Giving a Voice
Monday, March 30, 2015
Forward in Faith calls us to make our voices heard by advocating for and with people who have intellectual disabilities on issues that affect their lives. To do this effectively, we must increase awareness of the impact of public policies and provide tools for advocates to take action. We must help people realize the power of their voice and support them to use it!
We must also build community connections that will lead to opportunities. Establishing partnerships in the community around issues of common concern (housing, transportation, accessibility, etc.) builds coalitions that will benefit people with intellectual disabilities. As Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful citizens can change the world; indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.”
On a personal level, we can respect the opinions and preferences of the people we support and help them to achieve their goals. Providing opportunities for self-advocates to use their voice starts with us. As people have experiences where what they think makes a difference, the power in their voices will grow.
Increasing your awareness of public policy issues impacting people with disabilities and engaging in advocacy initiatives will greatly benefit the people we support by creating effective and responsive laws and regulations. You can do this easily through Mosaic Allied Voices, a volunteer network of advocates that receive action alerts and engage their elected officials. To sign up, visit www.mosaicalliedvoices.org.
Connecting to a community resource for fun
Fridays are fun days for several of the residents of one Omaha Mosaic residence. Through a connection made by home staff member Aaron Parson, who also works at the local scuba and diving center DiVentures, the men spend a few hours on Fridays splashing, floating and playing in the pool.
“The guys are having such a great time swimming,” said Melinda Snow, Direct Support Manager. “They have barbell floaties that we can put under their knees and support their heads. This allows them to kick their legs. It’s great exercise and fun.”
One of the men was a little reluctant at first, Melinda said, only wanting to sit on the step of the pool and watch. Now he walks fully into the pool, stands along the side watching, smiling and singing. For those who use wheelchairs, the pool has a lift to help them in and out of the water.
During the swim time, the men each have a staff member with them. DiVentures charges the men a nominal $5 fee to swim, but does not charge anything for accompanying staff.
A tactic of Mosaic 2.0 is to develop partnerships within the community to help people find life-enhancing activities. Good job, Aaron, in creating that connection.
In the photos, Tommie Murry (top), Robin Brus, Jack Winebrenner, Pagie Wehrli (middle), and Mark Schwartz and Angie Champion (bottom) enjoy their time at DiVentures. Click on photos for full-size images.
(Thanks to Kelli Joseph, Resource Development Manager at Mosaic in Omaha, for submitting this story.)
Fill in the blank: Together we are ________.
March is National Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month and Mosaic’s theme is “Together we are __________.” You fill in the blank.
Here are some ideas that were provided by one agency:
- Achieving Dreams
Here are some ideas that came from Rejoicing Spirits host site leaders:
- Able to see more
- Better at laughing
What would you say? “Together we are __________.”
If you would like to follow the discussion on Facebook, check out Facebook.com/mosaicpossible and Facebook.com/rejoicingspirits.
What do you think? Mosaic wants to know.
Thursday, March 12, 2015
We’ve misplaced our crystal ball and we don’t have anyone on staff who reads minds, so we need your help. That’s why we’re asking every employee to complete the 2015 employee survey.
You’ll be asked to respond to statements like:
- My work environment (i.e. equipment, space, facilities, etc.) enables me to be as productive as I can be.
- Rules and policies are implemented and enforced fairly in this organization.
- I like my job at this organization.
We want to find out what Mosaic can do or should continue doing to be a better employer. The last survey was done in 2013 and Mosaic made a number of changes based on the feedback, such as the development of new supervisory training, improved communications through S-comms and newsletters, and more. It is important that employees respond – your feedback matters!
Don’t forget that you can win a prize by participating. Everyone who completes the survey will be eligible to win a Fire tablet, Roku or Fitbit. Six winners will be selected randomly by SilverStone Group. Prizes will also be awarded to the agencies that have the highest participation rate.
Remember that your feedback remains anonymous. The survey information Mosaic receives from the SilverStone Group is not connected to individual employees.
Public speaking success first time out
Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015
Speaking in public for the first time is rarely easy. But Ward Murphy, served by Mosaic in Garden City (Kansas) for 15 years, did a great job back in January when he spoke to nearly 70 people at a Garden City Chamber of Commerce breakfast.
Ward told the group how, because of Mosaic’s support, he has been successful in his job of 13 years working in the cafeteria of the Garden City Community College. He works for Great Western Dining, which also provides catering services. In addition to talking about Mosaic supports and his job, Ward made a plug for his employer.
“If you need catering,” Ward said, “call my boss!”
David Jasper, Executive Director, also spoke at the event, sharing information about Mosaic services.
Since his debut as a public speaker, Ward has spoken at a Discover the Possibilities in Garden City. Great Western has also become a part of Discover the Possibilities events, as a sponsor providing lunch.