“It’s kind of amazing. One year you’re going this way, then the next you’re in a completely different place.”
Twenty year old Jamison Cowling knows well of what he speaks. 2017 was a deeply challenging year for the Estacada resident. Jami, who experiences autism, has spent the last year and a half adjusting to life after a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI.)
In March of 2017, he was involved in a snow-tubing accident that left him with a broken neck, broken back, fractured skull, and brain hemorrhage. The months that followed were painful and difficult, requiring around the clock care as he slowly learned to walk and communicate again. He found comfort in family support, friends, and his faith.
Says mother Beki, “When I first received the call letting us know he had been injured and was being loaded into an ambulance, my world tilted for a minute… I struggled to breathe. And then our whole family sort of went on pause for months and months while we helped Jami deal with his TBI and we advocated for all the supports he needed.”
In the early days following his discharge from the hospital, Jami slept twenty-two hours a day at times, requiring around the clock supports. His parents balanced helping Jami recover with raising his four younger siblings. “It was so hard for Jami, but he was strong,” says Beki. “A brain injury changes everything.”
He underwent extensive occupational, speech, and neurofeedback therapy and credits the exceptional supports he received from Dr. Swingen, a chiropractic functional neurologist in SW Portland, with crafting an individualized physical therapy plan that eventually got him back on his feet.
Building a Circle of Support
The life he leads today is light years away from where things were for him and his family just eighteen months ago. Soon after the accident, he enrolled as a customer of Independence Northwest support services brokerage. “Options matter,” says Beki. “The whole last year has been about creating the right Team Jami.”
Team Jami is made up of friends, family members, and paid home and community-based supports. By combining supports from his brokerage Personal Agent, medical professionals, a behavior specialist, and Personal Support Workers to help him increase his independent living skills, Jami has been able to build a firm foundation for his new life.
Success rarely comes in a straight line. As soon as he was feeling well and stable enough, Jami set his sights on employment. His initial attempt moving into the workforce wasn’t without its challenges. “I had a job and it wasn’t good for me,” he says, referring to a position he held about a year after the accident. His brain was still healing and he needed a low stress, adaptive environment. People in his circle noticed he was starting to struggle and became concerned things might be moving too swiftly. “We needed something different, something that would give me the space to think and do a good job.”
Jami’s Brokerage Personal Agent Andrea Ochsner brainstormed with the family on possible options to better support him in future job environments. She connected them with a Behavior Specialist by the name of Gabrielle Taylor, who soon joined the circle of support. Gabrielle worked with Jami to perform a functional behavior assessment, laying the groundwork for communication strategies at home and in future employment settings. “She really helped me,” he says.
Concurrently, Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor Mark Foster assisted Jami with developing an employment plan that focused on his strengths and capacities, bringing provider organization Adult Learning Systems of Oregon (ALSO) on board. ALSO helped Jami land a volunteer position with Store to Door, a nonprofit program where Jami grocery shopped on behalf of seniors and people with physical disabilities.
“Communication is everything and it furthers what Jami is able to do… (Personal Agent) Andrea has facilitated communication amazingly! She is very skilled at gathering the different members of Team Jami together, either by email or in-person meetings, and then diplomatically addresses sensitive issues in ways that put everyone at ease. When all of (us) are on the same page, then Jami wins. He gets clear, consistent, and congruent supports.”
Preparation, Connectivity, and Opportunity
In the fall of 2018, everything converged. Before he knew it, Jami was preparing for an interview with Fred Meyer.
“It shocked them I got this job so quick,” says Jami. “It was really fast.” He says the experience he gained as a volunteer at Store to Door helped pave the way for the position.
Today, Jami is working five days a week at a Fred Meyer in Clackamas County, a member of their Click List team. He reviews online grocery orders, shops the store for the items, and assists customers when they come to pick up their purchases.
“There’s a lot of variety in the job,” he says. “I have a lot less social anxiety. This weekend was Veterans Day and I thanked two veterans for their service. One served in the Vietnam War and really appreciated being thanked.”
Watching her son talk about his success, Beki beams with pride.
“When I think of all that Jami and our family has gone through in the last eighteen months, I am just so profoundly filled with gratitude that Jami is alive and breathing and walking and talking… Now we are seeing the fruits of all the efforts that everyone has made supporting our son and it is truly beautiful. We are getting our sweet Jami back and he is even better than before.”
Business partners Rex Goode and Drew Stinson didn’t realize that flexibility would be their new middle name when they founded Arise Mentors. Arise Mentors is this week’s provider spotlight because they currently have capacity to take on new customers. They focus on independent living and inclusion in the community with an aim for utmost flexibility and creativity. Learn more at their website www.arisementors.com.
AFE provides in-home, community inclusion, and job services for both adults and children. This values-based organization makes a strong commitment to matching families with the right provider upfront. They even publish biographies of all their employees on their website. Check them out here.
Independence Northwest is a proud sponsor again this year for the exceptional All Born (In) Conference.Registration is open now!
The annual All Born (in) Conference is an exciting day for parents, caregivers, and professionals working to end segregation in neighborhood schools and the community. It’s a day of celebrating community and learning how to use Universal Design for Learning and Best Practices to reach and teach every child. Share, learn and make connections so that we can all go forth to open the eyes of the wider community to the fact that our children are all born “in”. The Conference was founded by Northwest Down Syndrome Association in 2006 in partnership with Portland State University’s joint certification program and the Center on Inclusive Education. It has grown to be a cornerstone resource in the Northwest region, engaging many innovative parents, professionals, and community partners to embrace the gifts of every learner.
Brokerage customers with Family Training written into their ISP can use support services funding to pay customer and non-paid caregiver conference costs. Please contact your Personal Agent with any questions.
Full details about the conference can be found here.
Last night we held our first of three Focus Groups for our provider community and it was a great success! Huge thanks to Jessica Leitner for facilitating a lively, engaging, and community-building conversation.
Thank you to Compass Career Solutions, Advocates for Empowerment, Eastco Diversified Services, EQC Home Care, Trellis Inc., Arise Mentors, Hosanna Homes, Community Access Services , Mentor Network andPacific Opportunities for giving us your time and energy to help make our community stronger.
If you live in Washington County then you should check out Ability Training Services. This amazing group not only supports people with training, activities and learning based retreats, they help coordinate a central calendar with other agencies in order to help friends meet up in the community! ATS believes that everyone deserves encouragement, motivation and the tools necessary to grow.
This Week’s Provider Spotlight: Looking for quality in home care and respite? Then check out Cornerstone Inclusion Supports. Focused on highly individualized supports, staff from CIS will meet with you to help you (and your family) to determine your needs. In addition to traditional supports, CIS also supports small groups to meet up in the community, mostly just friends who want to hang out together.
For more information, check with your Personal Agent.
This week’s Provider Spotlight is Creative Goal Solutions – they’ve made a BIG SPLASH in Clackamas and Washington counties with their awesome community activity schedule. Groups from CGS attend festivals, concerts, museums and more! There are groups focused on sports, outdoors and nightlife as well as music and dance.
Albertina Kerr is pretty well known around the Portland Metro area but did you know that they currently have openings in their day program?
This week’s Provider Spotlight is on Kerr’s Activity and Recreation services, some at Port City in North Portland and elsewhere in the community. One of their groups called Open Signal recently made their own movie! At their gallery called Art from the Heart, Kerr participants have the opportunity to grow creatively through art and make money!
This week’s provider spotlight is on Abilities at Work who is changing the face of today’s workforce. In partnership with Portland-Metro employers they support wage-based job opportunities for people with developmental disabilities. They currently serve over 100 people through Discovery, Job Development & Placement and Job Coaching. On the west side of town they offer computer and job skill classes to help people prepare for a job in the community.
Welcome to PROVIDER SPOTLIGHT, a new series to shine a light on the creative work of our providers in the Metro area. This week’s focus is on Bridge City Mentors.
Bridge City Mentors takes their name to heart by mentoring adults with disabilities to be independent in all activities. Whether that’s in home activities like chores and cooking, or community based activities, BCM offers lots of groups for those with diverse interests. BCM also offers respite for caregivers and is accepting new customers in the Washington County area. Check out some of their amazing pictures on their Facebook page.
Welcome to INW’s PROVIDER SPOTLIGHT, a new series to shine a light on the creative work of our providers in the Portland metro area. This week’s focus is on Amie’s Community Care.
Founded by Amie Scott, ACC proudly serves 170 people in the Portland area. In addition to in home supports and help with housing, ACC coordinates outings with 9 other agencies so that adults with disabilities can meet up in the community and make new friends. Amie believes strongly in “goodness of fit” and starts off every new referral with a personal meet and greet.
INW Hosting Day and Evening Info Sessions on Adult In-Home Services this October
In the last few weeks, Personal Support Workers and brokerage customers should have received information directly from the State of Oregon and/or SEIU regarding an important change just around the corner. For a good many years, TNT Fiscal Intermediary Services has issued paychecks for PSWs serving our customers. TNT’s contract with the state ends at the end of 2016 and a new agency, PCG Public Partnerships LLC (known as PPL) will be taking over this responsibility. So in the very near future, Personal Support Workers will stop getting payment from TNT and start getting payment from PPL.
What does this mean to Personal Support Workers and Customer-Employers?
Transition time is very tight on this, so be sure you’re responsive and get the help you need! If packets are not completed and processed by the end of the year, payment for services may be affected. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to PPL for help.
Resources and Help
Here’s a great list of resources to help you get started:
The Office of Developmental Disability Services (ODDS) is hosting two Community Forums in Portland to discuss the vision for the future of services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Ensuring the principles of self-determination is the core of our vision.
People with intellectual and developmental disabilities who receive services and their families, as well as providers, Community Developmental Disability Programs (CDDPs) and Support Service Brokerages are encouraged to attend. (Brokerages provide services to eligible adults living in their own or their family’s home to help them remain in their homes and be engaged in their communities.)
Tuesday, Dec. 15, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities who receive services and their families
Wednesday, Dec. 16, 1 to 4 p.m., for CDDPs, Brokerages and Providers
Portland Community College, Cascade Campus, Moriarty Auditorium, 705 N. Killingsworth Street, Portland.
There will be a short presentation followed by a group discussion. This is one in a series of Community Forums throughout the state.
If you have a disability and need this document in another format, please send an email to DHS.Forms@state.or.us or contact the Office of Document Management at 503-378-3523;
TTY at 503-378-3523.
To find the closest DHS office, go to www.oregon.gov/dhs or contact 211Info for help. You can contact 211Info by dialing 2-1-1, visiting 211info.org online, texting your zip code to 898211, or e-mailing to email@example.com.
Join Jenny and Caitlyn on April 8th here at INW for April Craft Night, 4:30PM! This month, we’ll be painting wooden birdhouses in preparation for spring! RSVP by calling 503.546.2950 or emailing Rachel at firstname.lastname@example.org. See you then!
Seats are filling up very fast this month! Our March 12th forum is at capacity, but there’s still space for our March 26th evening session. Save your space by calling Rachel at 503.546.2950 or emailing email@example.com. Lots of developments this month. We look forward to seeing you there.
Join us on Tuesday March 11th from 4:30 to 6:00 as INW and UCP Connections present the next Craft Night! This month Caitlyn and Jenny will lead participants with a fimo clay project. RSVP by calling Rachel at 503.546.2950 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.Craft Night is held at the INW office in NE Portland. See you then!
The talented Jenny Child (INW) and Caitlyn Child (UCP Connections) have teamed up to bring you the first co-hosted Craft Night! Join them here at Independence Northwest on Tuesday, February 11th from 4:30pm to 6:00pm. We’re located at 541 NE 20th Avenue Suite 103 in Portland, just off Glisan Street.
Be sure to RSVP to Rachel by emailing email@example.com or calling 503.546.2950. We look forward to seeing you there!
Where: Hollywood Senior Center, 1820 NE 40th in Portland
When: Third Wednesdays of each month Nov – June from 4 – 7PM
Interested in learning and practicing how to prepare a variety of delicious and healthy dishes without a range or too much knife work? Come learn with us!
$5 per session – all fees go toward covering the cost of ingredients
Accessible for all – We’ll use techniques and utensils well suited to adults with disabilities, seniors and those with limited space or appliances.
Cook up community! – Be part of a welcoming, positive social environment with neighbors of all ages and backgrounds
Please note: There’s a preliminary organizing meeting from 4 – 5PM on November 6th!
This group is led by Eleanor Bailey, an adult experiencing Down Syndrome and an advocate for people with disabilities. The group is also supported by Kitchen Commons, the Hollywood Senior Center and students in the Wholistic Nutritional Program at the Wellspring School for Healing Arts.
Please bring your own personal support if needed. If your support person will be enjoying the meal as well, please have him or her contribute $5 to cover the cost of ingredients as well.
RSVP before each session – reserve a spot by calling the Hollywood Senior Center at 503.288.8303!
Yesterday was not only the first day of autumn – it was also the 1st Annual Cuts for a Cause Benefit for Independence Northwest.Heritage Barbershop, a local Portland business, sponsored the event offering free haircuts and styles to brokerage customers and their caregivers. Despite the blustery weather, we had a great turnout and the event raised $600 for the Independence Northwest Emergency Fund! The Emergency Fund helps people with intellectual/developmental disabilities in times of need.
We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Heritage Barbershop’s owner, Brian Porteous, for this event. What a guy. Brian pulled together a fantastic raffle including donated goods and gift certificates from local businesses including:
Huge thanks to these businesses for donating to this cause. We appreciate your support! For those who couldn’t stick around until 4PM for the raffle drawing, we’ll be notifying winners by phone shortly.
Additionally, we’d like to extend gratitude to the barbers Jen Mattson and Tariq B for volunteering their professional services to our customers and their caregivers. They did a fantastic job and gave some very fine cuts yesterday. And big thanks to Lorissa Prestwood Porteous, provider De Linda French Davis, INW Operations Director Ron Spence, and INW Board President Bill Beckett for helping the event run so smoothly!
This was truly a community event and we look forward to the 2nd Annual Cuts for a Cause event next summer!
Six years ago today Independence Northwest became a fully-funded Oregon support services brokerage. Thank you to our founding and current board of directors, our many stellar staff members past and present, CDDP and provider partners, fellow brokerages, and customers and families for your belief, support, guidance, and partnership these past six years.
We are proud to be part of Oregon’s I/DD community and look forward to many more years with you!
Socializing Colorfully: A Group For Adults with Developmental Disabilities who are Persons of Color Starts January 27 (REGISTER BY JANUARY 20th!)
WHAT: Socializing Colorfully is open to all community members of varied ethnicities with diagnosed developmental disabilities who wish to expand their support network and gain a greater sense of cultural pride. Through friendship-building community activities and social opportunities, the program will help to alleviate the social isolation and discrimination experienced by persons of color who have developmental disabilities. The group invites the participation of families and caregivers.
Socializing Colorfully is led by Deborah Waggoner, Community Support Specialist for On-the-Move. Ms. Waggoner is the parent of an African-American woman with Down’s Syndrome, and knows first-hand the real life challenges associated with being a person of color who must navigate disability social services. As a long-time advocate in our community, she has the knowledge, sensitivity and experience to help group members forge a deeper sense of cultural pride, improve support networks and become better informed citizens!
WHERE: On-the-Move Community Integration
4187 SE Division Street
Portland, Oregon 97202
Contact: On-the-Move Community Integration
Sessions take place the last Friday of each month
Registration Deadline for the First Session: January 20, Space is Limited
Presented by: On-the-Move Community Integration
Supporting adults with special needs in accessing healthful, meaningful,
and environmentally responsible activities in their community.
More info here: http://onthemoveonline.wordpress.com/2011/11/23/get-ready-for-2012-reading-program-and-socializing-colorfully-start-the-new-year-off-right/
211 – This should always be your first stop for resources in our community. This clearinghouse has a comprehensive listing of resources available to you 24/7. Check them out now!
Ride Wise – Ride Connections’ Ride Wise program teaches older adults and people with disabilities to travel independently and safely on public transportation. The services are provided at no charge for those who qualify and encompass all forms of public transportation (bus, light rail).
Independent Living Resources – ILR promotes the philosophy of Independent Living by creating opportunities, encouraging choices, advancing equal access, and furthering the level of independence for all people with disabilities.
Mint– Mint is a free money management software that will help you manage your funds so you can continue living independently.
Oregon Lions Sight and Hearing Foundation– The Oregon Lions Sight & Hearing Foundation, founded in 1959, serves as the nonprofit arm of the Lions Clubs of Oregon. Today, the Foundation continues to provide sight and hearing assistance for Oregonians in need through numerous programs that improve the quality of life of our most vulnerable members of our community.
Free Geek – Free Geek’s mission is to recycle technology and provide access to computers, the internet, education and job skills in exchange for community service.
Human Solutions – Since 1988, Human Solutions has developed a wide range of effective programs to assist families and individuals to find successful pathways out of poverty and homelessness toward self-sufficiency. Human Solutions helps families and individuals gain prosperity which in turn helps our greater community to thrive.
Impact NW– Impact Northwest’s mission is to help people achieve and maintain self-sufficiency and to prevent and alleviate the effects of poverty.
DART (Disability Assault/Abuse Response Team) – DART provides a domestic violence support group for women with developmental/cognitive disabilities. They are currently holding their meetings at the INW office. Please follow the link to learn more.
SE Works – SE Works’ mission is to strengthen the economic health and well being of our diverse southeast Portland community by facilitating successful connections between job seekers and employers.
Educate Ya – The mission of Edúcate Ya, Inc. is to foster social change, cultural integration, professionalism, and wellness education in the Latino communities. Our objective is to educate and create awareness about cultural, social, economic, and health concerns in the different Latino communities, as well as the broader community.
Latino Connections – A project of Easter Seals, LC is a grassroots employment service for employers. LC works to train, educate and motivate Latino participants focusing on employment. LC implements a holistic approach to reducing barriers to employment, fully integrating job seekers into the current workforce.
Catholic Charities – Catholic Charities Immigration Legal Services provides high quality immigration legal services to low-income immigrants and refugees, and engages in public education, training and community outreach in order to promote justice for all newcomers.
Neighborhood House – Our programs help low-income, recent-immigrant and other vulnerable people overcome challenges so they can achieve success, stability and independence.
Volunteers of America of Oregon – Our programs help individuals, families and even communities to move from instability to security, from feeling unseen and uncared for to acknowledged and affirmed and from isolation to independence.
Parent to Parent– We’re a state-wide non-profit organization based in Portland, OR dedicated to making a difference in the lives of parents of children with various disabilities.
Disability Rights Oregon – Disability Rights Oregon (DRO) promotes Opportunity, Access and Choice for individuals with disabilities by assisting them with legal problems directly related to their disabilities.
Thank you to the Personal Agents of Independence Northwest for compiling this list of resources.