UCP's community garden plot (located in Hazelwood Community Gardens) is in full swing. Lots of people we support (and employees!) love to visit, taking a little time to pull a few weeds, plant, or water.
This year, they will be in the company of UCP's new scarecrow. The scarecrow was created by some of our very creative Choices Support Specialists.
Thanks, and we look forward to seeing you there!
Please join us in welcoming John Goff, UCP’s new Community Services Director. As Community Services Director, John will oversee UCP's supported living and community inclusion ("Choices") services.
John came to us from the east coast, where he served as the Executive Director of a large non-profit that supports adults with disabilities through residential, recreational, and individualized supported employment services. Prior to his work on the east coast, John spent 10 years in Oregon, where he served adults and youth with disabilities in different capacities.
John first became interested in disability issues as a teenager while volunteering at a UCP affiliate in New York. He has dedicated his career to empowering people with disabilities ever since.
John is committed to the mission and values of UCP, and is very excited to have returned to the Northwest community. In his free time, he enjoys exploring Oregon’s outdoor spaces with his wife and two sons, and rock climbing whenever he gets the chance.
UCP’s Choices program provides support to individuals who experience disabilities so that they can participate in community-based recreation, leisure, education, or the volunteer activities of their choice.
One of the best things that comes out of Choices are amazing new community partnerships.
Vernon Halls is the Assistant Team Leader of the Choices program, and it just so happens that he is also an avid model builder. He’s been shopping at Bridgetowne Hobbies for years. Four years ago, he discovered that some of the people we support also like to make models, so he started taking some of the people we support to Bridgetowne.
Ever since then, Bridgetowne’s owner, Bill Daemke, has had a dramatic impact on the people we support. Bill always takes the time to engage, visit, and help us in our model building endeavors. Last year, Bill and Vernon decided to hold a model building class for the people we support.
The first model building class was a hit! Bill was there every step of the way, teaching UCP staff and a person we support how to build models from the ground up, showing us some tricks and short cuts along the way. It truly was a great time.
The first class was such a success that we decided to have another! This time, we had the pleasure of having a volunteer, Dan Evans, join us. Dan is a semi-retired Portland Public School and a Bridgetowne customer who also loves models. So another friendship has been formed.
Our next model building class (to be held in July) will have a Star Wars theme of Rebels vs. Empire. Half of the group will be building X-Wings and the other half will build TIE Fighters. This theme has generated a lot of excitement and anticipation among our group. July can’t come soon enough.
Thank you to Bill, Dan and Bridgetowne Hobbies for making a “Community for Everyone”! Find out more about Bridgetowne here.
Thanks to a generous donation of complimentary admission tickets from the Oregon Auto Dealers Association, a large group of Choices Program and Supported Living customers along with their UCP support staff were able to attend and explore the 2013 Portland International Auto Show. This year’s show was packed with activities for all ages and abilities to enjoy and participate.
Performance Mobility (also friends of UCP) partnered with the Auto Show this year to design a ‘Mobility Zone’ showcasing specialized mobility equipment, accessible vans, trucks, and even motorcycles to reinforce the idea that despite barriers limiting a person’s physical abilities; there are tools available to live an active, fulfilling life without limits! One UCP customer, Ed M., was especially grateful for the opportunity to attend. As a lifelong hot rod and vintage classic car enthusiast Ed was all smiles for days leading up to and following the event.
We would like to extend special thanks to Greg Remensperger, Executive Vice President of Metro Portland New Car Dealers Association, and Jeff Fishback, Auto Show Director, for all of their hard work and dedication to this event and for exemplifying the kind of leadership and thinking that promotes full inclusion for all people within our communities and community based events.
Jodie uses UCP's Supported Living services to live independently in her own home, and she also uses UCP's Community Inclusion services to get out and enjoy her community. In particular, Jodie loves riding horseback. She first went to Sycamore Lane Therapeutic Riding Center in October of 2010, and ever since, Jodie hasn’t stopped riding… nor does she ever plan to!
Jodie has made lots of new friends, and gained all sorts of new skills. As Ellen, one of Jodie’s therapeutic riding instructors, says, “When Jodie first started, she needed to have a person support her by sitting behind her on the horse. Now, she can ride on her own and can even ride hands free! Jodie has progressed to riding more difficult horses and is working on balance and proper posture. She is an amazing rider. Everyone loves her dearly.”
Jodie believes that anyone who enjoys horseback riding should go visit this facility. She says, “it is fun, plus it makes you a lot stronger, and the volunteers are helpful.” She says that her favorite thing about riding is when she is lifted up into the air when getting situated on her horse. She says it feels like she is flying!
About Sycamore Lane
Sycamore Lane Therapeutic Riding Center’s mission is to provide and promote therapeutic riding and recreation in a safe, professional, nurturing environment to children and adults with mental and physical disabilities in the Portland metropolitan area. To learn more about Sycamore Lane, visit their website.
Jace is supported in UCP's Community Inclusion program, and is a vibrant and determined young man.
Jace has been the leading force in jumpstarting UCP's community garden plot. He has brainstormed and collaborated to find a place for everyone, whether it be figuring out accessibility for someone who uses a power wheelchair or finding a way for someone to get involved without getting dirty.
Jace is extremely creative, bright and inventive. These qualities are expressed often in his innovative forms of communication. Jace uses a brilliant mix of spoken words, ASL, his Dynavox communication device, body language, and contagious bursts of joy. He enthusiastically introduces himself and reaches out to new people wherever he goes. He is tenacious in explaining to others what he means, and revels when the communication is successful.
Gregarious Jace recently befriended a family from Laos at UCP's community garden plot. Their interactions were full of warmth and generosity and very few words. Lu loaned Jace a Laotion garden tool, and graciously proceeded to help weed UCP's plot. Jace shared his gratitude and made sure to remind Lu that whenever she needs a hand in return, he is ready and willing to assist.
Thanks to hard work from Jace and everyone else involved in the garden project, lettuce, kale, potatoes, berries and tomatoes have been planted; compost has been started; all paths to the garden have been made accessible; rocks have been painted to decorate the space; and composting will soon begin at the UCP offices as well.
Jace lives his life knowing not only that he is part of his community, but that he creates a sense of community wherever he goes. Thanks, Jace!
To find out more about Community Inclusion at UCP, click here.
Fishing can be a challenge for people with disabilities. There are rocky or hilly shores and inaccessible boats. Luckily, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is constantly seeking opportunities to improve accessibility so that people with all abilities and needs visit and enjoy their facilities.
Recently, Fish & Wildlife invited some of the people supported by UCP to try out a brand new accessible fishing platform. It was a day filled with fun, laughter—and, of course, fishing!
Read more about it at Fish & Wildlife’s blog.
Did you know that UCP recently started a new garden plot at Hazelwood Community Gardens? Lots of staff and people we support are involved, but this is the especial favorite of Jace Sakamoto (a person supported in UCP's Choices Program) and Clair Prichard (a Choices Support Specialist).
At the moment, Jace and Claire report that everyone is busy weeding, piling rocks and digging holes. Want to help? We'd love to see you there. Or maybe you have plants, seeds or tools to donate. Either way, please contact Kerry Pinney by or at 503-777-4166 ext. 353.
Thanks, and we look forward to seeing you there!