I am a husband, father, son, brother, uncle and friend. I believe in sharing my talents and experiences by giving back to the community by giving my time to coaching, church and especially to the disability community. I truly believe that all men and women are created equally.
I had the opportunity to meet with Representative Gwen Moore in her office, along with her staff and some fellow self-advocates and advocates, sharing our thoughts on the proposed implementation of the Health and Human Services (HHS) rule on “integrated settings.” As I have written before, this is not a new rule and we are not looking at closing “sheltered workshops”. What we are looking at is a paradigm shift in how we are looking at employment options for individuals with disabilities. Individuals today want to work and be a part of their community.
In speaking with Rep. Moore, we were able to share stories of how we view employment. The Congresswoman heard from a self-advocate who has a job interview in the community coming up in the coming weeks . She heard how a parent wants his son to be able to work in the community and that he feels it is important to be a member of his community, not segregated in a facility. She heard how an individual has secured a job that pays well enough that the individual does not receive SSI benefits (still has health benefits), but if this job would be lost or the hours reduced, the individual has the ability to regain her SSI benefits without a waiting period.
One thing that we are constantly hearing about is how our Legislators are not listening to what their constituents are telling them. That they only are listening to the big money lobbyist. Well, I can tell you that there are times when our Legislators are listening to their constituents.
As a newly elected member of the Cudahy Lion’s Club, I am still waiting on the official swearing in, I thought that I would pass along a couple of events this weekend that involve your Cudahy Lion’s Club.
With the recent passing of Nelson Mandela, I came across the following quote.
"It is not a question of patronizing philanthropy towards disabled people. They do not need the patronage of the non-disabled. It is not for them to adapt to the dominant and dominating world of the so-called non-disabled. It is for us to adapt our understanding of a common humanity; to learn of the richness of how human life is diverse; to recognize the presence of disability in our human midst as an enrichment of our diversity."
[MESSAGE BY MR NELSON MANDELA TO THE CONFERENCE FOR THE DISABLED, APRIL 2004]
As you most likely already know, last night there was a house fire on Somers Avenue that destroyed the property. Two of our families lost everything. Thankfully there were no fatalities. Four of the students attend Kosciusko and one attends Cudahy High School.
Many staff and families have asked how they can help. We have been in contact with the families and they have given us sizes of clothes needed, but there will be many other items they need. We have a start on Christmas gifts through donations that were made to the community wide toy drive coordinated by Alderman Morales
If you are interested in helping, we will be collecting food, clothes or money at Kosciusko and the Administration Building. We will collect items and donations through Friday morning. During the day on Friday we will purchase a Visa gift cards from the monetary donations raised so that the family may purchase items they need.
Below are the clothing and shoe sizes:
4 year old girl 5T, shoe size unknown (maybe size 10 or 11)
5 year old boy 7/8 or M boys (likes sweat pants), he has one pair of shoe right now maybe size 11 or 12?
6th grade boy: 11/12 boys, shoe size - Mens 5-6
(dad): XL shirts, 34-36 pants
(mom): M shirts, size 9 pants, size 7 shoe
6th & 9th grade girls: same sizes as mom
Thank you for your help in supporting our students and families! If you have questions you can contact Ehren Miller or Kim Berner. Please be as generous as you can. This is an awful thing to happen to anyone especially at this time of year.
On behalf of the entire Fech Family, wishing everybody a Blessed and Merry Christmas and a Safe, Healthy and Prosperous New Year.