Weekly Wrap-Up // 02

WEEKLYWRAPUP

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!

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For Your Consideration: A Look at Supported Employment

For the last few weeks, we’ve been working on a short film that takes a peek into the lives of individuals with developmental disabilities who are working and living independently. It also delves into the importance of hiring these individuals, and how, as our CEO so articulately states in the film, “An investment in a person with a disability is the same as an investment in a person without…They’re being given opportunities so that when they are integrated and walk out into the world, they walk the same way we do into all those experiences that we’ve been able to have.”FYC

And, today, we’re proud to announce the title of this short film: For Your Consideration.

During brainstorming sessions over the title, we thought it would be a good idea to take advantage of commonly-used phrases in the hiring and job application processes. We wanted to convey a sense of need that could also be married with a sense of purpose. All individuals need to work and make an income. And all individuals look for purpose in their lives. It can come in many forms: family, friendships, faith, service, art, and, of course, work. So we’re here to help make that happen, not just as a provider of supports for individuals with developmental disabilities, but as people who genuinely care about our fellow men and want their lives to be enriched by opportunity.

The truth is these individuals don’t need to believe they can achieve something. They know they can. And now it’s our turn to believe it, too.

The film is currently in the editing stage and will be submitted for review next week. Be sure to follow us on Instagram and Twitter @GCRCOfficial, and also Like us on Facebook, to keep up with our agency and receive updates about the film’s release. A few of our team members will also be attending the Business Expo at Calhoun High School on October 22nd from 10 a.m.-2:00 p.m. where we’ll be handing out a limited number of free DVD copies, so stop by and see us!

Until next time…

What She Understood

Maya Angelou Blog Post

“If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.” – Maya Angelou

Words are our most powerful weapon. With words, we can build up and strengthen; we can tear down and destroy. This is not a new idea. But it is, perhaps, an idea overlooked. How often do we actually speak with intention? How much do our words represent the goodness of our souls, rather than our fleeting emotions? What are we giving back when we open our mouths or put pen to paper? In a digital age where smart phones have overtaken the cultural landscape and shifted our perception of communication, we ask ourselves: How can this be a positive thing? It certainly isn’t going away. So what can we do to ensure healthy, meaningful connections are formed in light of this change? We don’t fight it. We use it.

We use it to share a Tweet that, in just 140 characters, brings encouragement to someone in the form of a joke, a good news article, or an uplifting blog post. We use it to send smiling photos and heart emojis and Snapchats with our best friends singing our favorite songs. We use it to tell others that they are valuable just the way they are…and they haven’t been forgotten. We become fierce with our love and our words. We just do it differently these days.

Maya Angelou understood the power of words. As a world-renowned poet, author, civil-rights activist, and former U.S. Poet Laureate, she used them to transcend the division we create amongst ourselves and bring about an awareness of shared values and beliefs. She once declared, “By demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends”We’re all people. The deaf, the blind, the hearing, the disabled, the black, the white, the heartbroken, the optimist, the thinker, the feeler. Each of us is evidence of something greater, handcrafted to represent one part of a whole body. So there is inherent value in our differences because they all work together. Or at least they can if we let them.

Angelou leaves behind a legacy of advocacy through words. And while she certainly fought for equality and justice in other ways, her greatest gift was sharing the simple truth that we are all equipped with a powerful weapon.

And it’s up to us how we want to use it.

Talking About: Supported Employment

One of the most important things for us to keep in mind for our individuals are the standards of supported employment. This is why our CEO, Mary West Barclay, is an active member of the GA Region 1 Supported Employment Committee, along with our guest on the blog today, Kate Brady, who is sharing a little about her experience during their most recent meeting:

This group convened with the mission to exceed state standards in Supported Employment services for adults receiving developmental disabilities services in the region. In-depth conversations identified challenges, barriers, and opportunities for improvement. While the Regional office works to collaborate with the State, this group of dedicated providers will engage in problem-solving activities across their 31-county region.

First in a series of activities will be an employment conference held for families. The event will be portable and offer an evening of information and resources relevant to employment. The committee will request collaboration from partners including Vocational Rehabilitation services, Social Security services, and Work Incentive Planning and Assistance projects. The event will be replicable and held in multiple locations across the region.

The group also identified employers as a key resource for advancing employment for people with developmental disabilities and as such has planned to join and present to local Chambers of Commerce. Upon the development of a PSA-style video about the merits and opportunities afforded to employers who engage in hiring employees with disabilities, this resource, also under discussion by the committee, will be distributed broadly to employers and community members.

Thank you, Kate, for visiting us today! We’re excited about the work the Supported Employment Committee is doing for our individuals and for the state of Georgia. Keep up the great work!

More about Kate:

Kate Brady, PhD ABD, has over 12 years of experience leading organizational, team, and individual change through the development and implementation of elaborate research endeavors. As Director of Research at the National Organization on Disability, Kate led the Return to Careers project investigating the career goals and support needs of veterans with PTSD and TBI, collaborated on the resulting development of NOD’s Intensive Career Transition Support Model™, and subsequently co-authored the Wounded Warrior Careers Demonstration report, which was published in 2013. Prior to NOD, Kate served as the Director of Employment Policy for Georgia’s State Developmental Disabilities Agency. She entered the field of disability employment by coordinating a U.S. DOL ODEP Customized Employment Grant designed to support people with high-impact of disability in reaching customized employment goals. In addition to this work, Kate has consulted nationally on best practices in the support of employment for people with disabilities.

Come Have “The Time of Your Life” With Us!

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Most high school students get to attend prom at least once in their lives. They spend weeks planning what they’ll wear, where they’ll have dinner, and what kind of flowers to buy. They get all dressed up in gowns and tuxedos and, years later, they can look back on that night and reminisce, hopefully about all the fun they had together.

For many of our individuals, prom was never a reality. But, now, GCRC is proud to host an annual prom so everyone can have the opportunity to feel beautiful (or handsome) and celebrate a night of fun and laughter, food and dancing! This Saturday, May 17th, we’ll be hosting our annual GCRC prom and our theme is “The Time of Your Life”. We had a wonderful time last year and the votes are being tallied for Homecoming Queen and King as I’m typing these words. We’re also excited that we’ll be announcing awards for every individual from GCRC! We invite you to come join us as we celebrate one another and the progress we’ve made as an agency this year.

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Tickets are just $8.50 per person and will go towards your dinner (which is sure to be delicious!). Doors open at 5 p.m. and close at 9 p.m. For more information, please call our office at 706-629-2987.

We hope to see you there!

Photos from GCRC prom 2013