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Charlie Bonilla Promoted to Staffing Coordinator

I’m very excited to announce that Charlie Bonilla has been promoted from his role as a DSP to fill the role of Staffing Coordinator within the Clinical & Day Services Department.  Charlie joined the department as a DSP about 18 months ago and quickly became a stellar team member who could consistently fill difficult assignments.  Charlie’s team members consistently describe him as calm, confident, communicative, and eager and willing to learn new things.  Charlie brings his experience within Support, Inc. and that willing eagerness to learn new things and take on new challenges to the Staffing Coordinator role.  I’m really looking forward to Charlie’s contributions to our department and have no doubt that his impact will be felt positively throughout the organization. 

Outside of his work with Support, Inc., Charlie is actively involved in a band as a vocalist, is a filmmaker, and an audio engineer.  Can’t wait to add Charlies talents to our team!

Emily

Emily Minear Joins Support as Our New Day Services Supervisor

Please join us in welcoming our new Day Services Supervisor, Emily Minear 

Emily Minear has joined the team as a Day Services Supervisor! Emily comes to us with experience as a trainer, supervisor, recruiting and hiring manager, and service operations director. Emily’s previous work experience has primarily been in the food and beverage/service industry as the operations manager of a golf club. A former University of Kansas Jayhawk, where she studied Arabic and Islamic studies, Emily is a recent addition to the Denver area and is excited about the Colorado community and lifestyle. In Emily’s free time she loves going to music festivals or concerts as well as hiking, camping, and exploring Colorado mountain towns with her boyfriend Alec and their miniature Australian shepherd Django.

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Additional Voting Information for Colorado Residents with Disabilities

Support, Inc. recently shared a post with critical voting information to review. Today we’re sharing an addition post with further details regarding the election.

To start, our Pop Culture Group (hosted by Meredith) is focusing on voting, every Tuesday from now until the election. For more information please contact Meredith at Meredith.Kane@supportinc.com.

Once you’re registered to vote, it’s time to find a polling place! Keep in mind, you’re able to vote by mail and at home, if need be. Otherwise, refer to this interactive polling locator to find a suitable location to vote. You can also search ballot drop box locations on this website, as well.

We know that voting can be tricky sometimes, when these questions are phrased in a way that can bring about confusion. Luckily, we have a few resources to help us understand the details of these measures and propositions.

  1. Ballotpedia
  2. Colorado Judicial Performance Information
  3. Developmental Pathways Explains a Few Propositions

If you choose to vote by mail, you can track your ballot in real time. Follow this link to check the status of your ballot.

The Arc of Colorado offers a full write-up on voting in the upcoming elections. And if you need a ride to the polls, please contact Cathy at Cathy.Kellogg@supportinc.com so she can get you connected with transportation as quickly as possible!

Lastly, we have FAQs for Voters with Disabilities.

Voters with Disabilities FAQs

Q1. If I use a wheelchair and my polling place is inaccessible to me, what can I do?

A1. State and federal laws require that every polling place be accessible. If your polling place is not accessible, make your local election office aware of any issues. Please refer to this list of county election office contacts to touch base with your local county election official.

You may also file a complaint under the federal Help America Vote Act (“HAVA”) with the Secretary of State’s office. Information about the HAVA Complaint Process is available on the Secretary of State’s website.

Q2. How will I receive my ballot?

A2. All Colorado voters receive mail ballots. Eligible voters with a disability may request to access their ballot and vote their ballot electronically. An eligible voter must print the voted ballot, the accessible ballot application, and sign the accessible ballot application. All of these materials must be returned together and returned through the USPS or in-person at a county drop-box or county VSPC. For your mail ballot to be counted, it must be received by the county clerk’s office no later than 7:00 PM on Election Day. If you did not mail your ballot in with enough time to meet the deadline, you MUST deliver it to your county clerk’s office by 7:00 PM on Election Day.

You may also vote in-person. To vote in-person, you must surrender your mail ballot and vote at a designated voter service and polling center. The deadline to vote in-person is 7:00 PM on Election Day.

Q3. I use a walker and have great difficulty walking long distances without sitting down to rest. My polling place is in a building that has designated accessible parking and an accessible entrance. However, the actual polling place within the building is located a significant distance from the entrance closest to the parking lot. What can I do?

A3. If you prefer to cast your ballot in person, rather than vote by mail, you might consider informing your county clerk about this problem. They may be able to relocate the polling location within the building. If this isn’t feasible, they may be able to place a chair or bench along the route so that you can rest.

Q4. I have a reading disability and have trouble reading and understanding what is printed on my ballot. I would like to be able to vote privately and without help. What are my rights?

A4. The federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) and Colorado laws require that voters with disabilities be able to cast their vote privately and without assistance. Each county has purchased accessible voting machines to be used in every polling place election. These new voting machines use assistive and adaptive technology to provide the opportunity for voters with a wide range of disabilities to vote privately and independently.

Q5. I have a mental disability. Are there any restrictions on my right to vote in Colorado?

A5. No. Although some states restrict those with mental disabilities from voting, no such restrictions exist under Colorado law.

Q6. I have a friend or a relative who is currently confined in a mental institution. Will they be given a ballot to vote?

A6. Section 1-2-103 of the Colorado Revised Statutes, specifies that individuals confined in a state institution with behavioral or mental health disorders “shall not lose the right to vote because of [their] confinement.” Meaning, that as long as the confined individual is otherwise eligible to vote, he/she will be given a ballot. Colorado law further requires that state institutions for person with behavioral or mental health disorders help assist confined individuals register to vote and obtain a mail ballot.

Q7. I have a relative or a friend who I do not believe can understand or cast a ballot. What can I do?

A7. Regardless of how others view an individual’s state of mind, if the individual has the ability to direct how they would like to vote and they are otherwise registered to vote, then they must be allowed to vote. What matters is the voter’s intent: if the voter’s intent can be determined, then the voter must be allowed to vote.

If the individual is unable to articulate his/her preference when voting, then others should not cast a vote for them.

Q8. What can I do if I believe that my voting rights have been violated?

A8. You can file an election complaint directly with the Secretary of State’s office at 1700 Broadway, Suite 200, Denver, CO 80290. The election complaint template can be found on the Secretary of State’s website within the Help America Vote Act link under the Election Laws, Rules, and Resources tab.

If you need assistance completing and filing your complaint, you may contact Disability Law Colorado. You can contact Disability Law Colorado by calling either their Denver office at 1-800-288-1376 or 303-722-3619 (TTY) or their Grand Junction office at 1-800-531-2105 (V/TTY).

As mentioned previously, our goal is to connect as many people receiving services to voting as possible by removing any potential barriers and eliminating any confusion. We are here for you and happy to help in any way that we can!
For further questions, comments or concerns related to voting, please email Support’s DEI Committee at DEICommittee@supportinc.com.

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Erik Nielsen Returns to Support as Associate Director of the Denver Metro 1 Team

Please join us in welcoming back Erik Nielsen:

It’s great to be back! I have re-joined the Support, Inc family as of August 17th after completing active duty service time with my Army Reserve unit this past year. It’s been my pleasure to reconnect with co-workers, providers, and clients over these past several days.

I’m excited to take on a new role within the company, now overseeing things for the Denver Metro 1 Residential Team. I will do my best to continue to provide the best service possible to the people we serve. Looking forward to talking with you soon!

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COVID-19 and Flu Season Updates

The following write-up was produced by our Associate Director of Quality Assurance, Laura Viers:

I hope this message finds you well. I wanted to provide a quick update on COVID-19 in the state.

On September 12th Governor Polis extended the statewide mask mandate. The mandate first went into effect in July and is reviewed every 30 days to extend the order as necessary. The order requires wearing a mask or face covering, that covers the nose and mouth, when entering or moving within any public indoor space.

Over the last few weeks, Colorado has seen an increase in positive COVID-19 cases and increased hospitalizations due to COVID-19. Colorado has moved to using a dial framework to determine the “openness” of each county. This is a change from the previous statewide level’s we saw several months ago. The dial framework has five levels and individual counties may move between these levels. Counties determine their level based on 1) new cases- the rate the virus is circulating in a county 2) percent positivity- is there sufficient COVID-19 testing to capture the rate of viral transmission  and, 3) the impact on local hospitals- whether hospitalizations are increasing, decreasing or stabilizing. Counties consult with CDPHE (Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment) to move to less restrictive levels when they meet and sustain all three of these metrics for two weeks. Use this link to see what level your county is in.

As Colorado experiences an overall increase in cases and hospitalization, it’s important we remain up to date and stay diligent to protect ourselves and others. The best way to protect yourself, the individual’s you support, and your family is to continue infection control practices. This includes wearing a mask when you are in public, staying 6 feet apart from people you don’t live with and wash your hands/ use hand sanitizer frequently especially after touching shared surfaces and before and after taking off your mask/ face covering. 

As summer comes to an end and fall is just around the corner, so if flu season. This year more than ever the CDC encourages people to get a flu vaccination. Everyone over the age of 6 months is encouraged to get a flu vaccine by the end of October. Vaccinations for high risk person’s is especially important. Many risk factors that put people at high risk for complications due to COVID-19 also put people at high risk for experiencing complications due to the flu. These risk factors shared by both viruses are; people over the age of 65, chronic health conditions including asthma, diabetes, heart and lunch conditions and women who are pregnant. COVID-19 and the flu share many similar symptoms which may make it difficult for physician’s to diagnosis which virus someone is suffering from. There are several options to get your flu shot however because of the pandemic and social distancing measures, most places will require an appointment. You can get a flu shot at your local pharmacy, community health clinic or primary care physician’s office, call first to schedule an appointment.

As always please don’t hesitate to reach out to myself or your RPC with any questions you have.

Thank you,

Laura Viers
Associate Director of Quality Assurance

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The Support, Inc. Difference

Support, Inc. has provided residential services to adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities for over 31 years. When you join the Support Family, you are guaranteed a strong and experienced team to meet your needs.

The Support Inc. Difference

Support provides exceptional customer service from day one. Our Intake Team scrutinizes referrals for person-specific details and takes a clinical approach to care. These referrals are not “just another number”. First, we scour every referral to be sure we are able to meet the individual’s needs. Whether you take the Family Caregiver Route or Host Home, we only accept referrals that we feel we are able to accommodate. We do everything we can to get creative with our solutions. By being more selective from the get-go, we reduce the likelihood of someone “blowing out” from their placement. Support is committed to long-term placements and as such, we do everything we can to ensure a solid match the first time around. With over 200 people in services, we can assure you that our creative and flexible approaches to problem-solving have led to excellent outcomes for those we serve.

If for some reason we need another option, we have plenty of Host Homes to choose from. This year alone, the Intake Team has onboarded over 70 new providers, and this doesn’t include the providers we’ve contracted with for many years. From Fort Collins down to Colorado Springs, Support has quite a few providers to choose from-let us find you the perfect match!

For those that opt for Family Caregiver, we have a committee dedicated to making this waiver as easy as possible for our new families coming into services. Our Family Caregiver Committee has dedicated countless hours to reviewing the family caregiver model and experience. We started by examining the onboarding process. Families go through so much to get into services, so we drastically reduced the amount of items needed to get onboarded as an employee. In addition, with ADP (our payroll system), we now have an online and paper option to get going as an employee. The committee also reviewed our training and regulatory training requirements to remove trainings that aren’t relevant or needed for a family who has been living in the world of IDD services for many years.

Ultimately, we focus on how to meet regulations while supporting families to be a family. And if the customer service alone doesn’t set us apart, our individualized budgets truly go above and beyond to meet the needs of the family. We design them to allow for far more flexibility than other agencies (vacations, rent/bill support, hobbies and interests of the individual, etc.). We also review them on a regular basis to ensure it continues to meet the families needs.

Lastly, we have our PCA option available to people in services. This can work a few different ways-sometimes we help our individuals switch the lease from one agency to the next while remaining in the same apartment. We’ve also assisted with moving our residents to a new setting and helping locate the perfect apartment. Our coordinators can help you find a place to live. You would be hard-pressed to identify a living situation we have yet to tackle. Support offers flexible living options, and we also have experience with working alongside HUD inspectors and maintaining Section 8 housing vouchers.

Aside from our residential services, we offer clinical services in-house. And did we mention our amazing Nursing Team and Benefits Specialist? Support, Inc. offers well-rounded, person-centered services with unmatched customer service. At Support, we are redefining the life experience for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Learn more about the supports we offer by contacting our Intake Team at Intake@supportinc.com.

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Voting Information

With the election coming up, Support is relaying critical voter information for those residing in Colorado. From voting deadlines to voter registration, there’s plenty to track in the next few weeks.

Even though there’s deadlines to meet and requirements to vote, this doesn’t mean that voting has to be difficult! Coloradoans are fortunate to live in a state where vote-by-mail is easily accessible. Furthermore, our Secretary of State Jena Griswold has provided additional voting options for people with disabilities with electronic ballot access from home.
And even though we recommend registering to vote soon, you can also register to vote on Election Day if need be. We strongly support individuals with disabilities having access to the polls-we ultimately want to help make this process as seamless and easy to understand as possible.

So let’s talk about voting deadlines and how to register to vote. First, we have the deadlines to cover:

Important dates to know for Election 2020

Oct. 9

  • Ballots start to get mailed out to active voters

Oct. 19

  • Drop boxes open to start accepting ballots
  • Voting and polling centers open

Oct. 26

  • Last day to update your registration to receive a ballot by mail
  • Last day to mail your ballot back

Oct. 27

  • You can no longer mail your ballot back! Drop it off in a ballot box, or head to a polling center.

Nov. 3

  • Election Day
  • Last day to vote — ballots must be received by 7 p.m.
  • In Colorado, you can both register to vote and vote on Election Day

If you prefer, take a screenshot of this image and save it to your phone. Pro tip: Saving reminders in your phone can help you remember to meet the deadlines in a timely manner.

Next, we have registration information:

To register in Colorado you must:

  • be a citizen of the United States
  • be a resident of Colorado for at least 22 days immediately before the Election in which you intend to vote
  • be at least 16 years old, but you must be at least 17 and turning 18 on or before the date of the next general election to be eligible to vote in a primary election, and at least 18 to be eligible to vote in any other election
  • not be serving a sentence of detention or confinement for a felony conviction
  • *find more information on voting rights restoration here

How to register to vote:

  1. You can register online if you have an active Colorado driver’s license or ID card. If you don’t have a Colorado-issued ID, you can still register to vote by mail or in person. Here is a link to the website where you can register: https://www.sos.state.co.us/voter/pages/pub/olvr/verifyNewVoter.xhtml  You can register to vote up until election day in Colorado, but Monday, October 26th, 2020 is the deadline to register to vote and receive a ballot by mail. Monday the 26th is also the deadline to submit a ballot by mail and ensure it is counted. If you fill out a ballot after the 26th, you can still drop it off at a ballot box or polling center.
  2. Register by mail a registration form is attached, and can also be found online at: https://www.sos.state.co.us/pubs/elections/vote/VoterRegFormEnglish.pdf

If you are a resident of Colorado and do not have a Colorado ID, or you just prefer to send your form by mail, you may register this way. Keep in mind that your registration needs to be received by the 26th in order for you to receive a ballot through the mail.

3. Eligible voters with a disability may request to access a ballot and vote electronically. Voters with a disability can now vote an electronic ballot independently and privately from their own home or other location. During the 22 days before and on election day, the electronic ballot access website, myballot.sos.colorado.gov., will guide you through the process of voting your ballot. Once you have voted your ballot, you must print the completed ballot, print the accessible ballot application provided, and then sign the accessible ballot application. All of these materials must be returned together. You may return your printed ballot materials in person to either a county drop-box or voter service and polling center or through the mail. Your ballot and application must be received no later than 7 PM on election day.

4. Register to vote in-person. Registering to vote in-person may be done at a physical office, which includes:

-A Colorado Department of Motor Vehicle office when you apply for a driver’s license, or when updating your driver’s license information;

-Offices that provide public assistance, including offices that provide state funded programs primarily engaged in providing services to person with disabilities;

-Recruitment offices of the armed forces of the United States;

-Any federal, state, or local government office or any nongovernment office that chooses to provide voter registration service or applications; or

-A voter service and polling center.

 Not sure if you are registered or want to check your address? Review your status here: https://www.sos.state.co.us/voter/pages/pub/olvr/findVoterReg.xhtml

Again, readers can save this image to their phones as a guide to voter registration. Set alarms in your phone to remind you to register to vote soon!

Plain Language Voting Guide

Perhaps the best resource we could relay would be the Plain Language Guide for individuals with disabilities. The Arc of Larimer County has pieced together this important guide that covers a variety of topics, such as what is voting, who can vote, and what to do when your voting rights have been denied. To learn more, follow this link.

This information was sourced from the Colorado Secretary of State website and The Arc of Larimer County and is part of an initiative by the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council to share voting information and resources. Be on the lookout for further information and related updates in the Support, Inc. Newsletter and on the Support, Inc. Facebook page. at www.facebook.com/supportinc1989

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Nicholas Manning Promoted to Director of People Services

Nick Manning has been appointed as the Director of People Operations, formerly called Human Resources. Nick has been working towards his Doctorate in Business Administration, with specific focus in Organizational Development, to learn more about organizational development and human resource practices. This learning has centered around modern-day techniques in the design of a system that not only covers the technicalities of the traditional human resource focus, but how these functions can support real human development, diversity, and partnerships throughout the entire organization.

With this educational focus, combined with his many years of outstanding general management experience and relentless pursuit of developing people, we expect Nick to be a catalyst for evolving our human resources and add significant value to what we do every day. Thank you Nick for your contributions to the agency thus far, and we look forward to the progress you make in the upcoming weeks and months.

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LIFE Club Events This Week!

Tuesday, September 29

Pop Culture Group: Voting and Civic Engagement

When:  Tuesday, September 29 from 10:00am-11:00am

What:  Pop Culture Group is an opportunity for clients to come together and connect over their common interests and explore new ideas at the same time. Come for an opportunity to express your human rights. We will learn about government, civic engagement, and how to participate. Why is everyone talking about registering to vote?! Let’s find out! Pop Culture Group is open to all.

Instructions:  In order to participate, please follow https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83324855770 at 10:00am to participate. Everyone is welcome! Contact meredith.kane@supportinc.com for any questions. All are welcome!

LIFE Club:  Spooky Snacks

When:  Tuesday, September 29 from 5:00pm-6:00pm

What: Join us for an evening of friendship, discussion, and learning! These interactive groups will focus on developing skills and confidence for social situations in a way that is fun and informative! It’s time for another Spooktacular cooking tutorial! Join us as we make all sorts of creepy crawly snacks like ghosts and spiders. This is a great way to kick off the fall season! A list of suggestions is attached to this email. LIFE Club is open to all.

Instructions:  In order to participate, please follow https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88541386228 at 5:00pm to participate. Contact christopher.sharkey@supportinc.com or gwen.bonilla@supportinc.com for any questions. Everyone is welcome!

Wednesday, September 30

Moving and Grooving:  Dance Party!

When:  Wednesday, September 30 from 12:00pm-1:00pm

What:  We will join together to discuss life’s stressors while improving the physical health of our bodies to create a healthy lifestyle by learning helpful social and exercise habits. Thisgroupwill incorporate a different movement activity every session. This week is all about disco! Learn how funky dance moves can be a fun form of exercise. This is a great opportunity to be active during a virtual time. Adaptable for all abilities! Moving and Grooving is open to all.

Instructions:  In order to participate, please follow https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85277454478  at 12:00pm to participate. Everyone is welcome! Contact ashley.treiber@supportinc.com or meredith.kane@supportinc.com for any questions. Everyone is welcome!

Thursday, October 1

Touching Stories

When:  Thursday, October 1 from 11:00am-12:00pm

What: Touching Stories is a unique therapy model, specifically designed for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, that pairs the social and emotional learning of story with sensory integration activities in a way that is educational, engaging, and simply, a lot of fun! We have adapted our Touching Stories for at home use. Gwen and Meredith will first lead participants in a scavenger hunt for the sensory items needed for the stories (all items are common items found in every home) and then will tell the sensory-based stories to the group. Please see the attached list for scavenger hunt items. If you are curious to learn more, please watch this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EcjzvevJ9_w&t=67s. Touching Stories is open to all.

Instructions:  In order to participate, please follow https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86143640216 at 11:00am to participate. Everyone is welcome! Contact gwen.bonilla@supportinc.com or meredith.kane@supportinc.com for any questions. Everyone is welcome!

Friday, October 2

Pop Culture Group: Don’t be a Scaredy Cat

When:  Friday, October 2 from 12:00pm-1:00pm

What:  Pop Culture Group is an opportunity for clients to come together and connect over their common interests and explore new ideas at the same time. Join us as we talk about ghost stories, Halloween, and about how other cultures celebrate this time of year. This is what we have all been waiting for! Bring your talents, enthusiasm, and support for our friends as we show off our talents and talk about our favorite hobbies. Make sure to invite everyone in your house to show off your new skills in performance! Pop Culture Group is open to all.

Instructions:  In order to participate, please follow https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83324855770 at 12:00pm to participate. Everyone is welcome! Contact meredith.kane@supportinc.com for any questions. All are welcome!

Items Needed for Thursday, October 1

We’ll do two stories:

Stone Soup Scavenger Hunt!

Draw or cut out pictures of

  1. A potato
  2. A tomato
  3. An onion
  4. A zucchini

Find the following items:

  1. A large cooking pot
  2. A flat, round rock (about the size of your hand)
  3. Black pepper
  4. A shirt with a pocket (put the potato picture in the pocket)
  5. A folded blanket or towel (put the tomato picture within the folds)
  6. A pair of pants with a pocket (put the picture of the onion in the pocket)
  7. A boot (put the picture of the zucchini in the boot)
  8. A large spoon
  9. A plate (preferably plastic or metal)
  10. An apple (or something that smells like apple)

Lay the items out in order.  Position the client so that (s)he is sitting at a table

Writing Our Own Story!

*Let’s work together and create our own story for Touching Stories. The only thing you need to bring is yourself.

Spooky Snacks For LIFE Club

Suggested items for Spooky Snacks! (Any or all that you can get at the store or have on hand)

Marshmallows

Stick pretzels

Apple Slices

Carmel Dip

Mini Carrots

Peanut butter

Graham Crackers

Popcorn

Raisins

Candy Corn