This is cool! At our upcoming Family Support Conference (which will be held November 3-4), we'll be showing a documentary called Including Us: Exceptional Teens at The Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
The documentary is a rare insider's look backstage at the building of Hairspray for the 2019 season of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. It focuses on four teenagers who experience disabilities who were hired as professional actors for the ten-month run. Included in the cast were two teens that are in UCP Oregon’s Family Support Program.
The documentary has not yet been released to the public. UCP has been given special permission for this one-time viewing.
NOTE: Photo credit to photographer Jenny Graham.
ATTENDING THE CONFERENCE?
We'll be showing the documentary in the main ballroom at 4pm on Friday, November 3rd. See you then!
Are you a member of UCP Family Support Department? Have you been eagerly awaiting our next OMSI Play Lab?
We're excited to announce our next Play Lab date:
The theme is "Be a Naturalist." Participants will be able to explore the natural world and the clues that animals leave behind. Participants will meet insects and practice skills like categorization and observations
Each Play Lab includes an hour-long, hands-on, family-centered STEM program, followed by unstructured play time at OMSI.
Every participating family will receive a free year-long family membership to OMSI!
Wow! What a fun weekend! Last weekend, several of the dads from UCP Oregon's Family Support Department attended our first ever “For Dads Only” Cabin Weekend!
This was a chance for UCP dads to have a weekend away to relax and regroup. They played disc golf, did a 2.5 mile hike, went for mountain bike rides, and sat by a campfire. UCP supplied tons of snacks and beverages.
There were a couple of wasp stings. Ouch! But they survived and connected, and, to quote one dad,
“It was honestly perfect for me! The park was GREAT! Thank you so much for making things like this happen for us! It’s something we would not have planned for ourselves. And thanks for the drinks and snacks!”
They spent two night at the beautiful L.L. Stub Stewart State Park. A gigantic thank you to the "Explore Cabins and Yurts program" at Oregon State Parks for gifting the cabin stays!
And another giant thank you to Katherine Ball, UCP's Family Support Director, for organizing the trip!
We’d like to share some great “behind-the-scenes” news.
UCP applied for—and received—funds via the federal government’s Employee Retention Credit (ERC).
After we received the funds, we asked all of our departments to create a “wish list” of wants and needs.
Below are some of the items from those wishlists that we’ll be funding in the coming months:
We’d like to thank Esther Large (UCP’s Finance Director) and John Hancock (a long-term member of UCP’s Board of Directors), for their work related to the ERC funds!
We’d also like to thank the entire UCP Board of Directors for their ongoing commitment to supporting UCP’s workforce and our delivery of quality services.
This is so cool!
Last weekend, several UCP Oregon families were able to spend a weekend at an amazing campground in Yakima, Washington—for free!
Camp Prime Time is a nonprofit, and it focuses on children who experience disabilities or who are seriously ill.
UCP campers had their choice of activities, including an accessible pontoon boat ride, a ride on an antique wagon, accessible horseback riding, and an accessible bonfire with a marshmallow roast. There was even a wheelchair-accessible treehouse!
A gigantic thank you to Katherine Lee Ball, Director of UCP Oregon’s Family Support Department, for applying for UCP to attend and organizing the whole trip!
And thanks to a UCP Family Support member, Stephanie, for sharing many of these awesome photos!
We think all of us are beautiful people! And so does a local filmmaker named Zian Chavez.
Zian is making a documentary about the lives of people who experience disabilities, here in Portland and around the world. The film is entitled “We are the Most Beautiful People.”
UCP Oregon sponsored the documentary, and some UCP Oregon customers have been interviewed as a part of the project.
As the filmmaker, Zian says, "We live in a world that's centered on the rights and needs of non-disabled persons. Our documentary challenges the notion of beauty and centers on the lived experience of adults with disabilities. It will contribute to the disability justice movement, raise awareness and deconstruct norms embedded in cultures worldwide."
Zian says, “So many of the interviews we have already completed reveal the inequities that exist all around the world today.” The film will feature, among others:
Zian will be submitting an application to the Sundance Film Festival in the fall—so cool!
The film has an expected release date of December, 2023. We’ll keep you posted as we learn more.
We are excited to share UCP Oregon’s newest Annual Report, which covers the 2020-2021 fiscal year.
The theme of this report is “Change.”
As our Executive Director, Ann Coffey, states in the report, “There has been so much change... But, through it all, the UCP community stood strong and resilient. We stood together. We sought new ways to complete our work. We found new ways to connect. We discovered new ways to find balance and purpose.”
A gigantic thank you to everyone who contributed, as a writer, photographer, and/or editor!
We are so excited to share the achievements of our customer, Henry Meece.
Henry uses services from UCP Oregon’s Supported Employment Department (also known as Employment Solutions). He works at Fulcrum Fitness, serving as a janitor at their SE location.
About his job, Henry says, “I like all the UCP Job Coaches I’ve had, and I like cleaning the gym when it’s quiet and everyone is gone for the day.”
But Henry is far more famous for winning medals at the X Games.
The X Games are an extreme sport competition, and are covered live on the X Games YouTube and Twitch channels. The Games happen twice a year—in the summer and in the winter—and usually consist of skateboarding, skiing, snowboarding, and BMX biking.
Henry started competing in the X Games in 2015. He describes the X Games as “challenging and crazy fun.” He adds, “In the X Games, we are paired with a pro or celebrity, and we each get one run down the red and blue course. We add our fastest times together and the top three times receive Gold, Silver or Bronze medals.”
Henry competes in a snowboarding category called “Unified Slalom.” Slalom is an exciting event! It involves racing down over a zigzagging course, having to turn and adjust quickly as you move between narrowly-spaced flags. Henry would love it if the X Games also added a category called “banked slalom,” competing on a twisty curvy course with banked turns.
Together with his first partner, Chris Klug, Henry won four consecutive Gold medals. Henry was paired with Jack Mitrani in 2020 and took home the Bronze. Last week, Henry and Chris Klug were reunited as partners and together they won third place, adding a Bronze medal to their collection.
Congratulations, Henry! We’re so proud of you!
PS: Want to learn more about the 2023 X Games? Click this link—you can even see Henry’s most recent score.
NOTE: Photo credit goes to Francis-King and Nnamani/Special Olympics.
We’d like to give a huge shout out to Diondre, who recently celebrated his 18-year anniversary at Fred Meyer. Congratulations, Diondre!
Diondre uses UCP Oregon's Supported Employment Services (also known as Employment Solutions).
PS: Want to hear more details about Diondre and his awesome Job Coach, Rory? We have good news for you! They're both going to be profiled in an upcoming Annual Report. Woo hoo!
YEAR-END UPDATE, FROM THE DESK OF JOHN GOFF, COMMUNITY SERVICES DIRECTOR
Hello, UCP Family!
It is always an honor to share the successes and stories of the Community Services (CS) Department, but not without first recognizing the collective energy of all UCP customers, employees, Board members, and partners. When I think of the past year, I am reminded of the familiar phrase that it truly “Takes a Village,” and I must say that I am grateful to have been a part of this one for close to 10 years!
So, what of the year 2022? I wish I had space to list every situation and scenario navigated, but I can say with certainty and admiration that everyone in the department showed up in a very big way to support one another.
In no order of priority, the CS Department:
I am very proud of all the accomplishments and work from the Community Services Department, and I look forward to another great year in 2023 filled with opportunity, continued advocacy, and growth.