Did you know that UCP Oregon has a Support Group? We do! It's called
Gimme A Break" (GAB).
GAB is open to all Oregon & SW Washington families who are raising a child with any disability.
GAB has always met in the evenings. But, due to popular demand, we've added a new DAYTIME GAB!
Our first Daytime GAB will be held on Wednesday, April 21 at 11am.
FROM THE DESK OF ANN COFFEY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
It’s March of 2021. This means that COVID-19 has been with us for a year.
What a year it’s been; exhausting, terrifying, and traumatic come to mind.
It's also been a time full of gratitude. The UCP community has come together and stood strong in our resiliency.
It’s been a time for growth and streamlining, as we seek new ways to complete our work; new ways to connect; new ways to find balance and purpose.
The COVID-19 vaccine is here, although not all of us are currently eligible or will choose to receive it. Scheduling has proven difficult. Inequity has been highlighted. Nevertheless, there is a light at the end of this tunnel … and I can finally say … the light is not coming from a train. It’s sunlight.
Change—good change—is on the horizon. We’re starting to envision a new future.
Folks are wondering when we’ll reopen the UCP Oregon office. I don’t have firm dates yet, or any concrete answers.
But I can tell you that we’ll base our decision (s) on:
Whew! That’s a lot to consider. We are committed to maintaining the health and safety of UCP customers and employees, to the very best of our ability.
So, I suppose I am saying: hang on. Clarity is forming. Mask up. Remain socially distanced. Assist customers to gain vaccinations if they choose to. Stay healthy and safe—we’re not at the finish line yet.
Thank you to everyone involved in keeping UCP safe. We will look back on this and feel proud. Proud to rise to the occasion among all the variables that have made this a most complex and unique year.
Did you know that March is Women’s History Month?
Join us in celebrating 14 Black, disabled women who have had a powerful impact on American history.
As Stephanie Mullen (a Personal Agent at UCP Connections) says, “Their work has left a legacy of bridge-building, radical self-love and advocacy.”
They include the famous poet Maya Angelou, who experienced a disability called “selective mutism."
They also include Claudia Gordon (the first Black deaf lawyer in America), and Lois Curtis—the woman behind the L.C. v. Olmstead case.
Learn more about them here.
March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month.
Join us in celebrating and defending the inclusion of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) in all areas of community life.
PS: If you’d like to be part of a larger community this month, you might want to share photos and stories with the Oregon Council on Developmental Disabilities. You can simply use their campaign hashtag: #BetterTogether21. Or you can share via their Facebook page.
As you may already know, our Executive Director (Ann Coffey) contributes to statewide disability projects all the time.
What you might not know is that Ann was on the steering committee for a national policy project.
The 2021 “Case For Inclusion” was created through a partnership between the national UCP organization, and ANCOR (The American Network of Community Options and Resources).
The report details some of the extreme difficulties faced by groups like UCP Oregon, as they dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The report also lists specific actions that the White House and Congress can take to ensure the sustainability of community-based supports.
Way to go, Ann and everyone else who worked on the project!
Join UCP Oregon in celebrating Black History Month.
Often Black/Indigenous/People of Color with disabilities are underrepresented in the media, the wider community, and even within the disability community itself.
As we reflect on Black History Month, may we hold space for and celebrate black folks with disabilities—such as the extraordinary Harriet Tubman, and many others who are sadly unknown to us.
Want to learn more? We highly recommend this article: The Overlooked History of Black Disabled People.
We’d like to share some more stories from the storm.
One of UCP Oregon’s Supported Living Team Leaders, Codi Parmelee, did fantastic work, driving staff to and from shifts. Thanks, Codi!
A Personal Agent from UCP’s Brokerage, Jeff Gilbert, braved the storm with our technology consultant, Jeff Couttouw, to get our servers up, with assistance from the Brokerage Director, Sarah Noack. Thanks, guys!
And so many other folks worked extra hours and dealt with treacherous driving conditions. We are so grateful for every one of you. Thank you!
Wow! What a storm!
We want to shout out a GIGANTIC THANK YOU to the UCP employees and supporters who worked so hard to assist UCP’s customers make it through the storm.
We want to send special thanks to UCP’s Family Support Director, Kathrine Ball.
Katherine is the parent of a child with disabilities, and was without nursing staff or electricity for many hours, but she still managed to dispatch emergency supplies and information to many of UCP’s families.
National Disaster Hotline for Folks With Disabilities
People who experience disabilities, and who are experiencing a weather disaster, can call a national hotline run by the Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies.
They provide 24/7 assistance during (and after) disasters.
It is with a heavy heart that we announce changes to UCP Oregon’s Supported Employment Department (“Employment Solutions”).
Employment Solutions supports adults who experience disabilities to find and keep fulfilling jobs in the community. As you might imagine, COVID-19 has had a huge effect on this department.
In March of 2020, most of the department’s employed customers lost their jobs due to COVID-19 restrictions, with very few able to be rehired in a contracting economy.
Over the intervening months, we have attempted to keep the department as whole as possible. We applied for (and received) COVID-19 relief grants. But three layoffs were necessary in July, and we are now forced to restructure again.
Department changes include:
These changes will have a tremendous impact on UCP Oregon’s community. We are saying goodbye to some of our best and brightest, including our Employment Solutions Director, Melissa Miller. Read more about Melissa, and her contributions, here.
Affected customers and employees have been informed, but if you have questions or need support, please don’t hesitate to contact us.