Self-Advocates of Indiana Newsletter
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President's Update

The week of March 20, six SAI board members attended the 2017 Disability Policy Seminar in Washington DC. These six self-advocates learned about important disability policy issues, specifically the proposed changes to the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid. On Wednesday, March 22, these self-advocates travelled to Capitol Hill to talk with legislators and their staff about the importance of Medicaid to people with disabilities.

Earlier this year, SAI had 150 people attend the Valentines Day at the State House event on February 14. This is one of largest groups in recent years. Self-Advocates shared the importance of increased DSP wages.

Additionally, several self-advocates have been traveling to sheltered workshops throughout Indiana to give presentations about Career Counseling and Information Referral (CCIR), giving people choices about where they work.

SAI has participated in several presentations to different chapters and community groups. We've also been active at the State House, testifying on important legislation, like the Employment First bill. Thank you to Betty Williams and Erik Smith for providing testimony for this bill.

As the legislative session nears an end in Indiana, we encourage you to continue to use your voices to speak up for our important issues, both here in Indiana and at the national level. Thank you to all of you who called or met with your federal representatives and told them about the importance of Medicaid services. Now is the time to call your State Senators and tell them about the importance of the Direct Support Professionals in your life. Urge them to keep language in HB 1001 that would allow for increased wages for direct support professionals.

Thank you for all you do!
Kelsey Cowley, President

SAI Celebrates Disability Awareness Month

Down Syndrome Indiana and the DSI Self Advocates hosted a World Down Syndrome Day Flash Mob and Random Acts of Kindness Celebration at the Indianapolis Artsgarden on March 21.  They had a great turn out and everyone had a blast spreading awareness about Down syndrome.
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The Self-Advocate Group of Pathfinder Services decided they wanted to bake cookies and hold a bake sale at the local Walmart store in Wabash, IN.  They spent time talking to people, passing out bookmarks and stickers, and selling items. The group voted that the proceeds from the sale would be donated to the local animal shelter. The sale was very successful and raised nearly $230.
Hillcroft Services Kool Kats held a variety show called "JOY" on March 23 in Muncie, Indiana. Self-Advocates came together to support music, Disability Awareness Month and each other. They had several volunteers including Ball State University, Indigo, United Sound, and Muncie Civic Theatre. Performers played instruments, sang, and enjoyed participating.
The South Western Advocacy Group (SWAG) partnered with the Spread the Word to End the Word campaign and held a rally in the community. They lined Riverside Drive, one of the busier streets in town, with signs and posters about "Respect" and ending the “R-word.”
Bona Vista in Kokomo held their Annual Disability Awareness Basketball Game to help raise awareness and support Bona Vista programs. The game included local celebrities, staff, and individuals served at Bona Vista.  To read more about the game and see pictures from the event, click the link below. 
Click To See More Photos
On March 21, 2017, Mayor Duke Bennett visited Mosaic in Terre Haute, he signed a proclamation and gave a speech to kick-off National Disability Awareness Month. Mosaic celebrated with a Discover the Possibilities Open House where they invited the community to come and learn how Mosaic provides a life of possibilities for persons with intellectual disabilities.​
Awesome Westside Advocates reached out to over 200 people in the community with brochures, stickers, bookmarks, and information in two Disability Awareness Booths. One was Tuesday, March 21 at the Plainfield Public Library, and the other was Saturday, March 25, at the Brownsburg Public Library.  Twelve members were involved in the events.
The self-advocate group at Four Rivers Resources Services hosted many events for Disability Awareness Month. They hosted a Disability Awareness themed Children's Story Hour at the local library with Loogootee Mayor Noel Harty. Self-Advocate Michelle Bovenschen presented on Disability Awareness Month to the Lively Ladies group at the Linton Library. Additionally, three of their chapter members were featured on local radio stations, AMW Memories 107.9fm in Washington, WFNB 92.7fm in Terre Haute, and WAXI 104.7fm. Shane Case, Michelle Bovenschen, and Terry Mooreland all shared their stories and recorded messages about Disability Awareness Month that played on the radio during the month of March.
Self Advocates from New Horizons met with the Batesville, Indiana Mayor Mike Bettice to receive a Mayoral Proclamation declaring March Disability Awareness Month in Batesville. Some of the Self Advocates also participated in a traveling art show and poetry reading and contest sponsored by New Horizons.

AWA Partners with Local "Just Be Kind" Group

By Leann Dusenberry
Last September, Awesome Westside Advocates (AWA) met the "Just Be Kind" group of school age young people from Plainfield at their booth after the Quaker Day Parade. The two groups decided to work together  to promote acceptance and kindness.

The "Just Be Kind" group came to the AWA planning meeting in October and the Christmas party in December. In February, the group asked to hold a dance fundraiser for the AWA chapter. They rented a church building and a DJ, then made refreshments and decorations. People donated money or asked for pledges for dance time. 

On February 12, they held their Valentine's Day theme dance. Several people attended from both groups and invited friends. Everyone had a good time and over $800 was donated! It was AWA's most successful fundraiser ever!  

Upcoming Dates

Monday, May 1*
South Regional Meeting
Location TBD

Wednesday, May 3*
North Regional Meeting
Location TBD

Friday, May 5*
Central Regional Meeting
Greenwood Public Library
310 S. Meridian, Greenwood, IN 46143

Friday, July 14 
2017 SAI Picnic
The Charleston Pavilion at Hummel Park
5373 S. County Road 700 East, Plainfield, IN 46168

Wednesday, November 15
SAI Conference & Annual Meeting in partnership with The Arc of Indiana Conference & Impact Awards Luncheon
502 East Event Center, Carmel, Indiana
*Please attend the regional meeting most convenient for you. Specific locations to be determined.

2017 Disability Policy Seminar

The week of March 20, a delegation of 30 individuals, including six Self-Advocates of Indiana Board Members and other leaders of The Arc in Indiana traveled to Washington D.C. to attend The Arc US Disability Policy Seminar and meet with members of Indiana’s congressional delegation. Over 900 people attended from across the nation. 

The group had the chance to learn about important policy issues during the conference, tour the office of the Vice President of the United States, attend Indiana Senator Todd Young's "Hoosier Huddle" reception, and spend the day on Capitol Hill talking with Indiana's US Senators and Representatives.

The key focus was on health care reform, including proposals to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and make major changes to Medicaid that would jeopardize home and community based services funded through Medicaid Waivers and Medicaid health services. Self-Advocates shared the importance of their Medicaid Waiver services in helping them live independent, successful lives.

On Friday, March 24, a vote on the bill was pulled by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. The Arc and Self-Advocates of Indiana will continue to have an active effort on this critical issue. Thank you to all those who wrote letters, called, or visited your legislators to talk about this important issue.
Disability Policy Seminar Fact Sheets

Career Counseling Information & Referral

By Jill Smith
Self-advocates have been working across the state to meet with others using sheltered employment services and providing Career Counseling Information and Referral (CCIR) services. The CCIR peer instuctors are sharing information about self-advocacy and self-determination, and exploring options for employment.

The classes help everyone take a personal inventory, discuss topics of learning styles, personality types, likes and dislikes, and make a plan that fits each individual.

We are also looking to expand our team of self advocate instructors and support staff. These are paid positions. Please contact Jill Smith at if you are interested in joining the team.

To learn more about CCIR, check out Michelle Fischer's "A View From My Window" podcast about this new program.
Click to Listen to Podcast

Legislative Update 3.31.17

from The Arc of Indiana

 HB 1001 – Budget Bill

The Senate amendment to HB 1001, the biennial budget bill, was discussed and passed out of the Senate Appropriations committee.  The bills DOES include our requested language to increase Medicaid waiver service rates.  We must now urge ALL Senators to support HB 1001 to allow for increased wages for direct support professionals.   

Continue to tell your personal stories about the importance of your DSP in your life or the life of your loved one with a disability. 

Senate Resolution 44 - Supported Decision Making

A Senate Resolution, urging the legislative council to assign to the appropriate study committee the topic of supported decision making as an alternative option to adult guardianship was expected to be heard this week but it was pulled due to time constraints.  The issue will still be advanced to the legislative council for consideration and assignment to a summer study committee.    

SB 390 – Employment of Individuals with Disabilities

Senator Mark Stoops (D-Bloomington)--Adds numerous members to the Commission on Rehabilitation Services.  Adds additional responsibilities to the commission in regards to employment initiatives.  Provides that the policy of the state is to promote competitive, integrated employment, including self-employment as the first and preferred option when providing services to individuals with disabilities.  Makes numerous other provisions.   

Senator Stoops has filed a concurrence on the bill that is eligible for action. 

Sign Up for Legislative Action Alerts
The SAI Speaker's Bureau kicked off on February 27. If you are interested in having a self-advocate speak to your organization or group, please click the link below.
Request a Speaker
Over 150 people attended the 2017 Valentine's Day at the State House. SAI members shared the message of increased wages for direct support staff.
See more photos
Listen in to A View from My Window, The Arc of Indiana’s podcast, hosted by Michelle Fischer. 
Michelle covers important disability-related topics.
View from My Window
Self-Advocates of Indiana
107 N. Pennsylvania Street, Suite 800
Indianapolis, IN  46204
317-977-2385 — Fax

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Self-Advocates of Indiana · 143 W Market Street · Suite 200 · Indianapolis, IN 46204 · USA

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