by Ernie Stark
Many of us have attended Mass with Father Jack or seen him at various campus events. Did you know that Father is responsible for several departments that keep Misericordia running? These include Food Services, Maintenance and Security. Look for subsequent articles about these important departments.
Most of us do not know Father Jack’s personal story or what brought him to Misericordia. Let’s hear that in Father’s own words.
“I was adopted by an Irish Catholic family on the Northwest side of Chicago. My father was a Chicago policeman who grew up on the South side. One of his police duties was to be a crossing guard at a public school where my mother taught kindergarten. That’s where they met. In their 30s, they found out that they were unable to have children. They went to Catholic Charities where they adopted my sister, Sheila, and several years later they adopted me.
Dear Misericordia Families:
We are asking you to take action by submitting a comment to the Illinois Department of Human Services regarding proposed rule changes that will prevent campus settings and other types of congregate settings in Illinois from receiving Medicaid waiver funding. These rule changes will not directly affect any of Misericordia’s current homes because its campus homes receive Medicaid funding that is reserved for intermediate care facilities for the developmentally disabled (ICFs) and its off-campus CILA homes meet the requirements of the proposed rule. Nonetheless, the rule changes described below can limit housing options that Misericordia may wish to pursue in the future. In addition, we feel strongly that men and women who wish to live in a campus setting, on a farmstead, or in other types of intentional communities should have that opportunity. Under the proposed rule changes, only small isolated group homes in neighborhoods will be eligible to receive Medicaid waiver funding. We know that for some men and women, these small group homes can be very isolating. Some men and women have behavioral issues that preclude them from living in a small group home in an urban neighborhood; they do much better in the calm of a campus setting or a farm community. If men and women find that they prefer to live in a campus setting, on a farmstead, or in another intentional community with their peers, and if that type of setting best meets their needs, they should have that option. The proposed rule changes take that option away in Illinois. In addition, the proposed rule seeks to impose restrictions on where individuals with disabilities may live that are not imposed on any other group. This is wrong and likely unlawful.
Here are some key provisions of the Social Security Act that support choice, particularly the choice of an ICF. Please click the "Medicaid Provisions" below.
by Julie Carpenter
For nearly two decades, Bob and Madge Erlenbaugh have shared their gifts, enriching the lives of Misericordia residents through music and their tireless leadership as volunteer choir directors for Misericordia’s Heartzingers Choir. The Heartzingers are a choir of 50 residents, led by Bob on guitar and Madge guiding residents who participate through sign language. It is a group that has found a common bond through music, forming a tight-knit family within the broader Misericordia family, for whom the choir’s music brings comfort, spiritual inspiration, joy and profound happiness.
Date: March 5, 2021
To: Misericordia Family Association
From: Michael Diaz and Tina Stendardo; Community Day Services Administrators
Dear Misericordia Families,
We hope you all are well and staying safe. We wanted to provide you with an update on the re-opening of our Community Day Services (CDS).
Thank you for tuning in to our video presentation for our Annual Sibling Meeting yesterday. In case you missed it, below are the important links for this year:
In a year marked by unprecedented events and drastic interruptions to daily routines, we continue to be struck by the resilience, creativity, perseverance, and generosity of our Misericordia community. Not only does the staff continue to show up for their shifts during severe snowstorms – our windows today look out on snow flying up, down, backwards and sideways – but their presence is more than just showing up. They continuously bring their dedication, creativity and express their love to our residents. We are so thankful to them.
Our families are also making a profound difference to our community. We are grateful beyond measure for the continued expressions of support, generosity, and thoughtfulness of so many MFA families. Thank you. We simply couldn’t have made it through last year and into this new year without you and this incredible community.
by Linda Buchalo
An important part of the Community Day Services program, the Misericordia art department offers residents the chance to explore various forms of art. If you’ve attended the Artist in All event at the Art Institute, you know that Misericordia residents are bursting with creativity and that the staff in the art department have a knack for bringing out that talent.
After reviewing the current MFA Bylaws, the Bylaws committee has made a few recommended changes. In addition to stylistically reformatting the document, the two most significant changes are:
1. Expanded financial controls designed to ensure that the MFA financial processing and record keeping are fully transparent and at the highest standards of not-for-profit organizations.
2. Specific approval of online meetings and elections.
Act now to protect employment opportunities for our loved ones with significant intellectual and developmental disabilities!
IT WILL ONLY TAKE YOU A MINUTE
Congress is currently considering a bill that will phase out Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act. This provision has been in existence for over 80 years and has promoted employment of individuals with significant intellectual disabilities. The phase out of Section 14(c) will cause the closure of many work programs operated by non-profit agencies and designed for individuals with significant disabilities. Without these work programs thousands of men and women across the country will lose their jobs. Many of these men and women cannot obtain or retain competitive employment at the minimum wage. For those who do have competitive employment, it is typically for only a few hours a week. The non-profit work programs employ these men and women for the balance of their week.
Please Click here to send an email to your two Senators and your Representative asking them to remove the portions of the bill that will phase out Section 14(c).
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