Mosaic in Northern Indiana

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Thank You Bremen Firefighters!

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Last week Mosaic’s Day Program, Meaningful Days was invited to the Bremen Firemen’s Festival for an afternoon of free rides, lemonade and hot dogs.

The carnival rides were operating at slower speeds and had several workers attending individuals who needed extra help.

It was a hot day but thanks to the lemonade and fun, no one seemed to notice.

A big thank you goes out to the Bremen Firefighters for hosting the festival and for personally inviting us!

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Attention Please Contact Your Local Legislators!

BUDGET BILL – DSP WAGE INCREASE UPDATE 

Public testimony was heard this week on HB 1001, the state biennial budget bill.  The Arc of Indiana provided testimony on the Governor’s budget and expressed concern about the growing demands on our First Steps Program as well as the need to address our shortage of quality Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) in our state.

Next week we expect the budget conversation to continue as both the House Democrats and the House Republicans release their budget priorities and amendments. We are hopeful that our proposed language regarding an increase in the Medicaid waiver service rates is include in BOTH amendments.

NOW IS THE TIME TO ACT! Contacting your local legislators about our priority issue of increasing wages for Direct Support Professionals (DSPs). We are requesting a 5% rate increase for Medicaid waiver services with the majority of that increase being passed on to increase the DSP wage.  We are also requesting FSSA file a state amendment to the Family Support Waiver to increase the budget cap to accommodate for the higher Medicaid rates.

DSP Wage Increase Talking Points

DSP Wage Increase Info Graphic

Please contact your local legislators to express your support of increasing Medicaid waiver rates and higher wages for direct support professionals.  Tell your personal story about the importance of your DSP in your life or the life of your loved one with a disability. 

So Much Fun, It’s a Crime!

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Rachael with South Bend PD Officers

By Danielle Miller, Public Relations Specialist

On December 4th, Mosaic in Northern Indiana hosted the annual Christmas party at St. Hedwig in South Bend.

As a special treat this year, the South Bend Police Department came to assist unloading vehicles and stayed to eat and dance with individuals in service.

This partnership came as a result of the ongoing community outreach between Mosaic and first responders.

Over the past few months, representatives from Mosaic have met with the Notre Dame Police Department, South Bend Police Department, South Bend Fire Department and St. Joseph County Sheriff’s Department to train first responders on the situations they could encounter when working with the intellectually disabled population.

When uniformed officers come to just hang out with the individuals, it makes them appear less intimidating to the people receiving services. These people may have anxiety or fears associated with police officers and firefighters which is especially dire when dealing with emergency situations that could arise in the future.

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Officer Knepper participating in a Mosaic dance tradition

 

This outreach comes after a South Florida police officer shot the caregiver of a man with autism this summer. As the mission statement of Mosaic states, part of our aim is to advocate for individuals living with intellectual disabilities. One way to do that is to foster understanding and a positive relationship between the intellectually disabled community and local first responders.

We are very thankful for the South Bend Police Department especially  Officers Howard, Cole, O’Blenis, Arias and Knepper who attended our Christmas party and made the night one to remember!

 

 

 

Mosaic Self-Advocacy Group One Year Later

By Danielle Miller, Public Relations Specialistself-advocates1

It has been one year since the Mosaic Self Advocates Group formed, and the group is gaining momentum. Starting with just 5 members, the group has grown to 20 people attending meetings on a regular basis.

martins-coupon-bookMost recently, members have been selling Martin’s Supermarkets coupon books as a fundraiser to pay for the two conferences they will attend. So far the group has sold almost $500 dollars’ worth of books- but to the people selling, they are also learning critical social skills.

“We went out into the community to sell the books, going door to door. Each person sold at least one. Everyone had fun being involved. We told them to state their name, where they are from and what they are selling the books for,” said Co-Advisor, Rachel Hooker.

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Chris and Laura out in the community selling coupon books

 

For their next fundraiser, they will be selling t-shirts. Right now they have two designs picked out and will take a vote to decide which one makes it to the final process.

From voting on t-shirts to voting for the next President of the United States

The group has prepared for the presidential election for quite some time. During one of their monthly meetings, election specialist Angie Troyer came to speak to the group regarding the election process. She also discussed how to vote and informed the group of their specific rights. 23 people registered to vote- including some staff and several cast their ballot for the first time ever this election!

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Rachel Hooker talking to the group about the election process

 

Earlier this year, the officers of the Mosaic Self Advocacy group were up for re-election. Elections within the group went well. All of the candidates were very informative as to why they should be elected or re-elected.

“Laura explained why keeping her position as president is best for the group. They had to speak from the heart. The self-advocacy group is important for them and becoming part of their lives. They turn to the group with issues and advice, talking openly and honestly when voicing their concerns and areas of their lives they want to improve,” said Rachel.

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Norman and Laura campaigning for President and VP

 

Rachel said the group has come a long way over the past year when it comes to understanding their rights and how issues like employment could affect their benefits and lifestyle.

A representative from Martin’s supermarkets came to speak to the group about employment opportunities and brought applications for those interested to fill out. There were a few interested applicants but most importantly those applicants asked informed questions. The questions took into account the material presented at National Conference last year.

“Someone asked about hours and pay. Someone else asked about accommodations with a wheelchair. A lot is revolving around jobs and employment at the conference this year focusing on that and we are trying to make sure to match up those who would benefit the most out of the info to go,” said Rachel.

In the self-advocate meetings, the group talks about responsibility and discipline. For example, if members do not come to meetings regularly and prepare for conference then they are not able to attend.

The November conference was held at Erskine Green. Erskine Green is a training institute for individuals with intellectual disabilities.

At the conference, participants were able to see what they can do with education and training. During the December conference in Indianapolis there will be different workshops and break-out sessions to choose from.

The conferences are very valuable but also expensive when considering travel expenses. This is why the group fundraises to help offset some of those costs. Attendees pay for their own food while traveling and they usually try to go somewhere fun like the mall so they can buy a small souvenir if they are able to.

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Members learn a lot but also have fun at conferences

 

Christ the King Lutheran church graciously donated a $1000 grant to the self-advocacy group to use toward travel expenses to the conferences allowing the possibility of more members being able to attend.

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Anne Marie, Rachel and John accepting donation from Christ the King

 

There are some exciting things to look forward to in the coming year. These include, doing a joint fundraiser with the Terre Haute chapter, starting a new bowling league and taking up a collection for the holidays and giving back to a family in need. Also Laura will be volunteering in a kindergarten classroom soon as she loves working with children.

We are happy to see all of the hard work and dedication by the members and officers of the group as well as co-advisors Rachel Hooker and John Coleman. As we move into the second year, it seems the possibilities for growth are infinite.

To receive up to date information, please visit our Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/mosaicinnorthernindiana/?pnref=lhc

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The Mosaic self-advocacy group meets at our Meaningful Day Program site once a month located at 1415 Lincolnway W Suite D Osceola, IN 46561. Or contact Rachel Hooker at 574-340-9296 or John Coleman at 574-361-5646.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Creating a Meaningful Day Through Art

By Danielle Miller, Public Relations Specialist

If you live in the Elkhart area, you may already be familiar with the downtown Art Walk. Art Walk is a collection of artists who, sponsored by local businesses, come together for an evening to showcase and sell their works.

There are four evenings a year when Art Walk is held. It is usually the second Wednesday of May, July, September and November. art-walk-poster

Members of our Community Advisory Committee mentioned the Art Walk could be a good place to get out in the community and introduce ourselves to a population who may not have heard of us before.

So we signed up for all sessions beginning in July and people who attend our day program began painting 8×11 inch canvases. A ministry of Evangel Heights United Methodist Church and Carol Robison also worked with individuals to paint 6×8 inch canvases as well.

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Mike, “Fresh Cut Grass”

The creativity and range of abilities made for some beautiful and interesting pieces. Individuals, staff and volunteers helped to name the pieces based on the artist’s personality.

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Matt, “Skateboarding”

 

Matzke’s Florist hosted our display in July and we sold over $110 worth of artwork! Every dime of the money went directly to the person in service who created the piece. Imagine the smiles when a surprise trip to Dairy Queen was announced!

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Milton is a paid artist!

 

Before the second Art Walk, Direct Support Manager, Amber Roundtree had a great idea. Medications are delivered several times a week to the Mosaic office. These medications are in unmarked white gift-like bags. Amber suggested the individuals decorate these bags as gift bags and upcycle them with little to no cost put in to the project.

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Manager Amber Roundtree showing off her upcycled bags idea

 

The bags were a hit! We displayed them at the second Art Walk when we were hosted by Secret Door Games.

By now, the creativity was contagious as not only individuals from the Meaningful Day Program were participating but also Hannah and Friends Day Program. Just about every person served by Mosaic painted a bag, canvas, picture frame or birdhouse.

Six designs were chosen to decorate the front of blank gift cards as our take-away gift at our Partners in Possibilities fundraiser. From there, someone at home office heard of the cards we created and wanted to use one of them as our National design for sympathy cards as well.

It was not only the little bit of cash the individuals earned, but also the idea that their art was appreciated as beautiful and worthy by someone else that created a proud and happy feeling. Everyone also enjoyed creating the art with paints, colored pencils, stencils and perhaps most importantly- glitter. love

Our very last Art Walk of the year was hosted at Artisan Restaurant. We chose to only bring holiday themed art. frames-tableWe will bring the remaining works to our Christmas party to give all families and staff one last opportunity to purchase their favorite pieces.

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CRM, Dean Giudice at the November Art Walk

 

Looking forward to next year, we would like to participate in a holiday bazaar. We intend to be a part of Art Walk again as we had such success. We are currently in the process of setting up an online gallery with remaining pieces for sale. Please visit: https://mosaicofnorthernindiana.wordpress.com/2016/11/15/mosaic-online-art-gallery/

to see what we have currently listed. If you see something you like, please contact Danielle or Dean at the Mosaic office at 675-0726. All artwork and bags are for sale by donation.

 

 

 

Behavioral Services Ribbon Cutting

By Danielle Miller, Public Relations Specialist

Mosaic in Northern Indiana celebrated two big milestones this Fall. We are pleased to announce the rollout of our new behavior consulting program which coincided with our 30th anniversary of serving in the Michiana community.

Our one on one support to individuals with behavioral challenges includes development of tailored, individual-focused learning, creative and engaging curriculum and a focus on social skills, relaxation techniques and positive interventions.

Behavior management includes training, supervision or assistance in appropriate expression of emotions and desires, assertiveness, acquisition of socially appropriate behaviors and the reduction of inappropriate behaviors.

We are  now offering this service though Medicaid waiver in St. Joseph and Elkhart Counties.

 

 

 

The Price is Right

By Danielle Miller, Public Relations Specialist

The individuals in the Cherry Tree Lane home had a very full day on Saturday. After going to the Notre Dame basketball game, they attended a live viewing of the Price is Right.

No one won a car but everyone had a great time!