Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Self-advocate Reflections on the ADA 25th Anniversary

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was created to ensure equality for individuals' with disabilities. I personally have a mild cognitive disability called Cerebral Palsy. While this affects my fine motor skills as well as my mobility/walking abilities, my disability does not stop me from accomplishing my daily tasks. Over the years, the ADA has helped me overcome issues dealing with employment, transportation, and self-advocacy. However, there are challenges that the ADA has not addressed.

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Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Power of Mission and Impact at the ELCA Youth Gathering

Earlier this month I was lucky enough to represent LSA at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Youth Gathering in Detroit, Michigan. The gathering brought together close to 30,000 youth, adults and volunteers from across the world to serve, reflect and raise awareness on issues like water, poverty, homelessness, hunger, disabilities, among others. I don’t think I have ever been in an event of this magnitude. From main gatherings at Ford Field Center to experiencing part of the Proclaim Community and Proclaim Justice activities, inspiration and impact radiated from every corner of the gathering.

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Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Full Inclusion of All People – Reflections on the ADA 25th Anniversary

Earlier this month, Bill Nolan from KenCrest Centers reflected on the importance of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to the people our network serves and the work of disability ministry. Today, we are honored to share a reflection from Linda Timmons, the President and CEO of Mosaic, an organization based in Omaha, Nebraska that provides a life of possibilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities, supporting and empowering them in pursuit of their goals. Mosaic, a member of LSA, is an active member of the LSA Disability Network (LSA-DN). This post originally appeared on the Mosaic website on July 23, 2015.

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Friday, July 24, 2015

Asking the Tough Questions about Senior Care in America – the LSA Network Comes Together to Drive Solutions

Imagine the energy, collective wisdom and ideas that came together when 17 LSA senior services providers met in Washington DC on July 17 to envision how wellness and care could be redefined to improve the lives of older Americans. As the largest faith-based non-profit group serving older adults in the United States, representing close to 200 Lutheran social ministry organizations that offer senior care, the LSA network has provided a broad range of care and support for seniors from all walks of life in all types of communities for decades.

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Friday, July 17, 2015

Marvelous Minneapolis, Minnesota

I'm a fan of alliteration as well as a fan of exploring new cities. In early July, I had the opportunity to visit Minneapolis for a couple of days with my colleague Alesia Frerichs, the Vice President of Member Engagement for our network. Our trip was in anticipation of next year's LSA Annual Conference, and we had the fortune to meet with some of our members and partners as we prepare for a great event.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Opportunity Requires Freedom – A Reflection on Why We Celebrate the Americans with Disabilities Act

Sometimes I think of KenCrest as a large classroom spread across three states. Like all the agencies of Lutheran Services in America, many thousands of dedicated staff and the people we (LSA) support in vibrant and enthusiastic relationship are confronted each day with opportunities to bring their unique talents and abilities to life. No fixed roles: sometimes teachers, sometime students moving together, all building toward positive goals. A boisterous community lab-setting, full of experimentation with no graduation day in sight.

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Friday, July 10, 2015

19 Days & Counting – Learnings From My First Few Weeks in our Social Ministry ‘Ecosystem’

I wasn't familiar with LSA's work when I originally read the Member Engagement Director position description, but I knew all I needed to know after visiting LSA's website and reading the member stories featured as part of Foster Care Month. Since I've come on board three weeks ago, I've been welcomed with open arms by both the LSA staff and its members, and I can't tell you how excited and honored I am to be here serving our members – you all are truly doing amazing work.

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Monday, June 29, 2015

A Different Kind of Service

For the last three summers, I worked as a camp counselor at Lutheran Outdoor Ministries Center in Oregon, IL. I loved the work I did – I loved running around the hundreds of acres of land with the campers, seeing their smiling faces, and knowing that I was making a difference in each and every one of their lives. That’s the kind of service people easily understand – hands on work. However, this summer I decided that I needed to get a more well-rounded view of service, which is why I applied for the Calling and Purpose in Society (CAPS) Fellows Program which is offered through Valparaiso University. This program was developed by the Institute for Leadership and Service, and it is designed to help students learn more about service in society as well as have the opportunity to begin to understand their own calling and purpose in society. This is accomplished by the fellows serving in a variety of organizations.

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