HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM DISABILITY RIGHTS & RESOURCES!
So far 2014 is off to a great start! Check out this month’s newsletter to meet our newest Peer Advocate, get updates on the Shelby County office, check out upcoming Peer Support meetings, and see what our Board & Junior Board members have been up to lately!
MEET CLAIRE CHRISTOPHER, PEER ADVOCATE FOR BLOUNT & ST. CLAIR COUNTIES
Disability Rights & Resources is pleased to have Claire Christopher as the new Peer Advocate for Blount and St. Clair Counties. Prior to joining Disability Rights & Resources, Claire worked for the Jefferson County School System for 23 years, including 13 different high schools. She played an active role in transition team meetings and served as chair person for the Jefferson County Community Transition and Transportation committees.
As a Peer Advocate, Claire focuses her efforts on assisting consumers with practicing self-advocacy, developing life skills, and providing information and referral related to community services, transportation, and accessing local resources. She especially has a passion for working with young adults who are transitioning from high school into the community and hopes to target the unmet needs of this population. When discussing her particular service area, Claire expressed the desire to unite agencies between Blount and St. Clair counties to create a more cohesive and interactive community of service providers. She is continuously working to increase awareness of these local resources.
In her spare time, Claire volunteers with Spain Park High School, where her son is director of the Color Guard. She is also active in her church and leads a character education class for children in grades 1-6.
The Oneonta office is located at 1000 Lincoln Ave, Oneonta, AL 35121. For questions about services, please contact Claire Christopher, Peer Advocate, at (205) 274-0174.
Shelby County Legislative Session in Action!
SHELBY COUNTY LEGISLATIVE SESSION & BULLYING IN SCHOOLS: UPDATES FROM THE ALABASTER OFFICE!
On January 8th, Gwendolyn Brown, Disability Rights & Resources’ Shelby County Peer Advocate, attended the Shelby County State Legislative Session. She reported that the meeting was standing room only and that the discussion was “great food for thought.”Senator Cam Ward addressed the concern of over crowding in the prison system, something he has been challenging for quite some time. Several audience members also addressed concerns over the Common Core that has been put in place in the educational system. As always, one of the most important take away messages was that in order for change to take place in regards to policies that affect us, we have to become involved. Gwen remarked, “It was a pleasure to hear our state officials express their comments and concerns and to also have been able to hear selected audience members express theirs as well. The atmosphere in the room was one of ‘We are hearing you, we are listening to you, and we are working towards a change in many areas.'”
In addition, Alabaster schools recently launched an anonymous tip service, where Alabaster students can confidentially report concerns of bullying to local school officials. This new “tip service” went into effect on January 13, and in the same week Neal Wagner of the Shelby County reporter published an article on this new approach to tackling bullying in schools. For more information, please contact Gwen Brown at (205) 685-0570.
BOARD MEMBER KATHY LOVELL & JUNIOR BOARD MEMBER TRISSTON WRIGHT BURROWS ON THEIR RECENT AWARDS!
We are so pleased to celebrate the wonderful recent accomplishments of some of our Board Members and Junior Board Members!
In December, Kathy Lovell, Board Member and Americans with Disabilities Act Manager, was presented with the Better Life Award by her employer, Regions Bank. To hear Kathy discussing her role as ADA Manager, check out this YouTube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yqxU2HKrfgE.
Congratulations are also in order for Trisston Wright Burrows, a member of the Disability Rights & Resources Junior Board. Trisston was recently named
“Ambassador of the Year” by the Hoover Chamber of Commerce. Well deserved, Trisston!
BIRMINGHAM OFFICE PEER SUPPORT MEETINGS SCHEDULE!
Disability Rights & Resources’ Birmingham Office hosts Peer Support meetings on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month. Here is a tentative schedule of Peer Support dates & topics:
January 28: State of Alabama Client Assistance Program (SACAP) Information
February 11: Dealing with Personal Relationships
February 25: Coping with Stress
March 11: “Reality Check!”
March 25: Group Discussion & “Reality Check!” Follow Up
For more information on Peer Support meetings, please contact either Josh Whitmire or Wendy Whitbred at (205) 251-2223.