What are you doing to celebrate or acknowledge World Cerebral Palsy Day on October 6th?
Paige Murray (a motivational speaker and athlete) decided to write a letter to her CP, acknowledging the ups and downs of living with cerebral palsy. As Paige writes, "We are inseparable. Never without one another, you complete my very being."
After a tough adolescence, Paige says, she and her CP now "work in sync, most of the time anyway, always ready to smash through restrictions and whatever comes our way, together."
Read Paige's full letter here.
Happy NDEAM to you!
Wondering what NDEAM means? It stands for "National Disability Employment Awareness Month," and it happens every October.
The 2020 NDEAM is pretty special. That's because we're celebrating both the 75th observance of NDEAM... and the 30th anniversary of the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act)!
Both milestones are being celebrated across the country with a range of events, all centering on the theme "Increasing Access and Opportunity."
UCP Oregon's fantastic supported employment division (Employment Solutions) creates "access and opportunity" every day!
Last week, UCP Oregon and the nation celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Did you know that an 8-year-old girl who experienced cerebral palsy helped get this bill passed?
Jennifer Keelan-Chaffins crawled up the 83 stone steps that lead to the U.S. Capitol. "I’ll take all night if I have to," she said.
Joining her on her journey were some 60 other activists who also cast aside their mobility devices, all with a goal of demonstrating the everyday barriers experienced by people with disabilities.
Jennifer is still a disability rights activist today. Learn more about her story here.
COVID-19 is certainly proving to be a marathon!
UCP Oregon is committed to responding to COVID-19 in a way that keeps customers, employees, and the community safe.
At this time, there are no plans in the works to change our current strategies (keeping the office closed and limiting face-to-face supports as possible).
If needed, we will make some adjustments in specific service areas to be responsive to customer needs. But, rest assured, that these adjustments will be made cautiously and thoughtfully.
As always, we thank our employees. All of them are working under unprecedented conditions, especially those that are providing in-person supports. Many folks have experienced changes to their roles and duties, and are having far less social interaction with team members. They are handling these changes with grace and grit.
A shout-out to our customers as well. Many folks have their supports changed or paused. We're grateful for their flexibility and resilience.
We'll get through this, together. One day and one step at a time.
To UCP Employees, Customers, and Community Partners:
UCP stands against racism, and stands behind justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many other Black women and men who have lost their lives.
UCP’s mission is to lift up, support and advocate for and with people with disabilities, who are among the most vulnerable in our community. Many of the people we support and employ are also Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC), and as such at greater risk of violence and harm.
UCP believes all humans should feel safe and supported by our organization. We will not tolerate inequality, injustice, or exclusivity of any kind in our community. The time is now to assure that extends specifically to the Black people we support and work alongside.
There is so much more to say, so much more to do, individually and as a community.
As Adrienne Maree Brown says,
All the big things that we are longing for are made up of a lot of small, personal, radical, brave choices.
We can do it. Together.
We have also partnered with a few local provider agencies to acquire a few deals. And, as needed, our Executive Director, Ann, makes weekly trips in her truck to pick up and distribute orders.
And we have, so far, been able to keep our employees "whole."
We still need your help, though... more than ever! Thanks for your support!
MAKE A FACE MASK
Do you have sewing skills? UCP Oregon is in crucial need of face masks. You can make one quickly and easily by following the instructions below.
We are in critical need of the following. Please donate:
HOW TO DONATE HOUSEHOLD ITEMS/MASKS
Items can be dropped off at (or mailed to) the UCP Oregon Office, which is located at 305 NE 102nd Ave, Suite 100, Portland, OR 97220.
Currently our front office hours are 10am to 3pm, Monday-Friday. Please call 503-777-4166 to confirm those times have not changed, or if you have any questions.
If you have a large quantity of items to donate, we may be able to pick them up depending on your location. Please email or call 503-777-4166.
FROM THE DESK OF ANN COFFEY,
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF UCP OREGON
Dear customers, family members, providers, and community partners,
I want to update you about how UCP Oregon is navigating the impact of COVID-19. We are taking into consideration the variety of risks and support needs of the 500+ people we support; their families; and their service providers (including 200+ UCP Oregon employees).
We are here and accessible, but we’re shifting how we engage with the people we support in an effort to protect those who are at high risk of contracting COVID-19.
The following strategies are in place, effective immediately until further notice:
A Note for Customers and Families:
Figuring out how to take care of yourself and your loved ones can cause fear, anxiety, and stress. Breathe deep, ask for support, make a contingency plan, and check in with yourself and others.
Don’t hesitate to reach out for help. If you—whether you are a customer, a family member, or an employee—feel like you need additional support during the next few weeks, please reach out to your personal agent, case manager, supervisor, department director, or UCP’s Executive Director.
And, finally, don’t forget the basics! Wash your hands. Maintain a 6’ perimeter. Cover your cough. Take care of each other. We are all in this together--we will get through this!
UCP Oregon Executive Director