Last Thursday I had the honor of being present at the Arizona court of Appeals Division One Investiture of Randall M. Howe. I've known Randy for years as a fellow board member of Arizona Center for Disability Law, and he was president at the time he was given this honor. The ceremony was held at the Disability Empowerment Center. The center itself is remarkable, and well worth visiting. The ceremony was wonderful: emotionally moving, and (for me) educational. After the ceremony, we went to the reception in the Virginia G. Piper Sports and Fitness Center. We were in one-half of the entire gymnasium, which is a work of art. The entire facility is breathtaking. When I think of people like Virginia Piper and Nina Pulliam who gave so generously to support the community in so many different ways, I stand in awe of them. But I digress. Seeing a person of the caliber of Randy Howe sworn in to the Court of Appeals is a moment I will always treasure. We as citizens are blessed to have Randy Howe on the bench.
This week I took a course in Plain Language at the Disability Empowerment Center in Phoenix, and learned about the Plain Writing Act of 2010. Plain English/Language/Writing isn't about "dumbing down," but rather about clear communication. Among others, those of us who write website content and direct mail copy understand writing to a specific audience, and the new Plain Writing Act is focusing on that. The two day course I took, sponsored by The Arizona Center for Disability Law, was one of the finest seminars I've ever attended. Never did Audrey Riffenburgh speak down to us, and it would have been easy. But by focusing on the viewer/reader constantly, we learned how to analyze writing and formatting, what to avoid and what to use, and how to analyze and create documents that clearly state their purpose for the intended cultural/linguistic audience. We learned how to analyze and re-shape forms, brochures, papers, etc. into documents that make more sense to the reader. But it's much more. Plain Language is finally emerging as a method to let specific groups of people read something they understand according to their particular culture. We learned how to identify the literacy skills of adults in the U.S., and how to define the "mismatch" between consumer literacy skills and the literacy demands of most communications for the public. And it's still much more than I can describe. I see this as extremely valuable for agencies and businesses that can identify their "target readers." The result, at every level, is that time is saved. For everyone. And time is money. Agencies and businesses "get" that. Incidentally, this was just the basic workshop. There is more, and I hope to take advanced courses so I can be of more value to the nonprofit agencies for which I work. Clearly, my mind is spinning with what I've learned, and how to be more specific/efficient/effective in my work with every client I have.
Arizona Community Living NOW, a new program designed and administered by the Sonoran UCEDD and supported by grant funds from the Developmental Disabilities Planning Council (DDPC), addresses the important issue of how to give families the information they need to create affordable and accessible community living situations for themselves and their family members with developmental disabilities. Arizona Community Living NOW will deliver six educational sessions aimed at providing training on a diverse range of topics addressing needs around housing – everything from knowing what services and supports are available to future planning and home buying. The six educational training sessions include: * Community Services and Supports: What We Have and What We Need (January 24, 2011, 2-4pm) * Transitions: My Chosen Life and What it Means to Me (February 7, 2011, 2-4 pm) * Consumer Controlled Housing: Making Informed Choices in Rental and Home Ownership (February 28, 2011, 2-4pm) * Shared Living: Important Discussions about Daily Life (March 14, 2011, 2-4pm) * Special Needs Planning: Guardianship and Living Trusts (April 11, 2011, 2-4pm) * Financial Education and Planning Presenter will be speaking in-person at the Herbert K. Abrams Public Health Center in Tucson, Arizona. Each two-hour presentation will be broadcast live via interactive video to community locations throughout the state, allowing participants at any location to ask questions of the presenters. For those unable to attend a training session, video and transcripts of each session will be available at http://azcommunitylivingnow.org Designed to provide information necessary for families to create affordable and accessible community living situations for persons with developmental disabilities Monday, April 11th, from 2 – 4 pm (FREE) “Special Needs Planning: Guardianship & Living Trusts” Presented by Robert B. Fleming Limited space at some locations - RSVP required to reserve a space at a site: (520) 626-0442 or firstname.lastname@example.org For updates and to view taped sessions, go to http://azcommunitylivingnow.org What is AZ Community Living Now: SIX trainings from January to May 2011 on housing related issues for people with disabilities and families. Trainings are available at http://azcommunitylivingnow.org Who should attend: Persons with disabilities, their families, and service providers who support them Video Conferencing to 5 County Sites: Individuals can attend the “live” trainings at a location below or watch the taped session at a later date from their own computer. Pima: Abrams Bldg. (east of UPH Kino Hospital) 3950 S. Country Club Rd., Tucson (Room 2102) Cochise: University of Arizona, South Campus in Sierra Vista Academic Technology Building 1140 N. Colombo Ave., Sierra Vista (Room B138) Coconino: Flagstaff Medical Center 1200 N. Beaver, Flagstaff (Magee Auditorium) Yuma: Yuma Regional Medicine Center, Corporate Center 399 West 32nd Street, Yuma (Rooms Kokopelli & Ocotillo) Maricopa: Disability Empowerment Center 5025 E. Washington Street, Phoenix (Nina Mason Pulliam Conference Ctr.) SAVE THE DATE for the Last Training: May 2, 2011 For more information, please go to this website: http://azcommunitylivingnow.org
Yesterday I attended a board meeting for the Arizona Center for Disability Law, which recently moved into the brand new Disabililty Empowerment Center. (Thanks to the Arizona Bridge for Independent Living for data on the center and the pictures on its site.) This amazing 62,000 square-foot facility is located at 5025 E Washington Street in Phoenix, and is truly designed to serve the disabled. Here are a few pictures from my visit: Raising Special Kids, the Arizona Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Joni & Friends, the Statewide Independent Living Council, Arizona Autism United, the Arizona Spinal Cord Injury Association, Valley Center of the Deaf, and PRN Medical. This is an energy efficient, green facility that is 99% environmentally friendly. Our board meeting was held in one half of the beautiful Nina Mason Pulliam Conference Center. Oh my, the sound system is incredble. While we had board members from Flagstaff and Tucson, we had teleconferencing going on with Tucson and Yuma. We had two guest speakers: Steven G. Biddle, of Littler Mendelson, and Barbara Brent, of the Arizona Department of Economic Security. Biddle presented training on Collective Bargaining Agreement, and Brent discussed the State of DDD.