JOB OPENING: PERSONAL AGENT
Are you passionate about social justice? Would you love to work one-on-one with customers from diverse backgrounds and experiences, supporting them to live their best lives?
If so, UCP Oregon might have the perfect opportunity for you!
We are currently seeking a Personal Agent (Caseload Manager), who will work in one of our support services brokerages (“UCP Mentors”).
As a Personal Agent, you’ll support 36-40 adults to navigate the support services system; secure resources and services; and address their health and safety needs.
You’ll also advocate with (and for) your customers; manage intensive paperwork; monitor the quality of services; and ensure choice and independence.
You’ll be part of a team that is a collaborative, fun, and diverse.
After passing your introductory evaluation, you will have the opportunity to work a hybrid schedule (partially working from home).
April is Autism Acceptance Month. In honor of this month, UCP Oregon would like to share a piece written by Andrew Haynes.
Andrew is the Brokerage Administrative Assistant for UCP Connections, and is a person with Asperger’s. Andrew would like to thank Silas Bird (Operations Coordinator for UCP Connections) for assistance in creating this piece.
By Andrew Haynes, Brokerage Administrative Assistant, with assistance from Silas Bird, Operations Coordinator
Autism Acceptance Month is a time to celebrate and embrace the unique qualities of individuals on the autism spectrum. It's no longer enough to simply raise awareness about autism; we must shift our focus towards acceptance and inclusion.
We must advocate for policies that prioritize inclusion, education, employment opportunities, healthcare access, and social support for autistic individuals.
The article "Autism Speaks doesn’t speak for Autism" by Isabelle Ouyang provides a compelling argument against the popular organization Autism Speaks.
The author argues that Autism Speaks perpetuates harmful stereotypes and stigmatizes individuals with autism rather than helping them. Ouyang points out that Autism Speaks' advertising campaigns often portray autism as a tragedy, which can lead to negative attitudes towards those with the condition.
Additionally, the organization's focus on finding a cure for autism implies that people with autism need to be fixed or cured rather than accepted and supported.
The author also critiques the lack of representation of autistic individuals in leadership positions within the organization, which can lead to a disconnect between those making decisions and those directly affected by them.
Many individuals with autism have spoken out against Autism Speaks, stating that they do not accurately represent their experiences or perspectives.
The Puzzle Piece Symbol
The puzzle piece has been a symbol of autism awareness for decades, but it is time to retire this outdated symbol. The puzzle piece implies that individuals with autism are incomplete or missing something, which is not only inaccurate but also offensive. Autism is not a puzzle to be solved or fixed; it is a neurological difference that should be accepted and celebrated.
Furthermore, the puzzle piece does not accurately represent the diversity within the autistic community. Autism is a spectrum disorder, meaning that individuals with autism have varying abilities and challenges. Using one symbol to represent such a diverse group of people oversimplifies their experiences and perpetuates stereotypes.
Instead of using the puzzle piece, we should listen to and amplify the voices of autistic individuals themselves. They can tell us what symbols or language they prefer and what truly represents them as unique individuals. It's time to move away from outdated symbols like the puzzle piece and towards more inclusive representations of autism.
It is crucial for organizations working with marginalized communities to prioritize listening to and uplifting their voices rather than speaking for them without their input or consent.
As you may know, April is Autism Acceptance Month.
Two employees of UCP Connections, Stephanie (Lead Personal Agent) and Glenna (Advocacy & Outreach Coordinator), compiled several great resources and quotes.
“Acceptance is an action. This means that autism acceptance is an active process that requires both a shift in thinking and in action.”
– Autistic Self Advocacy Network
“Autism awareness isn’t really necessary anymore. Sometimes neurotypical advocacy efforts end up being viewed by the Autistic community as parents looking to wear a badge for knowing someone with autism. Most people already know Autism exists. Autism Acceptance…now that’s something to advocate for. That’s what #RedInstead represents.”
HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM UCP, 2022
During this month, the UCP community will be celebrating in different ways, including cultural, family, secular, and spiritual traditions.
Hanukkah started on Sunday. Winter Solstice occurred this week. Christmas and Kwanza are right around the corner, too. Some folks may not celebrate spiritual or secular occasions in December, and some folks may be grieving or having a tough time.
We are holding you--all of you!--in our hearts. We're thankful for each and every one of you. We couldn't do it without you.
Thanks to everyone at UCP who has helped make this season bright!
See you next year.
UCP Day at Camp
As you may know, UCP’s second brokerage, UCP Mentors, just celebrated its first birthday.
To celebrate, Sasha Vidales, the UCP Mentors Brokerage Director coordinated an event called “UCP Day at Camp.”
Employees from both brokerages attended. They explored the trails, practiced archery, navigated the aerial course, did some arts and crafts, and more!
PS: a giant shout out to Sasha for coordinating the event. It was so much fun!
HAPPY FIRST BIRTHDAY TO MENTORS
Happy first birthday to UCP Mentors!
One year ago (on September 1, 2021), UCP Oregon officially opened our second brokerage, UCP Mentors Brokerage. Since then, we have welcomed over 500 customers and 26 employees to Mentors. Wow!
As Sasha Vidales, the UCP Mentors Brokerage Director says, “Please join us in celebrating with Mentors’ customers and employees. We look forward to providing person-centered services at both of UCP’s brokerages for years to come!”
THANK YOU TO THE PARENTS
What a busy week! Happy Juneteenth! Happy Father’s Day! Happy Pride!
This week (the week of Father’s Day in America), UCP Oregon is giving a shout-out to the parents of our customers.
Our Director of Brokerage Services, Sarah Noack, attended a picnic Blue Lake this week. The event was held by “Off the Couch” events, and several of UCP's customers attended.
As Sarah says, “One of the things I walked away with was appreciation for the parents who show up for their kids their whole lives through.”
As Sarah adds, “We spend a lot of time in ‘adult services’ talking about self-determination… about and muddling our way through the conflicts that can arise between adult children and their parents. I want to take a moment to acknowledge the love and commitment many parents give to their adult children (our customers). As I caught up with a few parents yesterday, I was struck with the love, the impact, the hours, the grief, the heart, the strength, the grit, and the hope of so many parents, who are giving so much to their adult children over their entire lives. It is beautiful.”
Thank you to all the parents of our customers.
FROM THE DESK OF YVONNE
Mabuhay, UCP fans!
(That’s a Filipino greeting, if you didn’t know).
As you may have heard, May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (AAPI).
UCP’s Yvonne Miller (a Personal Agent) taught us that greeting, and also started a conversation with the UCP Mentors team about ways to acknowledge and celebrate all things AAPI.
Below is an excerpt from Yvonne’s email and some resources they provided.
PS: Thanks to the other UCP Mentors team members shared about their identity and more ways to connect with the AAPI culture!
How can we all get involved in supporting the AAPI community?
HAPPY 6 MONTH BIRTHDAY TO UCP MENTORS!
Hi, everyone! We just wanted to say… “Happy 6-month anniversary to UCP Mentors!”
As you probably know, UCP Oregon launched UCP Mentors (our second brokerage) on September 1, 2021.
Six months later, UCP Mentors is going strong… and so is our original brokerage (UCP Connections).
Here are some interesting facts about UCP Mentors:
Thoughts From Sarah
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