Our next General Membership Meeting is this Sunday, March 2, 2014 at 1 pm. We hope you will be able to attend because we have an exciting agenda planned.
Topics will be:
:: What is Happening with Waiting Lists and Funding in Other States and How to Get Legislation Passed :: Creating a Therapeutic Environment for Music Making
:: STS Awareness Campaign
We are very pleased to announce that David Hart, who is a board member for VOR, the national organization that advocates for choice in care and services for I/DD individuals, will be our special guest speaker.
Since 1983, VOR has been the only national group advocating for the right of I/DD individuals and their guardians to choose from a full array of residential options, including facility-based options, such as the Southbury Training School. VOR has actively sponsored federal and state-level legislation over the years.
Mr. Hart, in addition to being on the board of VOR, is the chairman of the VOR Legislative Committee. He will discuss with us what is happening with waiting lists, funding and legislation in other states and how to get bills passed.
Mr. Hart has been involved with intellectual/developmental disability (I/DD) issues for over 30 years. His brother had profound intellectual disabilities and was a resident at Hogan Regional Center in Massachusetts until his death in 1996.
Hogan Regional Center has a dental clinic similar to that at STS. The clinic serves I/DD individuals living in the community and at home who receive DDS services from the state of Massachusetts. Hogan also has a stabilization unit with 20 to 30 beds that provides medical and behavioral emergency support services to the same population, which is a service sorely needed in Connecticut.
In addition to his roles at VOR, Mr. Hart is currently the president of CCMR, which has evolved from a parent group for Hogan similar to the Home and School Association of STS, to an advocacy organization for the I/DD community in Massachusetts. CCMR, through its affiliation with VOR, supports advocacy efforts at the national level.
Mr. Hart also works for the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office as an English language arts teacher and career advisor; provides strategic advice to non-profits and small businesses including implementation of advocacy and legislative platforms; finds work for I/DD individuals within the community and in sheltered workshops; and has worked for a community provider. He is quite knowledgeable about community services.
As an aside, when Mitt Romney was governor of Massachusetts, he wanted to close all congregate facilities because he said by doing so he would save the state $80 million. Mr. Hart worked with the Massachusetts Nursing Association to question that number, which resulted in an admission by Romney that such a closure would have a break-even effect, at best.
Considering Mr. Hart’s extensive I/DD advocacy experience, we anticipate an insightful and informative presentation not to be missed.
We are also pleased to have two of our STS music therapy interns, Kelsy Gati and Melinda Grabow, perform as well as talk about Creating a Therapeutic Environment for Music Making.
Lastly, many of us have attended a series of forums with the Union, DDS family caregivers and legislators. We have learned that parents and guardians are fearful for the future of their children as they age and are concerned about their long-term care. By attending these meetings we are changing perceptions about STS. Find out about our STS awareness campaign and what you can do to help.
Please come to this important members meeting, and bring family and friends. We expect to have the meeting at the Gatehouse Café. However, if we think attendance will be heavy, it may be moved to the Pavilion. In that event we will put a notice on our website, send an e-mail notification and post a sign at the Café.
We look forward to seeing you on March 2. If you have any questions about the meeting, please call us at 855-200-0490 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.