publications but also in local newspapers and television. Shriners has always given so much love and support and we have always tried to give back something and or work in their behalf. I feel that this is my way of paying the love and support forward. That’s why I love what I do, where I work, and pretty much everything about it!!! I am also a volunteer for the state, working in fire shelters and assisting during disasters.

IL Grant Administrator, Phi Phi Phan

Photo: Phi Phi Phan with her husband and two children. Phi Phi wears a hat and black sunglasses and is in the center of the photo.

What is your name? What is your role at the DOR?

My name is Phi Phi Phan. I am a grant administrator for Independent Living unit in ILATS, Department of Rehabilitation.

What should SILC members understand about the role you play in the IL Network?

I’m supporting 7-10 non-profit organizations for Statewide Independent Living (IL) centers. My roles include performing a variety of more responsible and complex analytical works related to administrative, fiscal, and programmatic services and functions for Independent Living grant programs as well as supporting IL centers.

How long have you been in your position, or if applicable, how long have you been working in the IL field?

I have been working in the IL field and in this position for almost 2 years.

What drew you to working in this field or this position?

I enjoy working in this field because of all the programs and services that help individuals with disabilities become more confident in seeking a job, living independently, and having the same opportunities as non-disabled persons. Working alongside individuals with special needs brings a host of unique challenges and opportunities, and the meaningful work I do inspires me every day, which is why I chose to apply for this position.

What are the parts of your job that make you smile, and make it worth showing up each day?

Every time I hear successful stories of the consumers, staffs from our Department, or from Independent Living centers, it makes me smile. At least, we know that the work we are doing supports the individuals with disabilities in achieving their dream. Their lives have not been easy and because of their self-improvement, they are an example and inspiration to me.

How do you like to spend your time when you are not at work? Do you have hobbies or talents that no one knows about that you’d like to share?

I love to spend time with my family and take care of my kids. We usually bike or take a walk together. I am married and have two children, a daughter and a son. Our family enjoys watching movies and bowling. My daughter plays volleyball so we also spend our time practicing with her and going to her tournaments.

TBI Program Administrator, Tanya Thee

Photo: Tanya with long blond hair and black shirt, smiling.

What is your name? What is your role at the DOR?

Tanya Thee, TBI Program Administrator

How long have you been in your position, or if applicable, how long have you been working in the IL field?

I have been with the DOR, specifically in the TBI program, for nearly two years. This was my first opportunity to work in the IL field.

What drew you to working in this field or this position?

I was drawn to the opportunity to be part of growing an underdeveloped program to benefit those with a TBI in California. I have never learned so much about any one disability before and now knowing how easily and quickly someone can obtain a TBI, I am so happy to be part of the program.

What are the parts of your job that make you smile, and make it worth showing up each day?

The people I work with and seeing how our program has impacted the community and those with a TBI. I have heard ‘thank you’ more in the last two years than I have in my entire career lifespan.

How do you like to spend your time when you are not at work? I enjoy reading and watching movies; however, there never seems to be enough time to do so with a husband, 3 kids, a dog, a cat, a restaurant and a real estate business……big sigh!

Do you have hobbies or talents that no one knows about that you’d like to share?

I decorate cakes (birthday, wedding, etc.) and someday I would like to offer a non-profit to provide life-coaching and independent living skills to teenagers to help promote successful transitions to adulthood.

Tell us a little about your pets, children, partner or spouse.

I have been married for 10 years with three children, Kayla (17), Chloe (16) and Lily (5). In addition, we have Sweetie (cat, 10 yrs) and Loki (Goldendoodle, 4 months) and Loki is more of a handful than having babies (more than one baby too….lol). Our home is loud and crazy, which drives me crazy because I prefer calm, peace and serenity……not here!!!!

Is there anything else SILC members should know about you?

No, you asked really good questions….

Voice Options Program Analyst, Timothy Burkhart

Photo: Tim, approximately age 3, wearing yellow and riding a bunny tricycle, smiling with his older sister, Cindy, on his left sitting on a red tricycle.

What is your name? What is your role at the DOR?

My name is Timothy Burkhart and I work as an analyst for the Voice Options Program which is housed in ILCAD.

What should SILC members understand about the role you play in the IL Network?

The Voice Options Program works with providers to get iPADS with speech generating applications for people who cannot speak or have difficulty speaking. These applications provide a way for people to lead independent lives.

How long have you been in your position, or if applicable, how long have you been working in the IL field?

I have been in my position for one month.

What drew you to working in this field or this position?

I saw the position advertised and decided I wanted to work for the program because there was a time when I could not speak.

What are the parts of your job that make you smile, and make it worth showing up each day?

My co-workers make me laugh every day and their commitment to the program is amazing! I also love to hear success stories of how people’s lives are changed because of the Voice Options Program.

How do you like to spend your time when you are not at work? Do you have hobbies or talents that no one knows about that you’d like to share?

I try to read as much as I can. Books are taking over my house! I am learning how to play the cello.

Tell us a little about your pets, children, partner or spouse.

My spouse works as the Chief of Privacy Office for the Department of Corrections. If there is a privacy breach, the office has to take care of it. We have three dogs, two greyhounds, Dakota and Hazel and a terrier mix named Harrison. They are our children.

Is there anything else SILC members should know about you?

As new employee to DOR, I am impressed with the friendliness and warmth other DOR employees have shown my in my short time that I have been here.

Also ILATS Team members who have opted not to participate: Kevin Hansen, Scott Harris, Karl Ortega

Global Accessibility Awareness Day

Photo description: Blue letters spell “GAAD” in the center of a circle. The circle is a stylized keyboard and cord stretching around the letters.

Thursday, May 20 2021 marks the ninth Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). The purpose of GAAD is to get everyone talking, thinking and learning about digital (web, software, mobile, etc.) access/inclusion and people with different disabilities.

The target audience of GAAD is the design, development, usability, and related communities who build, shape, fund and influence technology and its use. While people may be interested in the topic of making technology accessible and usable by persons with disabilities, the reality is that they often do not know how or where to start. Awareness comes first.

To read about some ways in which you can participate in Global Accessibility Awareness Day activities, visit the GAAD website.

National Stuttering Awareness Week (NSAW)

Photo description: Light teal colored ribbon with white letters that say “National Stuttering Awareness Week” on one side and “NSA” on the other.

National Stuttering Awareness Week is the second week of May, so now is the time to think about how YOU want to celebrate, educate, and spread the word about stuttering!

The National Stuttering Association (NSA) is the largest non-profit organization in the world dedicated to bringing empowerment to children and adults who stutter, their families, and professionals, through support, education, advocacy, and research.

To learn more about how you can raise awareness in your community visit the NSA webpage.

Mobility Awareness Month

Photo description: green and blue logo of NMEDA. Blue field with white stick figure vehicle with person sitting in a wheelchair driving the vehicle. Green field below the blue field with “NMEDA” in white letters.

Since 2012, May has been recognized as National Mobility Awareness Month, sponsored by the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA). The NMEDA is a non-profit trade association dedicated to expanding opportunities for people with disabilities to safely drive or be transported in vehicles modified with mobility equipment to fit their specific needs. All members work together to improve transportation options for people with disabilities.

Driven by the theme “Say Hello to New Possibilities”,” NMEDA members and industry partners team up to organize an international campaign that works to highlight and celebrate the ways in which people living with disabilities persevere and triumph over their physical challenges while bringing attention to the many life-changing mobility solutions available to make independence more accessible. “This May, say hello to new destinations, fewer boundaries, and more independence as we celebrate National Mobility Awareness Month,” their website states.

People with disabilities constitute the second largest minority in the United States. In the United States and Canada, over 18 million people have mobility issues, six million of whom are veterans. There are mobility equipment manufacturers, dealers, driver rehabilitation specialists and other professionals in every community dedicated to improving the lives of people with disabilities. Automotive mobility solutions are available for people with disabilities which may allow them more choices for active, mobile lifestyles.

To learn more visit the NMEDA webpage.

Californians can now get the vaccination done at home or they can arrange for transportation to take them to their vaccination location. This can be done by calling the California Department of Public Health COVID-19 Call Center at 1-833-422-4255. You will also need to register on the My Turn CA website, https://myturn.ca.gov/. This is a two-step process for you to be able to get this service. No same day appointments are available. More info has been provided by DREDF and can be found at the following link 

 

 Agency Announcements

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  • As of March 17, 2020, SILC Staff will be working remotely, due to COVID-19 safety. Office messages will be checked regularly – SILC Main office (916) 263-7905 or Toll Free (866) 866-7452, email SILC@CalSILC.ca.gov (English)
  • SILC 2021-2023 SPIL Meaningful Data Work Group
    June 25, 2021, 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM
    Word (151 KB) | RTF (109 KB)
  • SILC 2021-2023 SPIL Funding Formula and Equity Work Group
    July 13, 2021, 9:30 AM to 11:00 AM
    Agenda will be posted 10 days prior to the meeting
  • SILC 2021-2023 SPIL Long-Term Services and Supports Work Group
    July 7, 2021, 10:30 AM to 12:00 PM
    Agenda will be posted 10 days prior to the meeting
  • New SILC Member Recruitment – Please see information attached (English)
    Word (60.48 KB) | RTF (61.03 KB)
  • SILC Membership Application (English)
    External Link to Website
 

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