Steptember is a four-week event to raise awareness and support for people with cerebral palsy and other disabilities. Beginning on September 3, teams from around the world will challenge themselves to take 10,000 steps a day and fundraise along the way— and nearly any activity, including biking, physical therapy and yoga, can be converted into steps. Find out more about the event and how you can participate on the Steptember website.
Team Hoyt will lend their “Yes You Can” attitude to rally teams participating in this year’s Steptember event. Last year, over 10,000 people worldwide participated in the challenge and raised nearly $1 million. Team Hoyt is committed to helping make this year’s event an even bigger success!
Rick Hoyt may use a wheelchair, but that has not stopped him from competing in over 1100 athletic events across the past 37 years. Together, Rick and his father Dick are known across the disability community and race circuit as Team Hoyt. They have run in 70 marathons – 32 of them being the Boston Marathon – and have competed in over 250 triathlons. After the pair’s first race in 1977, Rick said running felt like his disability disappeared. He felt free.
Rick was born in 1962 as a spastic quadriplegic with cerebral palsy– but despite these disabilities, Rick’s mind and spirit have always been strong. His family supported his quest for independence and inclusion in community, sports, education, and the workplace, culminating with his graduation from Boston University in 1993.
Dick travels the country doing corporate and community presentations, educating the public about disability awareness, and promoting the Team Hoyt motto: “Yes You Can.” Through his presentations, Dick shares his lifelong commitment to changing attitudes and educating others on the world of disabilities. We look forward to seeing this message empower Steptember affiliates, participants, and supporters to adopt the same mentality between now, the event’s conclusion on September 30th, and beyond!
“Our family is personally affected by disability and we know first-hand what perseverance can accomplish. Joining in the Steptember campaign, like a entering a marathon, is a way to show the world what you can do once you have committed to something,” said Dick Hoyt. “When asked to be a part of Stepember, Rick and I accepted right away, as this campaign aligns with the Team Hoyt mission of empowering people with disabilities”
“Dick and Rick Hoyt are the perfect ambassadors for Steptember. They truly embody their motto – “Yes You Can” – and show individuals with disabilities, their families, and the people who care about them how to ‘live a life without limits,’” said Stephen Bennett, President and CEO of UCP. “We are proud that they are on board to help inspire us all to take 10,000 steps a day toward an admirable goal.”
The Watertown Community Foundation awarded United Cerebral Palsy of MetroBoston a 2014 Educational Program Grant to support UCP's Creative Arts Program last night. We would like to thank the Watertown Community Foundation for their support, we are honored to receive this grant.
Through the Creative Arts Program, UCP provides opportunities for individuals with disabilities to participate in and explore a variety of classes and programs while providing an accessible space, assistive technology, and adapted equipment as needed. Some of the offerings over the past years have included adapted karate, photography, painting, watercolors, exploring art and food from other cultures, and healthy cooking classes.
Not only does the Creative Arts Program meet a need both socially and educationally for the individuals who participate in the classes, but an ongoing goal for UCP is to educate community members on the abilities of individuals with disabilities and how their often unrecognized skills can contribute to the community. UCP believes that it is important to focus on what the individuals supported can do, not what they can’t and to provide and support a Life without Limits for People with Disabilities. With that goal in mind, UCP has been able to hire Watertown High School students to serve as assistants within the classes. This opportunity has had a significant impact on the students who got to know and understand adults with disabilities despite their differences and going forward will impact how the students interact with people they may meet as they move on to college and their adult careers.
The funds requested from this grant would enable UCP to expand the program offerings, include classes specifically for children, enable the organization to continue to employ Watertown High School students and to be able to exhibit some of the art work within the community so as to expand upon the community educational component of the program.
To learn more about the Watertown Community Foundation, please visit http://www.watertownfoundation.org/.
Thank you to everyone that joined us at the Franklin Park Zoo and supported our Family Day event. It was a beautiful day to out with family and friends. Your contribution will go a long way to strengthen the programs and services for the individuals we serve.
We graciously thank Leonard, Mulherin and Greene, P.C. for their generosity as our ‘Life without Limits Gold Sponsor’ for a second year in a row.
Leonard Mulherin and Greene, P.C.
Arbella Insurance Foundation
Mr. Jason Archambault / Eastern Salt Company
Mr. George Curtis
Mr. Peter Howard
Middlesex Savings Bank
Tee Hole Sponsorship
Arcadis U.S. Inc.
ArcLIght Information Technology
Environmental Partners Group, Inc.
James Sheehan Landscaping
Mutual of America
O’Connor & Drew
The LaCivita Family
New England Golf Guide
We are proud to share this nomination letter sent to Boston.com's 'Salute to Nurses' for our very own nurse, Joan McGreal. Thank you for the amazing work you do!
In order to meet the ever changing needs of the community, UCP has recently expanded its programs. Creative In-Home Supports was founded to directly affirm our commitment to advancing the independence and productivity of the aging population. We were previously focused on state covered services, but are now offering services on a sliding fee scale, including case management, companionship, safety assessments, medication management, personal care attendants, and adult family/foster care.
Our first endeavor with this program is occupying a booth at the AARP Life@50+ event at the Boston Convention Center May 8th through May 10th. We are excited about expanding our reach to positively impact the lives of more people, while having a greater presence in our community
UCP is looking for a part time RN to work in the Adult Family Care program (AFC). This is a flexible 20 hour a week position.
Qualifications: RN with Massachusetts current license. Candidate must have familiarity with disability population.
Responsibilities: The RN is essential to the AFC department to ensure quality services to consumers through adherence to regulations and expectations set by funding sources. The RN is the leader in the department for clinical assessments of consumer’s needs and acts as the liaison to various involved parties to the consumers programs. Work closely with the AFC Program Team to respond to inquiries and any issues presented to the team. Conduct in home assessments throughout Massachusetts to determine eligibility for MassHeath funded services. Attend MassHealth meetings and respond to clinical inquiries and clinical referrals from the Division of Medical Assistance.
UCP is an equal opportunity employer.
Make a Difference; Come Join our Team!
Thank you for your interest in United Cerebral Palsy of MetroBoston. The staff at UCP of MetroBoston are dedicated to supporting people with cerebral palsy and other disabilities and committed to disability awareness. Are you interested in making a difference? Browse our list of open positions and submit your resume today.
Click here for the Job Application.
UCP is partnering with UNO Pizzeria and Grill! From April 13 through April 20, all you have to do is print out this ticket and bring it with you to any participating UNO locations. A portion of your check will come right back to support our programs and services! The more people that go, the more money we raise to continue advancing out mission of advancing the independence, full citizenship and productivity of people with disabilities. Please print and share the ticket with your friends and families. Thank you for your support!
Participating UNOs locations: Dedham, Harvard Square, Huntington Ave, Boylston Street, and Kenmore Square.
In honor of Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day, we asked Phil what he thought the world should know about Cerebral Palsy. See what he had to say.
The Painting Group at Community Experience learned about Russian painter Kandinsky and created their own impressions of his circle paintings.
The Connections Group at our day services program received a visit from a Veterinarian and a dog named Jackie. The group invited Susan, a Veterinarian, to come speak to them about her job. They also had Emily (a Marquardt volunteer) and her dog, Jackie, come so that they could all pet the dog and ask questions about her.
Each group member was given an opportunity to ask questions about Susan's job and they prepared their questions before her visit. Each person knew exactly what they wanted to say and when to say it and the whole exchange was effortless and very educational. Some of the clients were able to ask their questions independently while other clients were able to ask questions using a device that played pre-recorded questions. UCP group leaders also assisted clients by reading out loud questions that clients had written down. All group participants were very interested in what Susan had to say and listened intently.
Submitted by Brenda
Here is Brian using his Livescribe pen. The pen is beneficial because Brian can activate the pen with one hand independently and can record his school lectures and can record his own voice since he cannot write. He has set up an Evernote account and keeps his files there. What he records can be retrieved on his computer to be used at a later date. Brian thinks the smart pen is amazing and thinks it will be very helpful with his school work as he continues to master all of the features. We feel that it is great because it fosters independence thus increasing his self esteem in the school setting.
For more information about the Livescribe pen click here.
We'd like to wish you a wonderful and safe New Year's Eve. Happy New Year!
UCP's Craft Fair is being held at our Community Experience day program today until 2:30pm. If you're in the Watertown area today, be sure to check it out. There will be jewelry, holiday decorations, and even tasty treats.
Our Community Experience program is located at 122 Main Street Watertwon, MA 02472. Hope to see you there!
Up until a couple of weeks ago, Charlie had to rely on his Personal Care Attendants or UCP Case Manager to browse the web. With the help of Easter Seals, Charlie is now able to take on the web himself. Charlie's laptop has been adapted so that he can use it from his power wheelchair. The laptop sits on an articulating arm and his pointer can be controlled by a joystick that Charlie manipulates with his mouth. Last week, Charlie made his first online purchase, a thermos, just in time for the cold weather. When asked what he thought about his new laptop setup Charlie said, "It leads to my complete normal participation as a citizen in cyberspace."
Meet the inspiration for Team Stepping Stones for Stella!
Stella, a vivacious and energetic 4 ½ year old truly lives by our tagline…Life without limits… and through her family’s love, support and unstoppable drive they make it their mission to see that it happens every single day of Stella’s life. Stella has cerebral palsy.
Stella’s schedule is quite hectic as it’s filled with school, play dates, medical appointments, participating in an integrated gymnastics program with her aide, swooshing down the slopes in an adaptive ski program and playing with her sister Chloe creating unique arts and crafts activities or plays with their American Girl dolls. But Stella’s favorite activity is “hanging out at the beach” whether playing in the sand or swimming in the water. More to come on the beach!
Two years ago, Stella’s mom, Nicole reached out to UCP of MetroBoston in an effort to connect with other families who have children with disabilities; to share experiences, resources and could relate to everyday situations that impact their lives. She was driven to our organization when she read our tagline, since her personal philosophy mirrors ours. With the support of family, friends and the community, Nicole formed the ‘Walk and Roll’ Team Stepping Stones for Stella and to this day has raised thousands of dollars to support our organization. Our ‘Walk and Roll’ impacted Nicole in a way that she couldn’t imagine. While the Team was walking as a whole for Stella and individuals with disabilities, at the conclusion of the event she became a “just a parent watching the children have fun on the playground with other families who faced the same challenges that Stella does”.
Stella loves the beach but the daily summer outings are not without difficulties since pushing Stella’s wheelchair in the sand is not an easy task. Through the determination and help of her family, Stella’s grandfather who is an engineer, designed a children’s beach buggy to make the adventure of going to the beach a bit easier filled with smiles for all. See you on the beach, Stella!
For more information on Stella and her beach buggy, log on to: www.steppingstonesforstella.org.
Submitted by Ashley Pratte, MS CCC-SLP
Last month, I ventured to the Northeastern University Communication Analysis and Design Lab (Cad Lab) with Todd Kates and Shawn Ricketts. According to their website, they are “an interdisciplinary research group focused on the study of speech communication in typically developing talkers and individuals with neuromotor speech impairments; this basic science knowledge is then applied toward the design of technologies that enable, enrich, and enhance communication.” They have a lot of current projects that I think will be great in helping the communication needs of some of our clients in the future! One of the graduate students in the lab, Miriam Zisook, is interested in doing research into the social aspects of communication. Her eyes lit up when I told her we actually just started a Social Skills group at CE, so we invited her to come check it out! She decided that she’d like to start a project with some clients at CE where they design something that will represent social information that they would like conveyed to their communication partners. See sample pictures below. Here is a little more about Miriam and her project:
Ashley: Can you tell us a little bit about your graduate research thus far?
Miriam: I’m a second year phd student and I work on communication with people with disabilities. A lot of my work so far has had to do with using physiology which is different ways the body responds to stress and figuring out if we can learn from people’s emotions and behaviors from that. Now I’m trying to shift to thinking about social communication and, I think people design communication devices for really functional communication, like asking for things and saying basic needs, and not enough about social stuff. Like expressing their feelings and personality and who you are, and I want to work on involving people with disabilities in the design process. I’m hoping that means when we design stuff, it will actually reflect what people care about and want.
Ashley: Can you tell us what you’re hoping to learn from or accomplish her with us at UCP?
Miriam: Well, you have a really fun group of adults with disabilities, so I’m excited about getting involved on this side and being able to contribute to what they want these things to be, which is sort of exciting for me. I think figuring out what’s important to people and what they care about. Also, this is a place that people are being super patient with me learning how to do this so it’s a nice place to start the project, since people are so agreeable!
Ashley: Great, we’re really excited for this partnership!
The Profiles of Personal Care Settings workshop will be held at the Watertown Public Libary Wednesday, November 11, from 7pm - 8:30pm. This workshop will examine alternatives to group home and nursing home placement. Adult Family Care (AFC) and Personal Care Attendant (PCA) Management Services are different ways to provide resources, support and education to people with disabilities. These ways of meeting personal care needs enables these individuals to continuing living successfully in the community and pursuing their goals.
For more information please visit our workshop page.