2011 is now in full swing so now it is time to say goodbye to 2010 but as we do, we would like to take this opportunity to reflect on yet another successful year!!
We owe a lot of thanks to our peer advocates, who work hard in the office and in the community to make sure that we are doing all that we can for our consumers. Last year Missoula had seven peers who we would like to thank for their loyalty and passion for the disability movement: Pam Davis, Bill Vinner, Lynne Kelly, Sierra Lode, Tom Thompson, Jessica Schambron, and Cara Wherely. These sensational seven accomplished so much in 2010 that we couldn’t name them all, but we will try!
Pam Davis has been a leader with nursing home transition, working with consumers on goals to help them prepare for that day they move into the community, as well as one of our go to people when it comes to legislative and self-advocacy issues.
Bill Vinner tells his story to high school students, with a humor that they absolutely love! Also, if you have been to any of our social events, you may have seen Bill’s art work, he creates all of our posters, signs, and maps for events, a truly talented man!
Lynne Kelly has been our representative for the Right to Know Campaign at several conferences including Missoula, Pablo, and the Race for the Cure in Helena (not to mention her full size portrait you may have recognized at some of these events!) She also is our representative with Missoula Aging Services as a friendly visitor, going into the nursing homes to visit people and help them realize living in the community could be a possibility for them. You may also recognize Lynne at the front desk of Summit, or in the community providing information and referral services, presentations on her life in the high schools, and gathering donations and supporters for our fun Summit Social Events.
Sierra Lode presents her story to high school classes, and has read stories to preschoolers to help teach at a young age that people with disabilities are people too.
Tom Thompson and Jessica Schambron are our dynamic duo specializing in a little bit of everything! They started their own MS and Disability social group, inviting others monthly to movies, camping, and other fun activities while providing each other in the group some informal peer mentoring. They also are always ready to jump in and put on the larger social events; as well as soak up all of the disability training they can get! Tom has also been very active in the Housing Taskforce; speaking to architects, builders, and housing officials about the importance of visitability; visit with him sometime about everything they have accomplished, you will be amazed!
Last but not least, our newest peer, Cara Wherely, has taken on the youth programs in Missoula, and has taken a huge load off of our shoulders! She is now co-facilitating two of our BALLS classes (Building Advocacy and Learning Leadership Skills), leading our YODA group (Youth Opening Doors through Advocacy), and got trained to teach one on one Living Well with a Disability classes to high school students who are interested.
This holiday season, we at the Missoula Summit office truly feel blessed to work with these folks!