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Mission Moment: Summer LIFE

Summer LIFE ( Living Independently Finding Enrichment) is a “crash course” for young adults (ages 18-26) with intellectual and developmental disabilities, in learning how to live independently. A specially designed four-week course allows Summer LIFE participants to experience living on their own.

Throughout the four weeks they participate in different trainings and activities that help develop independent living skills such as cooking, budgeting and healthy lifestyle choices. In this month’s Mission Moment, meet Emily, Miguel and Patrick as they share their Summer LIFE experience with us.

 Miguel Sanchez

Miguel Sanchez

 

 

 

 

 

 

What did you enjoy most about Summer LIFE?
It was fun and exciting to do all the different activities and events.

What was your favorite activity/workshop?
Learning how to budget and swimming in the pool.

What skills did you learn?
How to be independent and budget my money.

How did you feel being away from home?
It was very exciting!

What will you miss about Summer LIFE?
Having my own apartment and my roommates.

 

Patrick McFeely

Patrick McFeely_cropped

 

 

 

 

 

 

What did you enjoy most about Summer LIFE? Hanging out and having fun with my friends, swimming in the pool, playing basketball and playing pool in the clubhouse.

What was your favorite activity/workshop?
Grocery shopping.

What skills did you learn?
I learned how to clean my room and the kitchen, how to do laundry and how to load the dishwasher and cook.

How did you feel being away from home?
I was very happy and I loved living on my own in my own apartment.

What will you miss about Summer LIFE?
Talking to my house mentor, Wes, and all of my friends.

 Emily DeLisle

Emily DeLisle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What did you enjoy most about Summer LIFE?

Cooking meals for me and my roommate.

What was your favorite activity/workshop?
Going to Sweet Pete’s Downtown.

What skills did you learn?
How to budget and how to get out of my apartment if there is a fire.

How did you feel being away from home?
Good! It made me feel independent.

What will you miss about Summer LIFE?
My friends and my housing mentor, Karen.

 

For more information on our Summer LIFE Program, Click here to visit the official Summer LIFE page on our website.

 

Multi-Sensory Room for Discover Life

Arc Jacksonville employee, Ina Martin created a multi-sensory room to help increase cognitive and physical stimulation for participants in the Discover Life program at the Westside.

Sensory rooms are used as a form of therapy to help improve and develop social and cognitive skills. Sensory Rooms were developed in the Netherlands in the 1970s and are more commonly known as Snoezelen Rooms.

While multi-sensory rooms can vary in size and complexity, the rooms are designed to stimulate a person’s senses in a variety of experiential ways, ranging from calm and reflective to heightened and excitable. The idea of a multi-sensory room is to explore sensory stimuli in a safe and structured environment. Examples of objects that may be included are: flashing lights, soothing music, textured objects and colored walls.

“I think it’s helping the individuals because they enjoy the different sensory items,” said Martin. “It gives them quiet time if they need it.”

Martin plans to continue adding items to the room and working with staff to come up with even more interactive ideas for the multi-sensory room.

The items below are included in the Westside’s multi-sensory room.

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  • Textile Box – The textile box is full of small objects with a variety of textures and includes items such as feathers, pom poms and squishy balls.
  • Calming Bottles- These bottles are filled with different liquids, beads and glitter used as visual stimuli to evoke a calm and peaceful feeling
  • Miscellaneous Items – Items consisting of different textures and colors used for visual and cognitive stimulation
  • Magnetic Balls- Individuals roll magnetic balls between their hands as a method for calming and relaxation.
  • Green Pillow- This handcrafted pillow is designed to be soft and huggable and is used as a calming aid.
  • Tent- The tent provides individuals a quiet space to sit, relax and have time to themselves.
  • Multi-Colored Lights- These lights provide visual stimulation, which can be both calming and relaxing to watch.
  • Texture Wall- Several textures have been framed and hung on the wall. The textures include: burlap, sand paper, black silky material, soft white material, bubble wrap and a material with ripples in it.

 

Information gathered for this article came from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snoezelen 

Transform Abilities: Transforming Perceptions

 

IMG_8507The Arc Jacksonville’s Transform Abilities program has taken the popular up-cycling trend and used it as a means to provide an opportunity for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and/or mental health concerns to develop job skills while expressing their creativity.

Through this program, participants transform recycled and discarded items into functional and unique furniture and décor pieces. Throughout each step of the process, participants work hands-on with volunteers to bring their vision to life. The end result is beautiful, unique pieces of furniture and décor built with passion.

“The process is worth witnessing and investing in, whether it’s through time or money,” said William Adams, MS, Vice President, Mental Health.

Adams created Transform Abilities, first introduced as a program in 2013 at the agency’s Arc After Dark fundraising event. Since its debut, Transform Abilities has showcased items at the Jacksonville Home and Patio Show in 2014 and 2015 as a show feature and was chosen as a nonprofit partner for the Pratt Guys Grand Opening Celebration in April 2015.

The goal of Transform Abilities is to become a micro-enterprise, where adults with I/DD and/or mental health concerns can gain new skill sets and earn a fair, competitive wage while showcasing their creativity and talents. Adams hopes to create more community partnerships with local businesses as the program grows.IMG_8555

Above all, the program helps to transform the perceptions about the skill sets and capabilities of adults with I/DD and/or mental health diagnoses. Transform Abilities serves as a venue for the community to see an often underestimated population creating something unexpected.

“As we’re taking discarded pieces and creating something new, it parallels what we want to do for people with disabilities,” said Adams. “Because adults with I/DD are often a marginalized population, we want to be able to use Transform Abilities to showcase their skill sets to both potential employers and the community.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Employment Updates

Congratulations to Ashley, Kim, Patricia and James on their new jobs! Throughout May and June they have been starting their new jobs at Jax Kitchen, Kilwins, Baptist Medical Center and Community Outreach. We are proud that these local businesses have recognized the dedication and hardworking nature of individuals with disabilities and are providing community-based employment opportunities.

 

Ashley_JaxKitchensAshley – Jax Kitchen

Ashley joined Jax Kitchen as a food packaging associate for Kilwins in May. She is responsible for cutting, weighing and wrapping caramel chews, folding boxes, packing different candies, putting labels and ingredients stickers on items and preparing them to be displayed and sold at Kilwins. Her Supervisor, David, is excited to watch Ashley increase her skills and expand her responsibilities as she becomes more comfortable in her position.

 

 

20150612_125229Patricia – Baptist Medical Center

Patricia has been working in the Food and Nutrition Department at Baptist Medical Center as a Food Service Associate since April. She performs a variety of porter tasks each day and seeks out more work whenever necessary.  Patricia has assimilated into her new employment environment and is gaining several natural supports.  She is very happy at her new job and “loves working in a hospital.”

 

 

 

20150611_101944James – Community Health Outreach

James has been working at Community Health Outreach as a janitor since May. He is responsible for cleaning the new dental/medical building that was built as part of the Apple Project two days a week.

 

 

 

 

Kim_KilwinsKim – Kilwins

Kim joined the Kilwins team in the beginning of June as a retail associate. Kim’s main responsibility is to provide candy samples to customers. Her big smile and outgoing nature draws customers in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mission Moment: Life Skills

This month’s mission moment focuses on participants from the Life Skills program. Offered at both Westside and Downtown locations, the program assists adults with I/DD in performing daily living routines. The program seeks to prepare participants to live as independently as possible. Daily activities are centered around helping each participant accomplish their individual goals and equipping them to achieve their full potential in community life.

Joshua Welch

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How long have you been a part of the Life Skills program: Since October 2014

What do you like about Life Skills: I enjoy working in the workshop, Zumba class and talking to my friends.

What have you learned from the program: How to communicate better and how to follow a schedule.

What are some of your hobbies: Babysitting my niece and watching TV. Family Feud is my favorite show.

How has Life Skills helped to make your life better: I have better social skills

Because of The Arc…I am learning skills that help make me more independent.

Charles Burton 

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How long have you been a part of the Life Skills program: Since September 2011.

What do you like about Life Skills: I enjoy going to groups and being able to talk about my life. I also enjoy arts and crafts activities.

What have you learned from the program: I’m better at communicating with others.

What are some of your hobbies: I like to watch Judge Judy and help my caregiver with cooking.

How has Life Skills helped to make your life better: It’s made me a better person.

Because of The Arc…I’ve made friends

Maroon Kowkabany

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How long have you been a part of the Life Skills program:  Since September 2000.

What do you like about Life Skills: I like everyone who’s a part of the Life Skills program.

What have you learned from the program: I’ve learned how to read better.

What are some of your hobbies:  I listen to my radio and watch TV.

How has Life Skills helped to make your life better:  Life skills has helped improve my life by learning how to read and learning how to use the microwave to heat up my food.  The staff teaches me how to read everyday.

Because of The Arc…I can put puzzles together and I am a better listener.

Shanyea Hicken

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How long have you been a part of the Life Skills program:  Since March 2012.

What do you like about Life Skills: Being able to see my friends.

What have you learned from the program: How to keep my cool and keep calm.

What are some of your hobbies: I listen to music, especially Justin Bieber.

How has Life Skills helped to make your life better:  It has helped me feel better about myself     and reach my goals.

Because of The Arc…I have extended, loving family.

Vote for Gary McMichael as The Arc Jacksonville’s Good Guy!

Mike Davidson Ford’s

Give to the Good Guys contest

collage Gary and Jim Edited

The Arc Jacksonville is excited to participate in Mike Davidson Ford’s Give to the Good Guys contest where the agency is eligible to win cash and media prizes. As part of the contest we have selected Gary McMichael as our “good guy” to represent the agency in honor of his 30 years of service.

We’re asking that you vote for Gary to not only support him and his outstanding work with The Arc Jacksonville, but to support our agency as a whole.

The three nonprofits with the most votes for their nominated good guy or gal will receive a total of $5,000 combined in donated cash and media prizes. Voting starts on June 1st and ends July 3rd. You can vote once per email address. Winners will be announced in July 2015.

Please be sure to visit ivotetogive.com, spread the word and vote for Gary McMichael as The Arc Jacksonville’s Good Guy!

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Mission Moment: PSR

In honor of Mental Health Awareness month, this mission moment feature includes participants from our PSR program. Psychosocial Rehabilitation (PSR) is a Medicaid funded program for adults with mental health needs. This program assists participants with the goal of reintegrating into the community. The participants that attend PSR are diverse in their cognitive ability, level of independence, and background. Participants learn to cope with the symptoms they experience so they can remain stable and become more independent. People with mental health concerns often experience stigma from society and even their own families. PSR provides a source of support and encouragement to participants while teaching them to self-advocate for their needs.

Larry Gaines (Westside PSR)

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How long have you been a part of PSR: 4 years.

What do you enjoy about the PSR program: Talking to my friends, helping other people and playing dominos.

What have you learned from PSR: How to communicate better with my friends.

How has PSR helped to make your life better: Being around other people makes me feel better. I don’t feel alone because I have friends here.

 

What do you do in your free time: Cleaning up, washing dishes, helping around the house and going out to eat at Golden Coral or the Chinese buffet.

“Because of The Arc….”  I have friends.

 

Katrena Iannotti (Westside PSR)

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How long have you been a part of PSR: A couple of months.

What do you enjoy about the PSR program: It keeps me busy. I like doing the hangers and keeping other people in good spirits.

What have you learned from PSR: I’ve improved my reading skills.  I’m thankful when people take the time to help me out with it.

How has PSR helped to make your life better: I feel like I’m part of a family now. They’ve adopted me and I enjoy being here because I get along with everybody.

What do you do in your free time: I watch my detective programs and do word search puzzles. I like to go bowling, cook dinner, do laundry and visit my mom when I can.

“Because of The Arc..” I am happy to be here and I’ve made friends.

Ikeya Jonier   (Downtown PSR)

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How long have you been a part of PSR: September 2014

What do you enjoy about the PSR program: Working and having fun with my friends.

What have you learned from PSR:  How to be independent and skills needed to earn money.

How has PSR helped to make your life better: They’re helping me reach my goals

What do you do in your free time: I like to go outside, exercise and watch movies. I also enjoy hula-hooping and jump rope.

“Because of The Arc..” I am happy and enjoy doing work with my friends.

Theresa Jones (Downtown PSR)

How long have you been a part of PSR:  February 2015

What do you enjoy about the PSR program: I enjoy the groups because each day we do something different and learn about various skills. At The Arc everyone is treated equally.

What have you learned from PSR: Communication skills, making positive and healthy choices, dealing with my emotions properly and conflict management. I’ve become more considerate of others.

How has PSR helped to make your life better: Before I came to The Arc Jacksonville I was depressed, but they really helped me. I’ve learned how to take better care of myself. The people here are helpful. I’m able to focus on more positive things because of the positive people here at The Arc.

What do you do in your free time: I mostly cook and watch classic movie and TV shows. I really enjoy karate and western shows.

“Because of The Arc..” I am a better and caring person. I now know where I’m going in life.

Mission Moment: On Campus Transition

Students from The Arc Jacksonville’s On Campus Transition Program (OCT) at The University of North Florida are interviewed for this month’s Mission Moment. Our OCT program serves young adults 18 and older who have completed high school course work.  The program’s focus is on academic enhancement, career development, university life, health/personal growth, independence and community life. Students are encouraged to become self-advocates while enjoying the college experience.

Maggie Knause

Maggie Knause

How long have you been a part of the OCT program: 3 years

What have you learned since being a student in the OCT program: I’ve learned how to make new friends.

What do you enjoy most about OCT: Being able to go to the game room on campus.

What do you like to do in your free time: Hanging out at LGBT (a club at UNF) where I feel comfortable and many of my friends are there as well.

How has OCT helped make your life better: I’ve been able to get better grades, more freedom and independence.

What are your plans beyond completion of the OCT program: I would like to work at Bealls or as a Police Dispatcher.

 Johnny Creatura

Johnny Creatura

How long have you been a part of the OCT program:1 year

What have you learned since being a student in the OCT program: I’ve learned how to do more things on my own, how to be accountable for my classes and more focused on what I’m doing.

What do you enjoy most about OCT: Being able to meet new people, both in the OCT program and outside of the OCT program.

What do you like to do in your free time: I hang out with my friends in the game room on campus.

How has OCT helped make your life better: I’m more independent. I’ve learned how to do things on my own. I’ve also learned about skills to get a job.

What are your plans for after you’ve completed the OCT program: I plan to work  hands-on with animals.

Gentry Riner

Gentry Riner

How long have you been a part of the OCT program: 2 years

What have you learned since being a student in the OCT program: I live on my own and do my own thing.

What do you enjoy most about OCT: Being around the different people and learning to be more independent.

What do you like to do in your free time: I like to do puzzles and watch TV.

How has OCT helped make your life better: It’s helped me gain more freedom and independence.

What are your plans beyond completion of the OCT program: I plan to find a permanent job and maybe live independently.

 We would  like to congratulate our recent OCT graduates: Andy Cox, Cara Stieglitz, Hayley Hess, Lamar Thompson, Nathaniel Brackett and Sean Hall. The Arc Jacksonville wishes you much success on future endeavours.

 

 

 

 

 

Fresh Faces at The Arc Jacksonville

If you’ve visited the Arc Jacksonville recently then you may have noticed a few new faces. The Arc Jacksonville has added six new members to our team since December. Each person brings experience and enthusiasm for our mission. We are excited to have them on board.

Denise Torres, Advocacy Specialist

Denise T.

Denise joined the Advocacy Department in March 2015. Before joining The Arc Jacksonville, Denise worked as a disability case manager for Social Security. Denise brings a wealth of knowledge and personal experience to the team.  She has a son with an intellectual disability. He currently lives at The District on Kernan and has worked at Publix for six years. She also has a daughter who’s a senior at The University of North Florida. Denise can be reached at dtorries@arcjacksonville.org

 

Katie Shaneyfelt, Volunteer Program Manager

Katie S.

Katie joined The Arc Jacksonville as the Volunteer Program Manager through funding provided by the Volunteer Florida Volunteer Generation Grant. Katie was born and raised in Jacksonville and is currently attending Florida State College at Jacksonville to study animation and film. A long-standing volunteer at Club Arc, Katie is passionate about the mission and vision of The Arc Jacksonville. Katie will focus on recruiting volunteers and managing Club Arc. She can be reached at kshaneyfelt@arcjacksonville.org

 

Frantz Damas, Volunteer Coordinator

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Frantz joined the team early in March as the Volunteer Coordinator through the AmeriCorps VISTA program. Frantz is from Haiti and is fluent in English, Creole and French. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Public Safety Management at FSCJ and currently attends UNF pursuing a master’s degree in Public Administration. Frantz’s focus is on developing partnerships with public, private and other nonprofit organizations to develop a stronger volunteer base at The Arc Jacksonville. Frantz can be reached at fdamas@arcjacksonville.org

 

 

Kelly Brenner, AmeriCorps Program Director

Kelly B.

Kelly joined The Arc Jacksonville in February as the AmeriCorps Program Director. She grew up in the Tampa Bay area and is a graduate of University of Central Florida. Kelly has a background in staff and volunteer management, advocating for at-risk children and individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. In her free time, Kelly enjoys drawing, painting and writing. Kelly can be reached at kbrenner@arcjacksonville.org

 

 

Marinela Lutaj, Bachelor’s Level Practitioner

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Marinela joined the Mental Health Department in December 2014 as a Bachelor’s Level Practitioner. Originally from Albania, she loves learning about new cultures, reading, writing and organizing. Marinela cares deeply about the well-being of people and is excited that The Arc Jacksonville gives her the opportunity to really help people. 

 

 

Shannon Griffin, Program Coordinator

Shannon Griffin -OCT

Shannon joined the Arc Jacksonville’s On Campus Transition program as a Program Coordinator. She is a Jacksonville native and recent graduate of the University of North Florida with a degree in Exceptional Student Education. She is currently earning her master’s degree in Exceptional Student Education with a concentration in Disability Services. Shannon is passionate about working with adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and looks forward to working with students at the OCT Program. Shannon can be reached at sgriffin@arcjacksonville.org

March Mission Moment

This month’s Mission Moment focuses on three residents in The Arc Jacksonville group homes. Group homes are perfect for individuals looking to live independently with some assistance from staff, while also building social skills and learning to live among their peers. Residents work with staff to help achieve their personal goals and strengthen their independent living skills.

Read below to see how Carol, Timothy and Ronald have flourished while living in their group homes.

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Carol Rodelli – Grove House Resident

When Carol moved into Grove House she was shy and struggled to make daily decisions. After much practice and hard work over the years, her communication and socialization skills have improved. Carol is now able to make decisions on where she would like to eat and what color to paint her room. Carol has increased her level of independence by taking charge of her medication regime and learning more about each pill. During the day Carol attends the Westside ADT Program where she does contract work and loves to see the staff and her friends.

 Q&A with Carol:

How long have you lived at Grove House: Since Grove House opened in 2009.

What do you enjoy most about Grove House: I enjoy going on trips with my peers and staff.

What have you learned since living at Grove House: I’ve become better at taking my medication on my own. I now know the colors and names of each pill I’m supposed to take.

What is your favorite thing to do: Going out to eat.

 

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Timothy Davis – Kaden Road Resident

When Timothy first came to the Kaden Road group home in May 2005, he wasn’t very social. He spent more time in his room than with his housemates and group home staff.  In 2011, Timothy was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, a degenerative eye disease that will cause him to become legally blind. This diagnoses changed Timothy’s perspective, and he became eager to increase his independent living skills.  By using his other senses such as touch and sound, he’s learned to recognize different objects he uses in everyday life. Over time Timothy is cooking more, he’s able to load and unload the dishwasher and he washes his clothes with assistance from staff. In addition, Timothy has become more social and enjoys going on community outings.  Timothy is a happy and quiet individual who brings joy to the people who know him.

Q&A with Timothy

What do you enjoy most about living at Kaden Road: Being able to live independently and watching TV with the other guys at the group home.

Favorite thing to do: Going out into to the community to the Dollar Store to purchase collectibles.

What have you learned since living at Kaden Road:  How to set the table, wash clothes, make my own sandwich and prepare meals with staff assistance.

 

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Ronald Thomas – Jammes Road Resident

Ronald was introduced to The Arc Jacksonville when seeking a day program that would assist his goals to expand social skills and to adapt to different environments.  Ronald found that opportunity at the Arc’s Westside location where he was accepted “with open arms.” Ronald moved into the Jammes Road group home in September 2014 and adapted quickly to the environment and the other residents. Ronald is non-verbal and communicates through body language signals. His smile is a clear sign that he is enjoying himself.  Ronald enjoys music, strobe lights and beaded necklaces to twirl. He is working daily with adaptive feeding devices to strengthen his handgrip.

 

Information compiled by Group Home Managers and Arc Jacksonville Development Staff

 

 

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