As you may know, SKIL Resource Center is a family-like social services agency. We love our customers! And we know you love getting out of your homes and enjoying activities. Every year we hold a number of activities and events for you, our beloved customers, including the free picnics at our branch locations, our July Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) public block party celebration, the Fishing without Boundaries day at the lake and our signature holiday event, “My Home for the Holidays,” which includes a free hot dinner, music, prizes, awards, a special speaker and SKIL’s annual board meeting open to the public.
We all deserve to celebrate our successes and participate in things that are important to us in life. No pandemic will change that. Despite the changes we are having to make because of the Coronavirus, we still intend to hold as many of our customer events and activities as possible; however, they may look different if there are possible future government safety requirements to follow. And though we have had to reschedule some activities like Fishing without Boundaries which will now be held in September instead of June, we are committed to going forward with our events!
Rest assured that the SKIL team continues to work hard for you. We’re brainstorming about creative ways to assure that we will hold as many of our events and activities as we can.
So, stay tuned. We look forward to being with you again soon. And always remember that we love every single one of you. Stay safe and be well.
The Spinal Cord Injury and Disability Research Center (SCIDR) at TIRR Memorial Hermann is recruiting for a study to test a psychological health promotion program for women with spinal cord injury (SCI).
The 10-week group program, Zest: A Psychological Health Promotion Program for Women with SCI, or simply Zest, is delivered in the online virtual world of Second Life. Eligible participants will be randomized (like flipping a coin) to either the Zest program or a control group. All participants will complete online assessments at three time points. Participants will receive a small payment for their time.
You may be eligible if you:
- Are a woman at least 18 years of age;
- Have had a traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) and are a least one year post injury;
- Have access to a computer with high speed internet connection;
- Are able to use a computer and communicate in online group conversations in English
We are conducting a survey to understand the experiences and support needs of families of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are a family member of a person with an intellectual or developmental disability, we ask that you click on the link below and complete the survey. The survey should take about 5 minutes to complete.
What is the purpose of the study?
We want to hear from you about your experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic, including the experiencs of your child or adult with a disability and your experiences receiving the support you need. This information will help us inform support providers and policy makers about the experiences of people with disabilities and their families during the pandemic.
Who can participate?
Familiy members of people with intellectual or developmental disabilities.
Where do I take the survey?
We hear a lot about healthcare workers on the front lines of the Coronavirus pandemic, and they are truly unselfish heroes who deserve much honor and praise.
People don’t always realize that, behind the scenes but still on the front lines at home, are the direct support workers, or DSWs. Direct support workers take care of many people with disabilities who choose to live in their own homes and communities instead of in a facility. The fact that DSWs are there day in and day out, to assure that individuals’ needs are met, makes them everyday heroes.
Throughout this pandemic, DSWs have had to face many new challenges. While much of our normal society has had to shut down, DSWs still have to meet the needs of their customers. Their ability to be resourceful, creative and loyal has become paramount to the survival of our thousands of customers with disabilities.
We hear about the numbers of people in nursing facilities who have been hit by this terrible virus. We realize now, more than ever, how important it is for people to be able to stay in their own homes and communities instead of a nursing home. We appreciate and honor the vital importance of these everyday heroes, the direct support workers.
My thanks and love to each and every one of you and the people that you serve,
Even though we are in a pandemic, we continue to stand up and fight for you and all people with disabilities. Before the Coronavirus pandemic, some of us from the SKIL family, including myself, other staff, board members and customers, went to the Capitol Statehouse in Topeka to fight for Medicaid expansion. This vital issue has not yet been resolved, so we will continue to advocate for its passage.
Regarding COVID-19, we have been involved in a number of efforts, including:
- Partnering with other organizations in Kansas on systems advocacy efforts at the State level, to get the State of Kansas to adjust programs and services to meet the needs of people with disabilities, such as Home and Community Based Services (HCBS), Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), food assistance, cleaning and hygiene supplies, shelter, etc.
- Fighting for systems change and funding at the federal level, to help people with disabilities during this crisis;
- Writing Kansas Governor Laura Kelly a list of concerns that would impact Kansans with disabilities through the crisis that was just beginning to affect our state at the time, recommending many changes including regarding HCBS, healthcare, education, Community First, housing, public accommodations, and involving people with disabilities in all levels of planning;
- Advocating for changes in the Waivers submitted by the State of Kansas that are not focused enough on the people receiving services rather than the providers;
- Continuing to advocate for individuals who remain on waiting lists for HCBS, and who are receiving no services in the meantime;
- Advocating against the State of Kansas’ alleged horrifying policy to medical providers regarding medical rationing, and obtaining attention and media coverage about this issue;
- Utilizing our website and social media to educate about the needs and discrimination of people with disabilities during the pandemic;
- SKIL has begun assisting individuals in exercising their right to file an Olmstead complaint with the U.S Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Civil Rights (HHS OCR); their freedom of continuing to live in the community is being allegedly threatened with institutionalization as a result of needs not being met due to COVID-19. Staff will assist individuals in completing a complaint form which SKIL will submit to OCR, and continue in close contact with these individuals to assure that we do not lose contact with them and that their rights are not violated.
- We have been working on getting funding sources to provide food, paper goods, hygiene products and cleaning supplies to our customers.
These and other efforts for you continue to prove that love is not only a word. It is not only a feeling. It is, at its core, an action. We will keep on working for you!