KEVIN: EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH
Kevin is a client of Broadscope’s Employment Services program. Kevin is a 22-year old high school graduate with a disability, who had little experience with personal and professional interactions. His only experience included volunteering with his mother at a local thrift shop.
Kevin desired more. He wanted a job, and he wanted to be more independent. Kevin reached out to Broadscope’s Employment Services for guidance and assistance to realize that dream. Broadscope’s employment counselor worked with Kevin to determine the type of employment he wanted, and coached him through a couple work experiences, including a local Walgreen’s. The employment counselor continued to coach Kevin’s behavior with customers at Walgreen’s, which ultimately earned him a part-time job.
Eventually, Kevin achieved “Employee of the Month” at his position at Walgreen’s, Oak Creek, for his positive performance and growth. The store manager and staff are very supportive of Kevin, and together with Broadscope Disability Services, have played a huge roll in his success. Now, Kevin, who initially fled from customers, has gained the confidence to not only greet customers but to help them find what they are looking for.
JOHN & MARGARET: BREAKAWAY
Below is a note we received from one of our families after they participated in our Breakaway program. In partnership with the Milwaukee Hilton, our Breakaway program allows Broadscope to offer a free night stay to parents in our Respite program to enjoy an evening of relaxation and rest.
I wanted to send you a short note thanking you, Broadscope, and the Milwaukee Hilton so much for the Breakaway! Having a child with special medical needs can really impact the ability to have alone time with your spouse. Our dates usually consist of lunch when possible; we don’t often have help in the evenings for our daughter. It has been years since we have gone away together for even 24 hours.
When I saw the email offering a Breakaway evening, I jumped at the chance. You made it so easy to sign up. The fact that the hotel was in such close proximity to our house, we felt comfortable leaving for a night. First, the hotel staff was amazing. When we checked in we were given a beautiful corner room. We had no plans, so the concierge was very helpful giving us some ideas. We were able to get to the Art Museum and then to a local play just down the street from the Hilton. To sleep through the night without medical alarms going off was a blessing.
Thank you so much for giving us a “normal” night!
John and Margaret
THE LONGO FAMILY: WE’RE SO GRATEFUL
Raising four kids can be a challenge of its own, but when one of those children has a disability, it adds a whole new layer of complication. For the Longo’s, a Racine County family, receiving Respite care funding is a big stress-reliever in an often chaotic life. When Ayden, who is almost 7, was diagnosed with Autism and ADHD, the family wasn’t quite sure how they were going to handle the added stress, but thankfully they were reffered to Broadscope through the CompassWisconsin program. Unfortunately, Ayden didn’t qualify for the Children’s Long Term Waiver and he was placed on a long waiting list for the Children’s Community Option Program. However, because of a generous donation from the Racine Community Foundation, Ayden and his family are able to receive 80 hours of Respite care a year.
“Broadscope has allowed us to have family time with and without our son,” said Michelle, Ayden’s mom. “We are very grateful.”
And thanks to the Brewers Buddies program, through Broadscope, the Longo family has also been able to access free Brewers tickets. They were able to enjoy a fun family outing to Miller Park this past summer.
MARVIN: I LOVE MY JOB!
I love my job!” Marvin can often be heard exclaiming to friends.
Marvin, who was born with a cognitive delay, has been working with the Broadscope Employment team for over 15 years. When he started his job with Marquette University in 2001, it was only thought to be temporary.
For the first few months, Marvin worked with a Broadscope Employment services coach to perform each job duty as expected, and required 100% supervision. Still, Marvin worked hard. With the help and understanding of a supportive employer in Marquette, he was able to progress and increase his understanding of job expectations. As the Broadscope staff worked with him on learning job tasks, proper communication and etiquette, developing a work ethic, and maintaining a regular schedule, he earned trust and gained additional tasks with his daily responsibilities on the job. Marvin is now self-sufficient at work, and only requires check-in meetings with Broadscope staff to maintain his quality performance.
In November 2016, Marvin was honored by the university president at an employee banquet as he celebrated his 15-year anniversary. When Marvin was called on stage to receive his award, he was met with an enormous round of applause from his fellow employees who are grateful to have him as an integral part of their team.
Marvin’s supervisor describes him as a “key piece of the work culture”, and hopes to be there with him when he celebrates his 20-year anniversary and beyond.
JENNIFER & DAVE: HOMEOWNERS
When they were initially approached with the opportunity to buy their own home, Jennifer and Dave didn’t believe it was a real possibility. Both clients in the Employment and Independent Living programs at Broadscope, Jennifer and Dave worked hard, but were often victims of circumstances outside of their control. In 2016, Jennifer and Dave learned the City of Milwaukee was going to foreclose on their long term rental property, and they were forced in to another living situation that wasn’t a good fit for the couple.
Broadscope staff members were having trouble finding a new rental property that would be a good fit for Jennifer and Dave while allowing them to stay close to their places of employment, so they started researching other options. One of those options was an organization in Madison called Movin’ Out that provides a range of housing solutions to adults with disabilities and to families that include children with disabilities. Through this program Jennifer and Dave were able to complete a homebuyer counseling program and secure over $30,000 in grant funding for first-time, low-income homeowners with a disability.
Our staff was able to connect Jennifer and Dave with Eric Kucifer, a RE/MAX Market Place realtor, who went above and beyond to find the couple a perfect home and secure the sale. Eric even went so far as to buy the couple their very own microwave, after they were disappointed the small appliances weren’t included in the sale of the home. Buying your first home is confusing and overwhelming, and can be even more-so when you have a disability. But Jennifer and Dave were very determined and persistent. They worked tirelessly to acquire all the necessary documentation during the process and to finalize the sale, and were always willing to do whatever it takes to secure their first home purchase.
“This is going to be a new life for us,” Jennifer exclaimed after receiving the keys to their new home. Dave echoed her feelings saying, “This is a dream come true.”
The couple continues to work hard, and all though they don’t have much in terms of home furnishings, they are excited to start making those purchases to transform their new house in to a home.
DISCOVERY OF OPTIONS
Imagine that the job you’ve relied on for the last 30 years has just been eliminated. You’ve got health problems including degenerative arthritis, plus a learning disability that affects your ability to process verbal and written information. A strenuous search for jobs proves to be fruitless, and eventually your car is taken away. Bonnie’s experience was just this.
After some difficult conversations, Bonnie was lucky enough to have the support of family to help financially while the job search continued, but this wouldn’t last. The pressure to pay bills continued to grow, and three years go by without any job offers. The option to tackle and apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) seemed like a possibility, but after a second rejection letter from the Social Security Administration, options were thinning.
Finally, The Department of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) responded to her request for services, and provided a list of agencies to choose from to help with her job search. Included in this list is Broadscope Disability Services. Bonnie was able to meet with an employment consultant and explain the situation, including the barriers encountered trying to find a job.
With the help of Broadscope, Bonnie received one-on-one service, was able to complete numerous job applications, and find a Trial Work Experience at Walgreens. Even though her degenerative arthritis prevents sitting, standing or walking for more than 20 minutes at a time, Walgreens was supportive enough to allow use of a stool and standing cart. After 2 shifts, Bonnie was offered a permanent position and is now a valued employee.
Editors Note: Bonnie was turned down for SSDI twice, but she decided to apply one more time. She asked her employment consultant to help her with the paperwork and to assist her at the court hearing. Even though she was no longer enrolled in Broadscope’s services, the consultant and her supervisor felt Bonnie still needed assistance. The consultant helped Bonnie understand the paper work and drove her to and from the hearing. She won her case and she’ll be getting monthly SSDI payments and a lump sum of back payments. With the extra income, she’s now able to pay back her relatives, can afford her mortgage, and is able to take care of her husband and son, who also live with disabilities.
FOR THE LOVE OF THE GAME
Sometimes it’s the small things that mean the most when you’re a child, and that’s definitely true for Lovelace Jr. and his family. Lovelace Jr. is a 10-year-old boy with autism. He and his family receive respite care services through our Waukesha County respite service program, and a welcome bonus, Milwaukee Brewers baseball tickets.
Thanks to a partnership with the Brewers Community Foundation, Broadscope is able to offer free single-game tickets to many of our Respite families each summer. Lovelace Jr. was one of many children able to benefit from this opportunity, and enjoy a leisurely family outing to the ballpark with his little brother Vince and their parents. They even had the opportunity to meet Hank the dog!
For a family with a child with special needs, it is not always easy to attend a baseball game at Miller Park. The Brewers Buddies program allows Broadscope Disability Services to provide accessible seats for free, so the family can enjoy the game, and maybe even a mini helmet full of ice cream. Lovelace, Jr. doesn’t have a favorite player, but he never misses the world famous racing sausages, and his chance to choose the winner. He loves to cheer along with the crowd. When he’s not enjoying America’s favorite past time, Lovelace Jr. loves to make his own home movies and participate in any kind of art activity, especially drawing. It’s the small things that can make a big difference to a family and a child with special needs.
JENSENE: FUTURE INVENTOR
When Jensene lost his mother a few years ago, he and his 2 siblings were adopted by their grandmother, Marisol, and had to move fromPuerto Rico to Milwaukee to start a new life. This transition would be difficult for any family, especially with a child with special needs.
Jensene, who has a neurodevelopmental disorder that causes a severe intellectual disability, must be monitored at all times. He often doesn’t recognize dangers around him, and becomes frustrated and agitated when he is out of the house for long periods of time. In addition, Marisol has her own medical needs, requiring attention.
To relieve the family’s constant stress, Broadscope’s staff is able to provide respite funding for Jensene, Broadscope enables families to choose and train their own trusted caregivers, allowing Nellianne, Jensene’s aunt, the opportunity to care for him and relieve Marisol’s stress of managing the household.
“Broadscope has been excellent,” Marisol said. “When I call with questions or concerns, they are always there to help.”
Jensene will be starting High School next year, and is excited about learning and creating in class. He loves working on gadgets, and hopes to be an inventor someday.
CODY: FAMILY TIME
The following was written by Cody’s mother, Tami:
Cody is a sweet, kind-hearted 3-year-old boy. When Cody was born, we were surprised to learn he had Down syndrome. As first time parents of the first special needs child in our family, we didn’t know what to expect or where to turn.
When Cody was born, he required an extended stay in the hospital, longer than expected. As a result, his dad lost his job. We were financially burdened, and I had to go back to work within six weeks of his birth. Cody needed extensive therapies up to three times a week, and we made the tough decision: that his dad should stay home full-time and ensure his proper care. Our life was very stressful. We squeezed in family time when we could, but mostly just tried to get by and care for our son.
Over the next two years, we struggled financially on one income, so dad went back to work at a second-shift position. This limited our family time even further, while we still struggled with bills. Cody was often strapped on my back as I taught art at schools part-time. We lived paycheck-to-paycheck, and couldn’t afford a sitter. We were also very hesitant with most sitters because Cody is, developmentally, not where a typical child is at 3-years-old.
We are so lucky to have found Broadscope. Not only are we able to pay for Cody’s respite care, but they had a pool of qualified caregivers. Because of Broadscope, I am able to attend a monthly support group for special needs moms, and dad and I are finally able to have a few date nights. Our quality of life has really changed. We are able to balance the routine of having a child with special needs by knowing our son is well taken care of.
Thanks so much Broadscope!
ROGER: 20 YEARS OF SUPPORT
Roger has never let his Cerebral Palsy slow him down, but when he came to Broadscope years ago for assistance with his finances, our support staff knew he could benefit from more services as well. He started working with both the
Employment and Independent Living programs. Roger joined an advocacy group that afforded him the opportunity to work on his self-confidence and public speaking skills, while learning how to tell his own story to promote disability rights.
Roger worked with staff to find a job that was perfect for him – working in the UWM library. Shelving books in the campus library was the ideal opportunity, and although Roger had transportation, it was a long commute to get to campus. He worked with his Support Coordinator to find an apartment on the East Side that not only offered a much shorter drive, but allows him to participate in on-site social activities with other residents, which he really enjoys.
Roger has been working with his support coordinator for almost 20 years. “It’s been amazing to watch him grow over the years,” she commented. “He’s improved so much, but what’s really great, even at his age, is that he’s still interested in learning new things every day.” Roger has since retired from his library job, but still works with Broadscope regularly to maintain his independent, active and social lifestyle.
He continues to volunteer weekly at the downtown Milwaukee library where he assists the staff with various research projects. When he’s not busy volunteering, he also speaks both locally and nationally as an advocate for disability rights.