As you know, Summit, along with independent living centers across the nation, has been advocating for the healthcare reform bill to include long-term care services and supports, asking Congress to pass the Community Choice Act and end the institutional bias. We thank all of you that have shown your support by attending the rally in Missoula and/or writing letters to Senator Baucus. To keep this issue in the forefront during the debate over healthcare reform, Ravalli County staff have attended the healthcare reform sessions being held here, including the “Emergency Drive Ambulance” Health Care Tour on August 6th at the Bitterroot Public Library, and the Denny Rehberg town hall meeting on August 21st held in the Performing Arts Center.
Joanne and Mary continue to attend the Community Advisory Committee meetings for the Hamilton Area Transportation Plan, which is really starting to take shape. We are very excited that this plan will be a comprehensive plan, to include all aspects of transportation planning. In addition to highways, byways, bridges, intersections, traffic lights, etc, this plan will include sidewalks and curb cuts, public transit, and connecting pathways for non-motorized vehicles, such as bicycles, wheelchairs, etc. We are very pleased to have been selected to participate in this planning process and encourage any of you to give us input, let us know of any problem areas you may have encountered, or areas that may need improvements.
Once again, Summit was honored to participate in the Veterans Stand Down, held on August 22nd at the National Guard Armory in Hamilton to provide information on community resources and benefits. In addition to veterans helping veterans by providing free surplus clothing, blankets, and other supplies, there were many volunteers serving a free lunch, free haircuts, free blood pressure monitoring, etc. As usual, the event was very well attended!
Serenity, the Independent Living Specialist, continues to serve many consumers in providing information regarding community resources and guidance in securing benefits or services, and encourages each individual to enhance their independence by developing their self-advocacy, decision-making, and problem solving skills. We also offer an orientation training to learn about Summit services, the independent living philosophy, and information on the Social Security disability application process. If you are interested in learning more about Summit or applying for Social Security disability benefits, please contact Serenity at 363-5242 for the date of the next orientation.
Members of the Bitterroot Valley People First Aktion Club remain very active and have received much praise for their community service work, such as their diligence in passing out water and snacks for the Bitterroot Land Trust bike tour, and their good help at the Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast and the Kiwanis food booth at the Ravalli County Fair. Mary Millin, Advisor, along with two Aktion club members attended the Kiwanis Conference in Kalispell the later part of August. Probably the most exciting event was on September 9th when they participated in the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the newly constructed bathroom at Kiwanis Park. The Aktion Club had received a $5000.00 grant to be used to increase access for people with disabilities at a local recreational site. In coordinating with Kiwanis Club of the Bitterroot Valley and the City of Hamilton, this grant was used to pay for paved parking spaces, a sidewalk, and overall, an accessible pathway to be able to access the newly constructed accessible bathroom. And what a wonderful addition to Kiwanis and River Park! If you haven’t already done so, go check it out!
The cookout at the Larry Creek Group Camp was a huge success, and despite the very pesky hornets, everyone in attendance said they really enjoyed the good food, fun, and games. We held a get together with the D’s Guise Band performance at Claudia Driscoll Park on September 22nd from 6-8 p.m. and fun was had by all. For our next event, we will have a Christmas Potluck in the Conference Room at the Human Resource Council Building on December 2nd, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., so MARK YOUR CALENDARS, bring your favorite potluck dish, and plan on joining us for good food and conversation.
Hamilton Summit will be conducting the Living Well Workshop again this fall, with an orientation brunch being held on Thursday, October 15th from 11:00 a.m. to noon. Classes will be held on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s from 3-5 p.m. for four weeks; Oct 27th, Oct 29th, Nov 3rd, Nov 5th, Nov 10th, Nov 12th, Nov 17th, and Nov 19th. If you are interested in this workshop or any of our events, programs, or educational workshops, please give us a call at 363-5242, as we will continue to offer various activities, depending on the needs and interests of people with disabilities in our community.
Remember, knowledge is power, and there is power in numbers, so we encourage you to Learn and educate yourself, Empower yourself and others, Advocate for yourself and others, know your Disability rights, Organize, and Network… Use your abilities for the greater good and accept the responsibility of helping yourself, others, and the community as a whole… LEAD ON…