Weekly Wrap-Up // 02

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Happy Friday! Today we’re hosting another weekly wrap-up, where periodically we share our favorite posts, articles, videos, and stories from around the web. We want to focus on the positive things that people are doing to impact their communities – whether that’s supported employment, equality for those with disabilities, giving, or speaking out for the voiceless in our society – and leave you ready for the weekend with a smile on your face. Which shouldn’t be too hard considering it’s Friday and the weekend is supposed to be GORGEOUS.

Mock CVS Store Helps Adults With Developmental Disabilities Train for Jobs

Much like our training center will do upon its completion, this store gives adults with developmental disabilities the chance to learn hands-on skills that will prepare them for working lives and greater independence. Right on!

March is National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month! 

Learn more about what this month means and why it’s so important.

5th-Graders Ditch Recess for Sign Language Club So They Can Chat With Deaf Classmate

Somebody take these kids out for ice cream, STAT.

Chick-Fil-A Has the Answer to Our Communication Problem

Chick-Fil-A has just introduced cell phone coops, cardboard boxes created for families to put their cell phones aside during meal time. And (BONUS!) if they complete the challenge, theyget free Ice Dreams. (Okay, tell the kids learning sign language they need to go to Chick-Fil-A.)

Did you like our post this week? Share it with your friends on social media using #GCRCWeeklyWrapUp! You can follow us on Twitter and Instagram @GCRCOfficial and Like us on Facebook, too. Have a great weekend!

Christmas Ball at Sage Mountain Inn

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Happy Monday friends!

On Saturday, we hosted our first ever GCRC Christmas Ball at the Sage Cottage & Mountain Inn in Adairsville. What a beautiful venue! And it was all decked out for Christmas, so we spent quite a bit of time taking photos in front of the trees and marveling over the decorations.

Close to seventy people attended the event and everyone enjoyed an evening of food, dancing, and, most importantly, lots + lots of laughs. We also sent each attendee home with a special customized ornament to commemorate the night.

We’d like to extend a special thanks to the folks at Sage Cottage for hosting us and for making our event such a special one! We appreciate all your hard work. We also want to say thank you to everyone who came out to celebrate with us! We hope you had as much fun as we did.

More pictures below:

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From the Web: Our Favorites

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The internet is a never-ending source of entertainment and amusement. It’s also a pretty great place for inspiration and encouragement, if you’re looking in the right places. So, to get your week started off right, we’ve gathered up a few of our favorite links from around the internet for your viewing pleasure. Grab your coffee and let’s get to it!

#TargetDoesItAgain: Target’s latest Halloween ad features a little girl with disabilities. Hooray for our favorite place to lose all our money!

Wanderlust: These two amazing women both have physical disabilities, but that hasn’t stopped them from traveling the world!

United Airlines Makes a Mistake…And Does Something About It: A man with cerebral palsy was left without the aisle chair he needed to access the airplane restroom. So he had to crawl there. Thankfully, United Airlines took steps to right their wrong.

Cart Fit for a Princess: A grocery store in Colorado ordered an extra-large, forward-facing cart for a little girl with cerebral palsy, and now other stores are joining in.

What are some of your favorites?

Come Join Us at Our Picnic in the Park!

Picnic in the Park Fundraiser

If you’re a woman looking for ways to help support your community, and have a fun night out while doing it, then you’re invited to our Picnic in the Park fundraiser on Saturday, September 26th!

As you know, our mission is to help those with disabilities lead fulfilled, independent lives where they can share in community and make a positive impact on the world. Picnic in the Park will help us continue to do the work we’ve been doing so well for over 40 years. Support from the people who partner with our organization has been crucial to our success, so we hope you’ll join us!

Local author Amber Lanier Nagle will be speaking at the event, and there will be music, games, and giveaways to enjoy. Tickets are only $5 and every ticket number will be entered into one of the giveaways. The fundraiser is a potluck-style event and attendees are asked to bring a quilt or blanket to sit on, as well as their favorite side dish.

We want this to feel less like a fundraiser and more like a get-together among friends. It’s important for us to continually stay connected with the people who help us do what we do. And since Picnic in the Park is a fundraiser hosted specifically for women, it is the first of its kind for us. We love hosting events for families and so many wonderful organizations in our area support us every year. But this time we want to give the women in our community a chance to take a break, enjoy an evening out, and connect with each other.

Picnic in the Park will be held from 5-7 p.m. on September 26th at the Black and Yellow Playground behind George Chambers, which is located at 1000 Highway 53 Spur in Calhoun. Tickets are available now and can be purchased by calling 404-273-8114.

For more information, please Like us on Facebook! You can also follow us on Twitter + Instagram @GCRCOfficial.

We hope to see you in September!

Gordon County Chamber Breakfast

A few weeks ago, our agency hosted the Gordon County Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Booster Breakfast. We were honored to be there and speak on behalf of the people we support on a daily basis. And the most amazing part of the event was that, by sharing our mission and, most importantly, our passion for helping individuals with disabilities lead independent lives, our community received an intimate glimpse into what this work is all about. And why it’s so incredibly important.

Mary introduced our speaker and GCRC’s Program Services Coordinator, Brandy. Having their leadership has made so much difference for our agency. It’s not an easy thing to stand up in front of a crowd and speak period, much less tell those people why – in so many words – our culture still has a lot of work to do when it comes to embracing individuals with developmental disabilities. But Mary and Brandy did it with grace and class. And it made people take notice.

Or, it could have been this rocking performance:

Either way, we are truly grateful for the opportunity to connect with our community and we look forward to all the ways – big and small – in which we can help improve the lives of those we support.

Thank you to the Gordon County Chamber of Commerce for allowing us to host this year’s Booster Breakfast. And thank you for all you do in this community!

A Visit from Shaw Industries

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Last Tuesday, a team from Shaw Industries stopped by our agency to donate their time and efforts into cleaning up our greenhouse. They spent the morning clearing it out, placing new mulch around the outside, and replacing weeds with wildflowers. They also planted new vegetables in each of the garden beds in the surrounding yard.

We want to extend a big thank you to Josh Berry and his team – Ann Williams, Audrey Hoff, Curtis Christianson, Dana Curtis, Genia Kirby, Jenni Small, Joe Mastin, and Marty Moss – for taking time out of their day to help keep our greenhouse and garden looking beautiful! We appreciate all of your hard work!

Scroll down for more pictures of the project:
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Recap: The 12th Annual SPADD Conference at Callaway Gardens

Happy Friday to you! I hope your week has been a good one.

This past Sunday, I traveled with Mary, our CEO, to Callway Gardens in Pine Mountain, GA for the 12th Annual SPADD Conference. It was the perfect time of year to visit such a beautiful, beloved place, and we had a great time. The conference was scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, so when we arrived on Sunday we walked around the Mountain Creek Inn and visited with some of the other attendees. It was a wonderful chance for me to get connected with people who have the same kind of passion we do about supporting individuals with disabilities. It seems like Mary knows just about everyone!

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On Monday, we got up bright and early for coffee and breakfast, and then we visited with the vendors, some of whom we’re already working with here at GCRC. Afterwards, Mary and I sat in on the Keynote Session, which was given by Joseph MacBeth. He was passionate about equipping direct support professionals (DSPs) with the tools they need to help individuals with disabilities make their own choices. Which seems like a no-brainer, but, unfortunately, there is still a good deal of ignorance – some of it simply a lack of knowledge and some of it an outright refusal to acknowledge the truth – about what rights these individuals should be given. Or, rather, what rights they inherently have.

“We have to allow people the dignity,” MacBeth said, “to make bad decisions.”

In other words, it’s not up to us, or to DSPs, to make their choices for them. It’s up to us to help individuals understand information, options, and consequences. And, like in any relationship, we have to trust that the people we care for will choose what is wisest.

Mary and I did have a few breaks during the conference where we were able to visit the butterfly garden and the country store. The butterfly garden is absolutely breathtaking! It’s like being in a fairytale.

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On Monday evening, during the General Session with the DD Services Panel, Mary did what Mary does best: she asked the tough questions. She told the panel that while their words and intentions were appreciated, she wasn’t hearing anything new. Their words were just rhetoric. And then she asked what the panel actually planned to do with the words they spoke.

Over the next 24 hours, I lost count of how many people approached her to say thank you for speaking up.

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My role this at SPADD was to get connected and serve on a public relations level. But, as always, there is so much more to it than just taking pictures and notes. In the end, SPADD was an opportunity for me to see what it’s like, on a personal level, to support individuals with disabilities long-term, and to experience, by proxy, how frustrating it can be for these organizations to hope for change when their own support is limited. It made me that much more thankful for Mary and for the incredible team we have at GCRC.

Until next time, I hope you have a great weekend!

Wendi

Disability Awareness Day at the Capitol!

As you’ve probably seen on our social media, a group of us from GCRC attended the George Council on Developmental Disabilities‘ 17th Annual Disability Awareness Day at our state capitol last Thursday. It was rainy and cold, but we braved the weather and got to visit with some really amazing people.

Here’s a short video of our time at the capitol. Enjoy! And we hope to see you (and the sunshine!) there in 2016.

17th Annual Disability Awareness Day

 

New Series: Weekly Wrap Up

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Happy Friday! It’s basically a frozen tundra here in Calhoun, and most everywhere else in Georgia, so grab yourself a cup of coffee and get comfortable for the first post in our new series: “Weekly Wrap Up”. Periodically, we’re going to be sharing our favorite posts, articles, videos, and stories from around the web. We want to focus on the positive things that people are doing to impact their communities – whether that’s supported employment, equality for those with disabilities, giving, or speaking out for the voiceless in our society – and leave you ready for the weekend with a smile on your face. Now if only we could make spring come early…

The Duchess of Cambridge Has an Empowering Message for Children Facing Mental Health Stigma…And For The Rest of Us

Who doesn’t love Kate? She’s classy and beautiful and, most importantly, she speaks up about issues that matter. Diana would be proud.

 

Lawmakers Look to Rein in Alternative Diplomas

We’re glad to see that members of Congress are considering the educational needs of students with disabilities on a case-by-case basis and also reviewing the impact alternative testing could have on their futures.

 

Autistic High School Student Mikey Brannigan Receives Sports Illustrated Coveted High School Athlete of the Month Award

“You can do anything you want. You have it inside you.”

 

Inspiring TED Talk from Barbara Arrowsmith on Childhood Learning Disabilities and the Neuroplasticity of the Brain

“Our brain shapes us. It makes us uniquely who we are.”

 

Like our list this week? Share it with your friends using #GCRCWeeklyWrapUp! And be sure to connect with us on Twitter and Instagram @GCRCOfficial.

Meet GCRC: Melissa Bagnoche, Quality Compliance Director

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It’s Friday again and you know what that means…another installment of our “Meet GCRC” series! Today, we’re proud to introduce you to a woman of many talents, our lovely Quality Compliance Director, Melissa Bagnoche. Melissa is involved in a number of projects and teams both here at GCRC and in a variety of community service organizations. She gives so much of herself and we are grateful for her hard work!

Hello! My name is Melissa Bagnoche and I have worked at George Chambers Resource Center since January 25th, 2011. My background is actually healthcare and I worked as a Radiologic Technologist for 10 years prior to starting my career with George Chambers Resource Center. I left Radiology because of the long commute I was making to Atlanta each work day. I decided to apply for a part-time position as a Receptionist at George Chambers Resource Center while my daughter was in school. I then became full-time as the Administrative Assistant. I am now the Quality Compliance Director. I am the Chair-Person for the Quality Improvement General Committee and also the UM/Peer Review Sub-Committee. I am the Vice-Chair for the Training Sub-Committee and the Policy & Procedures Sub-Committee. I also serve on our Board of Directors. I am a member of the Kiwanis Club of Calhoun and serve with Wendi, our Social Media & Public Relations Specialist, as a representative from George Chambers Resource Center at the Kiwanis Meetings. I honestly feel I have not only found a career that certainly has changed my life, but also a second family in the staff and the wonderful individuals we have the pleasure of serving each day. The individuals we serve literally teach me something new about life each day and inspire me to be a better person.

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Outside of work, I live in Adairsville with my husband of 25 years, Shawn. We have one beautiful 10-year old daughter named Madilyne and she is the light of both of our lives. My husband transferred with his company thirteen years ago from Terre Haute, Indiana to Cartersville, Georgia. We bought our home in Adairsville three months after the move.   have an amazing family in Indiana and Arizona that I miss dearly, but we have no plans on moving anywhere else. We are home!

If you want to connect with Melissa, you can send her an email here or follow her on Twitter.