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By Sunrise Group on August 24, 2016

UCP Lifelinks in Tallahassee Goes Wild At St. Marks’ Conservation Center

Program participants from UCP Lifelinks in Tallahassee recently visited St. Marks Wildlife where they learned about insects, birds of prey, mammals and Florida’s natural history as well as community inclusion and the role everyone plays in protecting Florida. Inclusion means that all people, regardless of their varying ability, mobility or health care needs, have the right to be respected and appreciated as valuable members of our communities. This includes access and participation in recreational activities as well as engagement in environmental conservation that protects the outdoors and wildlife. For this reason, conservation often intersects with the concept with inclusion. UCP Lifelinks in Tallahassee thanks St. Mark’s Wildlife Conservation Area for the awesome presentation today (and for time with the baby squirrel … probably our favorite!)

By Sunrise Group on August 23, 2016

National Public Policy: Service Providers Turn To Washington For Help

The Disability Community Act, which is supported by United Cerebral Palsy, Autism Speaks, the Autism Society and Easter Seals in addition to ANCOR, is estimated to cost about $300 million. The bill was introduced by Rep. Paul Tonko, D-N.Y., and has support from Rep. Steve Stivers, R-Ohio, as well as both chairs of the Congressional Bipartisan Disabilities Caucus, Rep. Gregg Harper, R-Miss., and Rep. Jim Langevin, D-R.I. If passed, the bill would offer a temporary increase in federal Medicaid dollars for programs serving people with developmental disabilities. Advocates are still working to get a companion bill introduced in the U.S. Senate.

By Sunrise Group on August 12, 2016

Dedicated DSP in the Spotlight: Greeneville, Tennessee

It’s amazing how a hand-full of select people just seem to “know their dream job” even when most people are still trying to decide their career oath. Choosing the right career is tricky. Economist Neil Howe estimates that only five percent of people find a good career match on the first try. And even beyond this chilling stat, there’s so much external pressure to land the perfect job, follow your passion and be super successful by the end of your 20s. No wonder most people break into a cold sweat when asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” That was never the case for Sunrise Community of Tennessee in Greeneville’s Josh Hensley. Josh has known he want to work in the greater disabilities field since before he was even eligible to apply. As he continues his career in the field, Greeneville thanks him for years of dedication, congratulates him on his B.A. and wishes him nothing but the BEST!

By Sunrise Group on August 10, 2016

Disability History: The Hidden History of Eugenics

The first eugenics law in the United States was passed in Connecticut in 1895. Then in 1927, the U.S. Supreme Court decided, by a vote of 8 to 1, to uphold a state’s right to forcibly sterilize a person considered unfit to procreate. The case, known as Buck v. Bell, centered on a young woman named Carrie Buck, whom the state of Virginia had deemed to be “feeble-minded.” All told, as many as 70,000 Americans were forcibly sterilized during the 20th century. The victims of state-mandated sterilization included people like Buck who had been labeled “mentally deficient,” as well as those who who were deaf, blind and diseased. Who was Carrie Buck, and why must we never forget her legacy?

By Sunrise Group on August 8, 2016

Public Policy: Implementing the New DOJ Agreement in Georgia

The United States v. Georgia case has now entered a new phase. The State has committed to taking additional steps to improve its community system for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) in areas where the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Independent Reviewer found the State had not complied with terms of the 2010 Settlement Agreement. The goal of the “Extension Agreement” is to ensure that all people with I/DD can live and thrive in the community, including people with complex needs. The Extension Agreement has been approved by US District Court Judge Pannell and is court-enforceable. This agreement will have broad impact on ALL people in the I/DD system, like changes to support coordination and access to the clinical oversight program for anyone with complex needs.

By Sunrise Group on August 5, 2016

UCP of Southwest Florida in Naples Hosts A Mock Candidate’s Forum

As Sunrise is gearing up for our participation of National Voter Registration Day on September 27, 2016, we are working to make sure that our staff and the self-advocates we serve are not left out on election day, November 8th, 2016. We believe that realizing human rights is the essential first step to building just societies. Recently, UCP of Southwest Florida hosted a mock candidate’s forum; where individuals learned about the campaigning and election process. A tremendous thanks to Heather Wysocki, Voter Education Coordinator, Office of the Honorable Jennifer J. Edwards, Supervisor of Elections who created ballots for our Naples “special election.” as well as for bringing voting equipment for training day. Every one had fun!!