Monday, October 05, 2015
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Employee is speech coach for Best Buddies conference

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Elizabeth Golden, Quality Assurance Coordinator at Mosaic in Northern Indiana, served as a speech coach at the 26th Annual Best Buddies International Leadership Conference last July in Bloomington, Ind.  More than 2,100 people from around the world attended the conference.
As a speech coach, Elizabeth works one-on-one with Buddy Ambassadors to provide training on how to improve their public speaking skills and become better self-advocates in order to be agents of change.  It was Elizabeth’s sixth consecutive year as a speech coach and, this year, she worked with the novice international buddy participants from Egypt, Panama, Columbia, Spain, and Hong Kong.
Founded by Anthony Kennedy Shriver, Best Buddies is a nonprofit organization with programs in each of the 50 states and more than 50 countries around the world.  It is dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment, and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Elizabeth is also involved with the Best Buddies Citizens program in Indianapolis where she lives and is matched in a one-to-one year-round friendship with her buddy, Jason.  She said one of their favorite activities to do together is to spot “accessibility fails” in the community to help educate businesses on how to minimize physical barriers that inhibit the inclusion of people with disabilities.  
In the photo, Elizabeth is shows with participants Egypt Aly Essam (Left) and Yassin Hassan (right) from Cairo, Eqypt.  Click image for full-size version.


Fall was the time for ingathering

Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015Ingathering

Set to coincide with the fall harvest and canning season, Martin Luther Home from its earliest days relied on the annual ingathering to stock the shelves of its pantry. In 1932, the Sunshine newsletter mentioned the practice as already several years old: “The congregations in and around Sterling are again gathering truckloads of food products, bedding and clothing, etc., for this Home. That is a great help and we wish to thank all those givers and wish them God's richest blessing.”

Today’s throwback Thursday photo shows pantry shelves stocked with newly canned foods at the Martin Luther Home.
In 1990, at an MLH 75th Anniversary Reunion in Sterling, Sally Montgomery, a long-time MLH employee, talked with workers from the early days. "

The ladies were talking about how the ingathering was such a major thing because they didn't have any funding,” she said.  
That helped Montgomery understand the origins of what she experienced as a home manager in Colorado in the 1980s. She remembers receiving boxes of items, some helpful and some odd (like liquid soap that had been made from slivers of soap people saved), that came because of the ingathering.

Henry Brandt, who later became a Martin Luther Home board member, was first a volunteer assisting with the ingathering. 

“Martin Luther Home used to collect food and clothing all over the Midwest,” he said. “Probably the first thing I ever did with them was take my truck from the farm and go around Colorado, Kansas and Nebraska picking up from churches food and clothing and bringing it back.”

Click image for full-size version.

Worth it!

Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015

WorthItMosaic is in a world of change and Stephen Shaughnessy, Executive Director of Mosaic in Denver, recently shared that he and his staff created a mantra to remind them that transformation and change does not come without challenges.  That mantra?  “Worth it!”

Leading a devotion at the Mosaic Leadership Event in early September, Stephen shared stories of change in Denver, such as the decision to close their last group home and transition people into other services.  It was hard and there was uncertainty.  One gentleman, Martin, had been served by Mosaic for 20 years and his family considered other providers in light of the decision.  But now, in a setting where his own mother provides for him, he is happy and proud.  “Worth it!”, Stephen said, just like the other examples he shared. Martin in DENCO

Mosaic is nearly half-way through the three-year Mosaic 2.0 strategic plan, which lays the groundwork for the vision of Forward in Faith. It is a time of change, a time of transformation.  Quoting theologian Richard Rohr, Stephen said, “Grace will lead us into fears and voids, and grace will fill us, if we are willing to stay in the void.”

There will be challenges as we continue to create the ways we work together as One Mosaic.  But the reward – better lives for the people we serve – will be “worth it!”

The photo shows Martin, his mother Mary, and sister Kathleen. Click image for full-size version.

Monnie from Des Moines goes viral!

Monday, Sept. 28, 2015Monnie wreaths

Monnie Hall has appeared in several Mosaic videos over the years including our children’s video, “Duncan’s New Neighbors,” and our centennial video, “Perfect Day.”  Now, a video by a local Des Moines television station about Monnie’s wreath business has gone viral.

In August, CBS affiliate KCCI carried a news story about Monnie titled “Man’s small business focuses on ability, not disability.”  Watch the video here.

The story was picked up by  The site has a mission to “highlight the strength, joy and beauty in disability and disease by featuring real life stories from people … We want to de-stigmatize disability and disease and show people they’re not alone in whatever they’re going through.”  View TheMighty information on Monnie here.

According to Brittney Ledford, Public Relations Specialist at Mosaic in Des Moines, within the first couple of days on, Monnie’s story was shared more than 300 times and received more than 1,200 likes on TheMIghty’s Facebook page.

Way to go, Monnie! 

To learn about Monnie’s wreaths, visit his site.

Click on image for full-size version.

Playing (Buddy) Ball in Kansas

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The Buddy Program – known as Buddy Ball – in Coffeyville, Kansas helps people with disabilities participate in several sports by partnering with an adult buddy to assist with skills as needed.  Thanks to Mosaic’s nomination of the program, the Coffeyville Recreation Commission will receive InterHab’s 2015 Kansas Inclusive Communities Award next month. Buddy Ball 4 SMALL

“The people we serve and their families have enjoyed the buddy program for many years,” said Leslie Lackamp, Executive Director of Mosaic in Southeast Kansas.  “Their commitment to individuals with disabilities is outstanding and that is the reason they are receiving an award.  Nominating them for this recognition was an honor.”

A number of people served by Mosaic participate in Buddy Ball, enabling them to bowl and play baseball, volleyball, and basketball.  In addition to sports opportunities, participants look forward to hanging out with teammates at the summer, fall and winter dances and receiving recognition at their annual awards ceremony.

Buddy Ball 3 SMALLJaime Grant, Special Events and Aquatics Coordinator for the Coffeyville Recreation Commission was the first to be notified that their department was receiving the award.

“We were excited and surprised to get the call that we were being recognized with an award,” said Grant. “We don’t do it to get recognition. Seeing the smiles on the faces of the players is reward enough.”

Grant volunteered as a buddy in the late 1990s when the program first began and has seen first-hand, the positive effect Buddy Ball has had on the entire community. “The buddy program lets people know that the participants are just like everyone else. It has truly brought our community together and I am always meeting new people who want to volunteer,” she says.

InterHab is an advocacy organization for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Kansas. 

Photos: Becky Crites receives some help to quickly get to first base.  Vicky Tillinghast and Michael Dobson are enjoying playing basketball.  Aubrey Cauley is ready to swing.  Click image for a full-size version.

Thanks to Sarah Runyon, Community Relations Manager, for contributing the photos and information.

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