Remembering the Good Things

Earlier this month I took a trip with my sister and our kids down to our hometown of Oakes. Our grandma is not doing well so we needed to see her because you just never know what can happen and you need to make sure you tell her you love her and get those hugs in. While this trip did cause some anxiety it was also a great trip not only for me but for my sister and kids as well.

I was able to finally spend some much need sister time that I do not often get. It meant a lot to me and we did not have to do much. My kids now see just how strange their aunt is too. We are too much alike. They loved it. It was great to see the kids having a good time and having fun with their cousin. Even the 17 year old had a good time and that is hard to do. To see the smile on their faces just warms your heart. We had a lot of good laughs and memories to last a long time.

Being in Oakes again after so many years really takes you back. It is one of those towns where you only have one movie theater that goes bankrupt every so often. You have a street light but really do not need it Stop signs work just fine. There is one elementary school and then the Jr/Sr high school. My kids think that is the strangest thing. The hardest thing going back to Oakes this time was seeing grandma. She is my last grandparent and she used to be so vibrant and always had a smile on her face. If she knew you were coming there was so much food ready for you even if you told her not to make any. She loved talking to everyone. Now she is almost completely blind and she can not walk by herself. She just stares off into space and can not really hold a conversation at all. It really makes you sad.

I stop though and I remember this lovely lady has lived a long life and has taught me so much. I have so many wonderful memories of her and my grandpa that I will cherish forever. I know that she is in there somewhere and can hear me. So I am glad we mad that trip and I told her just how much I love her and appreciate her and gave her all those hugs. She gave me go much more.




Walter’s Success Story

On a cool September day Walter entered into DCIL, homeless. He had been referred to us by Social Security for our Representative Payee Services.  Walter had been living at Ruth Meier’s Drop in Center and was looking for housing. He had no transportation.  This once very hardworking, intelligent man was now walking a different road in life; an unexpected road caused by some disabilities he had acquired.

One of the first services he received from DCIL was assistance with filling out a Transit application.

Walter, a pleasant, single man, stated that he was motivated to acquire housing and a job. He chose to be a consumer at DCIL and agreed to work towards the goals that he would set for himself.

In the course of the 8 years that he was a consumer at DCIL, of the 16 goals that Walter set for himself, he completed all of them very successfully. Community based living, transportation, personal resource management, self-advocacy, self-care and learning new technology were a few of the goals he had set and he was always willing to work diligently towards completing those goals. Walter has a strong work ethic and started his independence by working for Command Center. There were struggles, there were challenges, and Walter worked diligently to overcome those by self-determination.  Walters’s successes were many, but he understood that this was all a process.  As he grew to become more and more independent, he always wanted to work as much as possible according the rules set up by SSI.

He was able to move into the Lewis and Clark Building in Mandan where he lived for 8 years as he was rebuilding his life. He was always very grateful for the assistance.  He was determined.  He received assistance from West Central Human Services in Bismarck and Community Action helped him with Shelter Plus Care.

His advocate at DCIL wondered about his family. Walter stated he had a sister residing in Hollywood, CA. The advocate located her on Social Media and after 10 years, Walter was reunited with his sister, elderly mother and family.

While he was in ND, thanks to Medicaid Benefits, he was able to communicate his physical impairments and receive the medical help that he needed, including getting on a vitamin regiment. While enjoying the newfound health, being determined, he gave up smoking.

Through weekly communication with his sister, he has decided to move to Ohio and be there for his family.

Walter, always the optimist, once stated when asked what it felt like to be homeless, “How can I be homeless, when I have the sky above me, and the earth below me?” While visiting with Walter the week before he moved, we asked him, “Where do you see your life going from here?  What goals do you have before you?”  Walter stated, “I’ve done it before, I’ve done it before, I’ve done it before, I’ll do it again.”  Walter, good luck with the rest of your journey we call life.

Misconceptions and Advantages Hiring People with Disabilities

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month. What is this? This is to make sure that companies hire people who have disabilities. People aren’t being hired as a result of companies being scared. This is because they have a lot of misconceptions.

3 Misconceptions

  1. Lazy

One of the misconceptions that companies have is that people with disabilities are lazy. This is not true at all. People with disabilities are willing to work hard. I knew several coworkers with a disability and they worked really hard.

  1. Always Late

Another misconception is that people with disabilities usually are late for work or call in late often. This is also wrong. Since people with disabilities usually take public transportation, they might be late because the bus or taxi might be late.

  1. Slow

People with disabilities seem to be slow in getting things done, which is the last misconception. This might be true for some people with disabilities, but some people who do not have disabilities might be slow too. This is a generalization that simply is not a fair statement.

3 Advantages

  1. Expand Your Talent Pool

Sometimes it seems almost impossible to find qualified candidates for a position. But if you start recruiting individuals with disabilities, it expands your talent pool so that you can find better candidates.

And according to Work without Limits, a network that aims to increase employment among individuals with disabilities, “Individuals with disabilities represent an untapped candidate pool for businesses. Recruiting and retaining people with disabilities are one approach to counter the effects of the aging and shrinking workforce.”

  1. Increase Your Loyal Workforce

People with disabilities want to work, and when they get the opportunity, they stay loyal. And according to a 2007 study from DePaul University, people with disabilities perform just the same as people without disabilities:

■Participants with disabilities from the retail and hospitality sectors stayed on the job longer than participants without disabilities.

■Across all sectors, participants with disabilities had fewer scheduled absences than those without disabilities.

■Retail participants with disabilities had fewer days of unscheduled absences than those without disabilities.

■Regardless of sector, participants with and without disabilities had nearly identical job performance ratings.

■The numbers of worker’s compensation claims of retail participants with and without disabilities were equivalent.

  1. Diversity is good for Business

As we’ve discussed before, diversity is good for business. When people who have diverse experiences work together, they can come up with creative solutions for problems because they have a better understanding of your customer base.

As an added bonus, people with disabilities have additional insight into your customers who have disabilities, which can help you tailor your products better. This is especially important in untapped markets where people with disabilities have not been focused on.

Plus, EARN reports, “Customers with disabilities and their families, friends and associates represent a trillion dollar market segment. They, like other market segments, purchase products and services from companies that best meet their needs. A large number of Americans also say they prefer to patronize businesses that hire people with disabilities.”