January 17th is Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
If 2022 is feeling especially bleak to you, you might want to check out this list of favorite MLK quotes from Karen Wang, a mom who is raising several kids (including a son with disabilities).
We’re all interconnected. And we can all make a difference.
As you know, UCP Oregon believes in the power of real choice, real jobs, real homes, and real connections for all—a full life for those we serve.
But it’s obvious that, in many cases, experiencing a full life can be extremely challenging, given the funding and service delivery systems that currently exist for people with developmental disabilities.
That’s why we launched the Bill Porter Memorial Fund (BPMF) in 2018.
The BPMF is designed to assist our customers to experience a full life, however that might look for each customer. Customers have applied for funding for:
We’re excited to announce that we’ll be opening the 2022 BPMF application process on February 1, 2022.
Note: Applicants must be currently receiving services from UCP Oregon to be considered.
From the Desk of Sarah Noack, Brokerage Director, UCP Oregon
As I reflect on the past year, there were beautiful highlights and certainly many difficult lowlights.
In the spring of 2021, I could not have imagined how I would be catapulted out of my home office and into a massive undertaking—establishing a second brokerage (“UCP Mentors”) in order to take on the customers from another brokerage (“Mentor”) that was closing.
In some ways, taking on 600+ customers and starting a second brokerage was completely unfathomable to consider amidst a pandemic.
In other ways, it provided the perfect opportunity to shift focus onto something fresh and energizing.
I knew that I wanted to be a part of a safety net that could catch Mentor’s customers and employees. And I knew UCP had the organizational values and foundation to do right by folks.
What I didn’t know was how powerfully the community would come together to make that happen.
All of UCP’s existing (and new!) brokerage employees gave so much—their skills, gifts, and efforts—to make absolutely certain we were ready for our new customers.
Every single need was met with “here is what I can do.”
People stayed focused and positive even when we were overwhelmed. Problems were met with curiosity and tenacity.
And through those months, the team of former Mentor employees stepped bravely forward, responding with heart and grit and hope and determination.
When UCP Mentors opened on September 1, I felt like we had successfully landed the Millennium Falcon! I am so grateful for everyone, whether they served as Chewie, Yoda, Han, or members of the band that plays the funky music in the cantina.
Here we are four months later.
The dust is settling. And we see what lies ahead--more rebuilding, more growth, some healing, and lots more work.
But for now, I want to pause for a moment and say “three cheers” to everyone who was involved. Hooray for us all! Here is to collaboration, community, and customers! Happy New Year!
--Sarah Noack, Brokerage Director
From the Desk of Ann Coffey, Executive Director, UCP Oregon
A few days ago, I shared a New Year’s post.
But, today, I have more to share.
Sometimes someone’s words seem to grab at my heart and my head.
Pat A. Fleming wrote a poem called “What Life Should Be”.
It’s beautiful and simple, and it speaks to me of UCP Oregon, of our dedication, kindness, and vision.
It speaks to me—especially—of the hearts and hands and minds of our employees—of how they managed to bring their very best, even in the midst of a pandemic.
Below are a few excerpts.
Thank you to UCP’s employees. You truly stand up with courage, every day.
From the Desk of Ann Coffey, Executive Director, UCP Oregon
Wow! What a year.
As 2021 draws to a close, I’d like to take a moment to pause, to reflect on a year’s worth of feelings.
We’ve experienced celebration and joy. We have taken pleasure in tradition, togetherness, and new discoveries. But we’ve all experienced loneliness and loss. We have faced significant challenges.
For many, it's a heavy time.
So, as we enter a new year, I urge you to reach out to the people you care about. Tell people that they matter. Take care of yourself. Rest when you can.
Say goodbye to 2021—to the lessons learned, to the tests passed, and the obstacles that we overcame. And say hello to 2022—may it be a kinder year, with more certainty and peace for all of us.
Happy New Year!
UCP Oregon is excited to announce the winners of the "2021 Employee Recognition Awards!"
These awards were given to employees who provide direct care to our customers, folks who have titles such as Personal Assistant, Support Specialist, Support Coordinator, Personal Coordinator, Assistant Team Leader, Substitute Support Professional, Children's Support Professional, Job Coach, and Employment Specialist.
All direct care staff were eligible to vote for the winners. Each winner received a $100 Visa Gift Card and an award certificate!
If you happen to see one of these employees, please make sure to congratulate them.
PS: there were two winners in every category. We don't have permission to share the names of ALL the winners, so a few folks will not be listed below.
THE 2021 Employee Recognition Award WINNERS
i! We have an exciting opening to share with you.
UCP Oregon is hiring a Receptionist.
This is a great position for you if you enjoy multi-tasking, solving problems on the fly, and interacting with lots of different kinds of people, such as the folks we support, our employees, and the other people who drop by our office on a daily basis.
This position is open to both current employees and external applicants.
The person we hire can choose between two work schedules:
*The Friday schedule will alternate between (9am to 3:30pm and 10am to 4:30pm) based on UCP’s pay periods.
Well, that's a wrap! The 2021 UCP Family Support Annual Toy Giveaway was AWESOME!
We served 69 families and gave away over 200 toys. Woo hoo!
We'd like to send a gigantic thank you to UCP's Family Support Director, Katherine Ball. Katherine ran the entire event, start to finish--soliciting for toys, picking up toys, setting up the booth, and working both days.
Alas, due to some unforeseen events, Katherine had fewer volunteers than expected. She even had to put the gigantic UCP pop-up tent by herself; as she says, "I wish I had a video of it. It would have been a hilarious elf moment!"
Thank you so much for all your hard work, Katherine!
PS: All of the toys that couldn't be picked up at the Toy Giveaway were mailed out in time for them to arrive by Christmas Eve.
Katherine would like to say "thank you" to the following folks:
Greetings from Day Two of UCP Oregon's Toy Giveaway!
It's rainy and cold, but our Holiday Elves are feeling festive and ready to give away some awesome toys!
NOTE: This is a two-day even for families who are raising children who experience cerebral palsy or a related disability. Families pre-registered to receive free toys.
Special thanks to our shivering Chief Elf, Katherine Ball (Family Support Director).
EDITOR’S NOTE: Lena is a “Personal Assistant” in our Supported Living Department, which means that she works one-on-one a customer (Anita), helping Anita live independently in her own home. Recently, we asked our staff to share stories of their everyday work lives, and Lena wrote the following. Thanks, Lena!
By Lena Ruminski, Personal Assistant
Though I have worked for UCP for almost four years, I never knew the kind of joy I could bring someone until this last September when I started working with Anita.
While Anita is a woman of few words (unless asked questions), there is one sure way to know that she is enjoying herself: her eyes. The first time I experienced her unique expression of joy was when I introduced her to one of the best things about fall: Starbucks’ seasonal Pumpkin Spice Latte.
While Anita is a mocha gal herself, I convinced her to try the PSL and upon first sip, she was sold. She looked up at me after her first taste—and her blue eyes were two huge saucers as she exclaimed, “That’s good!”
And for the rest of her beverage, after every sip, her wide eyes returned.
After we finished up, we started our walk back to her apartment. I started walking fast (and pushing her wheelchair quickly, too) because I was getting chilly. I heard her say “This is fun!” So, I picked up the pace to give her a bit more of a thrill.
As I prepared to get her back inside her house, I stopped and turned to her. I saw those wide eyes again as she said, “Can we do that again?!?”
Needless to say, we have been regulars at the Starbucks every Saturday shift for our weekly PSL fix.