Wednesday, May 27, 2015
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Josh meets his idol

Wednesday, May 27, 2105Josh and Emmitt

When Emmitt Smith, former Dallas Cowboys player, came to San Angelo last month as a guest speaker for a fundraiser, a Mosaic case manager had one question for Community Relations Manager Ami Flint: Can she arrange for Josh Huckabee to attend? Josh lives in a Mosaic home and is a huge Cowboys fan.

"He would absolutely love to see Emmitt Smith when he is here," she said. "Do you think you can make it happen for him?"

Ami said she’d work on it.

A few days later, a Mosaic donor (who also employs Ami’s husband), invited the couple to sit at his table for the fundraiser. Ami told the donor about Josh and asked him if he had an extra seat available. The donor responded that he’d “be honored” to have Josh join them.

Josh was able to attend a sponsors’ reception and meet Emmitt in person.

“He was so excited!” Ami said. “While there, a line formed to have pictures taken with Emmitt. Josh's excitement grew even more as he tried to figure out what he'd say to Emmitt when he got to meet him.

“Finally, it was Josh's turn. I stood back, and let Josh have his time with Emmitt. After he had his picture taken, I asked him what he decided to say. ‘I asked him if the play of the last game of the season was called correctly (Emmitt said it wasn't), and I asked him if the Cowboys were going to the Super Bowl (Emmitt said yes).'”

Ami and Josh then attended the luncheon with the donor who provided the opportunity.

“Josh left literally beaming,” Ami said. “While he had one of the best days of his life getting to meet his idol, I had a pretty amazing day watching it happen.”

Click on the photo for a full-sized photo.


Five Mosaic employees honored by ANCOR

2015 ANCOR DSP BannerFriday, May 22, 2015

Mosaic employees were chosen as Direct Support Professional of the Year for 2015 in five states. They are: Kim Pettela (Mosaic in Connecticut); Evans Omanga (Mosaic in Delaware); Liz Pagel (Mosaic in Macomb, Illinois); Sharon Teets (Mosaic in Central Nebraska); and Latasha Love (Mosaic in Waco, Texas).

Kim’s nomination noted her “unwavering commitment” to help someone she served through his two-year losing battle with stomach cancer. She was with him every step of the way, through each doctor visit, treatment, and surgery. She was even his end-of-life advocate to ensure his desire to not be on life support was honored.

Evan was honored for being a strong advocate for people served. When one person’s health was declining after a surgery, family and hospital staff were ready to consign him to a long-term care facility. Evans advocated taking him home to a familiar environment, where he was placed on hospice. Within six weeks, the man flourished and hospice services were canceled.

Liz finds creative ways to overcome barriers and help people integrate into community activities. Taking a group of eight people to the State Fair was not a challenge for Liz. She also helps people participate in community gardens and crafts, and turns every trip – even something as mundane as a haircut – into an adventure for the people she serves.

Sharon creates bonds with the two men she supports, and lets them know she will listen to their struggles and concerns. When she realized they love all things Native American and Western, she helped them decorate their home in that artwork. She also helped them create an outdoor retreat for relaxation and even helped them find a suitably ‘manly’ moose for their Christmas décor.

Latasha (known as Lele) supports some of the local agency’s most ‘behaviorally challenged’ individuals. A local special education teacher called her a “nurturing authority,” noting Lele’s ability to always calm the people she supports if they have an outburst. He said he takes comfort knowing the students go home to someone like her every day.

For a full-size image of the ANCOR congratulations ad, click on the image.

Using New Technology to Solve an Old Problem

Monday, May 18, 2015Shoe smart sole

Robert Prine, who receives services from Mosaic in Liberal (Kansas), likes to go for walks. When he is sitting outside his apartment, sometimes the mood strikes and he’ll take off, maybe heading to Walmart or somewhere else. Because his street safety skills are not top notch, his wandering usually brings out a search party, which has on occasion even included local police.

The staff who support him put their heads together to solve this problem. They wanted Robert to have his enjoyable time outside his apartment, but wanted to keep him safe also. Searching the internet for ideas, one staff member found a solution that would keep Robert safe and allow him independence -- Smart Soles.

A Smart Sole is wearable GPS tracking technology that inserts into a shoe. Using an app on a smart phone or tablet, someone is notified whenever the person wearing the shoes wanders a designated distance away.

Even though the soles have to be charged every two days, Robert loves the idea that his shoes are “Smart,” – and that his life has not changed one bit. The staff love that it takes four minutes or less to locate Robert, which enables them to keep him safe and away from any busy street.

According to the staff in Liberal, the cost is $299 to buy the soles and a $30 per month monitoring fee. For more information on technology solutions available today, contact Kim White (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

It’s not rocket science, but it’s fun!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015ScienceClub1

Mosaic in Southeast Texas has a Science Club that meets every Thursday in the Day Service Center. People supported by Mosaic are given the opportunity to learn basic scientific concepts through entertaining projects.

The club is hosted by Allison Gilmore, a senior at Texas A&M University and Mosaic intern. Recently, participants created foam from shaving cream, baking soda and vinegar, to learn about the concepts of molecules and polar and non-polar bonds. The project was successful – and fun.

“The club is so popular with the individuals we serve that they wanted to continue the club next fall when our student interns return to Texas A&M University,” said Deborah Burch, Community Relations Manager. “The individuals learned about the hypothesis of each project -- like if the project would work or not, they learned that the hypothesis was an educated guess or premise. It was so much fun."

Deborah Burch, along with Sarah Benkendorfer, an intern from Texas A&M, are working on a packet/pamphlet of projects used this year. Contact Deborah (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) for more information.

Click on the image for a full-size photo.

Dakota Johns speaks at ANCOR conference

Dakota Johns at ANCORThursday, May 14, 2015

Dakota Johns, who receives services from Mosaic in Arizona, was one of the speakers at last week’s ANCOR conference in Virginia. In a talk titled, “Person-Centered Services: A Meaningful Life Full of Possibilities,” Dakota captivated the crowd with his personal story, which includes achievements such as running his own pet care business and working as an inspirational speaker. He also spoke about the importance of having the right supports for success.

One conference attendee blogged about his talk. You can read her account here.

Dakota has spoken at Mosaic gatherings in the past. He is also a member of the sustainable funding team in Arizona. Along with Mark Matulka, Mosaic’s Governmental Affairs Director, Dakota made a visit to Arizona Representative Trent Frank’s office. They also spent some down time visiting the Lincoln Memorial (which knocked an item off of Dakota’s bucket list), the World War II Memorial and other sites. His mother Gina accompanied Dakota on the trip, and the two of them were able to tour the White House and Capitol.

A sophomore at Grand Canyon University, he majors in communications and minors in video production. Dakota's long-term goals include becoming a sports broadcaster and working as a professional keynote speaker. He is involved with Best Buddies, Special Olympics and is working toward his Eagle Scout Award.

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