Challenges-Physically, Mentally, Handicapped, Vulnerable, etc...

'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'-Matthew 25:40

Read our blog and follow us on facebook, twitter, and youtube!

My heart softens all the time when I hear words relating to "physical challenged"-developmentally disabled, handicapped, mentally ill, etc.. I've grown with many people with differenet types of "challenges". After college-UMM, I never expected to be working (resume) at a group home for "physically challenged" adults in the same town-Morris, where I went to college for 4 years.

When I began my personal relationship with Jesus, I've grown in heart to "reach-out" more to people that society ignorantly looks down upon or "the least".

"35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.' 37"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'40"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'-Matthew 25

As I've grown in this personal relationship with Him, I've grown to know and see what His heart aches for-our souls to go to Heaven through salvation. Especially the "least" that our world looks down upon.

E-mail Forward

To my family and friends,

This is a story that I recently received. I enjoyed reading it, and I hope that you enjoy it, too.

In Brooklyn, New York, Chush is a school that caters to learning disabled children. Some children remain in Chush for their entire school career, while others can be mainstreamed into conventional schools. At a Chush fundraising dinner, the father of a Chush child delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended.

After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he cried out,"Where is the perfection in my son Shaya? Everything God does is done with perfection. But my child cannot understand things as other children do. My child cannot remember facts and figures as other children do. Where is God's perfection?"

The audience was shocked by the question, pained by the father's anguish and stilled by the piercing query. "I believe," the father answered, "that when God brings a child like this into the world, the perfection is in the way people react to this child."

He then told the following story about his son Shaya:

One afternoon Shaya and his father walked past a park where some boys Shaya knew were playing baseball. Shaya asked, "Do you think they will let me play?" Shaya's father knew that his son was not at all athletic and that most boys would not want him on their team. But Shaya's father understood that if his son was chosen to play it would give him a comfortable sense of belonging.

Shaya's father approached one of the boys in the field and asked if Shaya could play. The boy looked around for guidance from his teammates. Getting none, he took matters into his own hands and said, "We are losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we'll try to put him up to bat in the ninth inning."

Shaya's father was ecstatic as Shaya smiled broadly. Shaya was told to put on a glove and go out to play short center field. In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shaya's team scored a few runs but was still behind by three.

In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shaya's team scored again and now with two outs and the bases loaded with the potential winning run on base, Shaya was scheduled to be up.

Would the team actually let Shaya bat at this juncture and give away their chance to win the game? Surprisingly, Shaya was given the bat. Everyone knew that it was all but impossible because Shaya didn't even know how to hold the bat properly, let alone hit with it. However as Shaya stepped up to the plate, the pitcher moved a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shaya should at least be able to make contact.

The first pitch came in and Shaya swung clumsily and missed. One of Shaya's teammates came up to Shaya and together the held the bat and faced the pitcher waiting for the next pitch. The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly toward Shaya.

As the pitch came in, Shaya and his teammate swung at the bat and together they hit a slow ground ball to the pitcher. The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could easily have thrown the ball to the first baseman. Shaya would have been out and that would have ended the game.

Instead, the pitcher took the ball and threw it on a high arc to right field, far beyond reach of the first baseman.

Everyone started yelling, "Shaya, run to first. Run to first." Never in his life had Shaya run to first. He scampered down the baseline wide-eyed and startled. By the time he reached first base, the right fielder had the ball. He could have thrown the ball to the second baseman who would tag out Shaya, who was still running. But the right fielder understood what the pitcher's intentions were, so he threw the ball high and far over the third baseman's head. Everyone yelled,"Run to second, run to second." Shaya ran towards second base as the runners ahead of him deliriously circled the bases towards home.

As Shaya reached second base, the opposing short stop ran to him, turned him in the direction of third base and shouted, "Run to third." As Shaya rounded third, the boys from both teams ran behind him screaming, "Shaya run home."

Shaya ran home, stepped on home plate and all 18 boys lifted him on their shoulders and made him the hero, as he had just hit a "grand slam" and won the game for his team.

"That day," said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face,"those 18 boys reached their level of God's perfection."

Sent with hope for you,

Stuart R. Farm

This website is dedicated to all the people I've met with sometype of "physical challenged" and the "Church" will be moved to invite more of these people to their church services-family.

'Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.'"-Luke 14:21

*see Bible

Below are some indirect/direct personal testimonies (including an encouraging article) relating to various physical challenges:

Training Skills

During my Liberal Arts Education in college (UMM), I took the following courses related to this topic:

-General Psychology I & II
-Social Pyschology
-Developmental Pyschology I: Child Psychology
-Developmental Pyschology II: Adolescent Psychology
-Developmental Pyschology III: Adulthood, Aging Psychology
-Prejudice, Discrimination in the American Society
-Professional Ethics
-Introduction to Health

Since I started working at the group home, I have gotten training in various topics...

Documentation: (10/24/12-Otter Tail by PCS Staff)
Medication Administration Training Program
Fire Drill Report for ICF-MR Facilities (actual drills-01/17/09)
Making Sense of Sensory Integration (6/14/99, 2/25/05) [Sens. Integ. Int'l]
A View from the Inside-Living with mental illness (6/14/99-workshop at Federated Church)
-nmha, mhcsn, mni, self help)
Defensive Driving (summer of 04', 9/06 at Otter Tail Bldg. for 2.25 hours by Phil Drown)[auto] , (Tuesday, March 30th 2010 at Otter Tail-see Auto)
Residents (#28) Rights (1/25/01, 1/15/07 at Woodland Home by Ivy, 1/26/09 at Ravenwood Home by Judy) [e.g. Michigan's Group Homes]
Community Integration & Normalization (8/24/00)[e.g. Cornerstone House of Santa Barbara]
Medication Administration Training Program (mescape): (4/10/11-Inservice Make-up Issues: Drugs- Narcotics, Prescription, Pharmaceutical, Street, etc.. )

Vulnerable Adults Policy Review (1/25/01) (1/26/09)[Minnesota Status] (1.29.10) []
Seizure Information Class [Nat'l Inst. of Health]
First Aid (5/3/01, 12/06/05, 11/20/06-DAC through Nicole Arbach of the Stevens County Ambulance Services @5:30p-7:15p, 11/17/08-DAC through Jim Gillis @5:00-7:15pm) [Mayo Clinic Training]
Alzhiemers information [elderly] (5/3/01, 8/2/04))
CPR (7/9/01, 3/21/06, 11/20/06-DAC through Nicole of the Stevens County Ambulance Services @3:45p-5:15p, 11/17/08-DAC through Jim Gillis @5:00-7:15pm)[American Heart]
, 11/13/13-DAC through Stv. Cty Ambulance Services @3:45p-6:45pm (1st Aid & CPR)
Postural Drainage & Percussion Information/chest physiotherapy [Families of Spinal Muscular Atrophy]
Mental Health Consumer/Survivor Network of MN-Lobbying at State Capitol
Nonviolent Crisis Intervention Training Program (8/23/04-Hancock Community Center, 10/27/05-Otter Tail Basement, 11/14/06-Federated Church @6p-9p; 3/3/08-Stevens County D.A.C. @3:15p-4:15p by Dawn & Judy )
Emergency Safety Procedures (summer of 04') [osha]
Medication Overview Review [nursing-healthy place, online-course]
Dietary: Gluten Foods (really great food, Be A Glutten)
Rule 40 (6/26/00)
Therapeutic Intervention (8/29/12-Hancock Community Center)
Stations: Transferboard, PAL, Hoyer, Vitals Epilepsy [e.g. Epilepsy Foundation]
Job Hazards [worksheet (4.10.11)]
Mini-Boundaries Scenarios [worksheet (10.12.11) at DWH]
Setting boundaries with residents: becoming close to residents, but not too close, takes wisdom, by Eleanor Feldman Barbera March, 2004
"...Sound familiar? It's happened to me, too, I must admit. Setting boundaries can be difficult under any circumstances, but it is especially challenging when we are faced with reasonable requests from people who are legitimately in need of help. The problem starts when we take on too many extra tasks and begin to feel resentful, taken advantage of, or burned out. Boundary setting is not just about granting or not granting favors; it is about establishing appropriate personal guidelines in our relationships with residents. A lack of boundaries can foment jealousies and discord among residents and between staff members, and, when taken to an extreme, can lead to disciplinary action or job jeopardy. In order to set appropriate boundaries, it is helpful to be aware of the dynamics underlying resident/staff relationships...
HIPPA online training (5/23/13); HIPPA Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA)

PHI (Personal Health Information)
Need to know
1. Treatment 2. Payment 3.
[65] Incidential Disclosures
Resident, Tenant, & Consumer Rights
[78] HIPAA Privacy Rule
-Notice of Privacy Practices (NPP): Privacy Officer
-> Medical, Demographic, Financial Information to Family-Friends
[95] Know fax policy; use cover page w/"Confidence" written;
[107] Confidentiality
[158] Physical Security
"DSM-IV Diagnostic Criteria Borderline Personality Disorder" by Mary Johnson & Lynette of SYNERY-State Operated Community Support Services (Minnesota Dept. of Human Services) at Stevens County Developmentally Achievement Center on Monday, November 27th of 2006 @3:30p-5:15p
Related Links: Borderline Personality Today, Wikipedia, mental health, etc..
What is BPD?, from kieralexandra (Thursday, March 24th 2010 at Stevens County DAC by Psychiatrist from Fairbault, MN): Borderline Personality Disorder, from, wikipedia, Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)-" Official website of the National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder provides extensive research-based resources on borderline ..
*see LA: Psychology-Psychiatrist, Behavior, Counseling, Mentally, Mind-Control, etc..etc...
Annual Staff Inservice: [worksheets (9/5/11): Vulnerable Adult Law Orientation, Rule 40 Manual, etc..]
*Physical Restraint or Emergency Controlled Procedure (3/12 by PCS Staff at DAC from 3:30p-4:15pm)-"An unanticipated use of a restrictive procedure in order to keep the person receiving services and others safe. CDHS/DDD Regs. 1.2.11"

-Post College Courses
Understanding Culture, Understanding People

-Other Outside Work Activities:
Lobbying (2003), Fitness Challenge,

  • Attention Deficit
  • Autism
    , my experience at age of 10
  • Blindness
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Deafness
  • Down Syndrome
  • Mental Illness

  • Terets-Syndrome
  • Dyslexia

  • Dyslexic, ...helping dyslexic people make the most of their abilities
    Helpful Hints andTips for Dyslexia, LD and Learning Disabilities , from dyslexia my life
    Web Accessibility

  • National Ataxia Fundation
    *referred by my friend, Shannon F. (Mar 07')
  • Seizures

  • Remedies to Treat Epilepsy Updated: 03/06/2008 (from
    "..These seizures are transient signs and/or symptoms due to abnormal, excessive or synchronous neuronal activity in the brain. About 50 million people worldwide have epilepsy at any one time. Epilepsy is usually controlled, but not cured, with medication, although surgery may be considered in difficult cases. Not all epilepsy syndromes are lifelong..
    "I had a feedback of a child that had monthly epileptic seizures. The remedy for that one for a child anyway was 1/4 teaspoon of citric acid and 1/4 teaspoon of' baking soda, and some magnesium citrate supplements,which was about 100-150 mg. A foundation exists because a disease exists, if there were no disease, a foundation would not exist and people would be out of a job. Hence, the system perpetuates the disease. An epileptic seizures at least on my observations were at least a couple things (but more) as the cause that can be considered in a home remedy: A heavy metal toxicity and hence magnesium reduces this problem..."

    Treating epilepsy Tue, Jun 24, 2008 from
    * other treatments for some patients are Ketogenic diet or brain surgery..-Rachit Srivastava (yahoo chat 7/18/08)

    Recommended Resources



    Wagon Wheel's Hub Hancock, Minnesota-"Helping Horses heal individuals: physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually
    *met Lorna Lauinger at the 2nd Annual Volunteer Expo at the Nat'l Guard Armory in Feb 2011

    Area Services

    Arc Stevens County
    " 19032 480th Ave Morris, MN 56267-4401 Business Phone: (320) 589-3096 Toll Free: Chapter Email: Website: Chapter #: 1557 If you have any questions or would like to submit an update to this record, please email"

    -Developmentally Achievement Center of Stevens County-Minnesota
    *official website
    -Disability Services, at UMM's Briggs Library
    *according to Ferolyn, who heads this department, there are about 2% of UMM's population that uses this service.

    I met with Emma, who oversees the local DAC on Thursday, May 13th of 2004; she told me some interesting facts about the DAC. It has about 65 consumers from the local groups homes (1 of them from Hancock), who work for 19+ area businesses (e.g. delivers newspapers for the Morris Adviser, works side by side for 2 hours each day at Pizza Hut and other businesses, cleans vehicles for Heartland Chevyrolet, helps out at the local cabinet shop, etc...). They have received many distingished accolades (e.g. "Outstanding Service 99') during it's 35 years of service in the Stevens County. Emma shared about the new DAC that's being open in Benson-Swift County-expanding from it's small building and opening this week!

    Windmill Project, for families in Region IV whose children have disabilities

    Did you know that there about 4 surrounding companies that serve the "developmentally disabled" adult population?


  • Welcome to Disability Alliance

  • "Disability Alliance is a student run organization that works to promote a broader understanding of diversity and human experiences by exploring disability issues and promoting a more accessible and accepting environment.
    Disability Alliance welcomes everyone who is interested in disability issues in the Morris community.


    -Special Ed

  • Cook Jones honored by UCP- Cook Jones of Morris was honored for her efforts in starting the first special education class for children with cerebral palsy in Minnesota in 1954 Published November 13 2009

  • "..United Cerebral Palsy of Central Minnesota in October celebrated 55 years of service to individuals in Central Minnesota with cerebral palsy and other disabilities in Central Minnesota.
    Eva Cook Jones of Morris was honored for her efforts in starting the first special education class for children with cerebral palsy in Minnesota in 1954 on the campus of what is now St. Cloud State University, according to a story in the St. Cloud Times...

    Group Home Companies

    -Divine House, Inc.; 618 Pacific Ave [located next door to Morris Commercial Printing across the railroad tracks on the corner of W. 7th St. behind United Builders]; Morris, MN 56267; Contact: Bobbie Jo Staples 320.589.3652 (home locations)
    -New Beginnings, 405 W 9th St Morris, Minnesota 56267, (320) 589-0161
    "NEW BEGINNING of Morris is looking for an experienced person to work with the disabled. Part time positions available. Call Daphne. (320) 239-4955. evpe24"-Morris Sun Tribune
    -Prairie Community Services (contact Jan #320.589.1026); 801 Nevada Ave; Morris, MN 56267-[Contact Judy Richards Ravenwood (605 W. 6th St #320.589.2057)-group home I worked at or Jessica at Heartwood Home, who supervised my one&one mentoring of a local teenager]=> job application
    -REM (employment)


    Donations Welcome to help maintain this site or support the minnistry down below
    Thank you very much!

    Special Touch Ministries, an outreach to Morris and the surrounding area group homes of physically challenged adults.
    When? Every first Saturday of the month @1pm
    Where? Hossana Worship Center or designated location
    Who? surrounding area group home residents and interested volunteers that have a heart to serve these people
    What? games, arts & crafts, snacks during break-time, and praise&worship music w/interactive sermon/drama
    Contact: Morris Chapter: Jan and Cal Burmgander or Sal (Me) 320.585.5573 or

    Notes from a previous Special Touch/Assembly of God National Conference:

  • Mave's Mom
  • PEOPLE FIRST LANGUAGE, from Kathie Snow's Disability is Natural Website
  • Did you know that there about 4 surrounding companies that serve the "developmentally disabled" adult population?


  • MAHS One-Act Play | Morris Sun Tribune | Morris, Minnesota Jan 22, 2010

  • "... MAHS One-Act Play. Brian Miller, Thomas McPhee and Thomas Roberts ...
    'The Boys Next Door' delves into lives of developmentally disabled men; cast, crew prepare for next week's public performances and sub-section contes...

    "The boys next door" MAHS 2010 one-act opening night _MG_8639 on ... Jan 28, 2010
    ".. the 2010 one-act play produced by the Morris Area High School drama ...



  • Artist Leaves His Footprint On The World March 3, 2011 10:52 PM

  • "WINONA, Minn. (WCCO) — A Minnesota artist’s greatest tool just may be his determination. When Ron Gramling, age 42, of Winona, Minn. lost the use of his hands, he turned his disability into possibility.
    "This is something new that I have learned about him, recently,” said Peggy Reps of Lewiston, one of Gramling’s painting students.
    Reps and a small group of women meet in the basement of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Lewiston every week to paint. Most of them had never picked up a paint brush until they met Gramling.

    In a few years, Gramling taught his painting class to craft stunning scenes, all while hiding what he once considered an artist’s most shameful secret.
    He instructs only by voice, never picking up a paintbrush himself.
    "I don’t know that I would have had the strength that he has shown,” said student and friend Dianne Rislow.
    In downtown Winona, Gramling’s art gallery is filled with Minnesota landscapes and mystical places — his life’s work. Those frames now hold the past, because he will never paint like that again.
    Today, his only tools are a tower of white socks and his right toe.
    "I was going through socks at a very fast pace," said Gramling. “I’m a foot painter … It took about five years to say that. It’s a fairly odd thing to tell people you are painting with your feet. I was embarrassed by it.”
    Five years ago, is when the piercing pain began. Gramling was a graphic artist by day and painter by night.
    "It’s the same, exact motion of how this injure happened, which is doing a computer job and I’d go home and do that same thing with a paintbrush,” said Gramling.
    He spent his days using a digital pen to correct photographs and hours more using the same hand to hold his paintbrush.
    A doctor’s diagnosis crippled his career: cumulative trauma disorder — for Gramling it was near-paralysis from overusing his hands. Surgery and medications failed. He says he can find no cure.
    Dr. Jennine Speier with the Sister Kenny Rehab Institute at Abbott Northwestern Hospital says she has seen an explosion of patients with Gramling’s condition, mostly due to technology-related jobs.
    She says cumulative trauma disorder happens with prolonged repetitive muscle use, along with awkward movement and force. At her practice, she says the condition is common with graphic designers, musicians, people in the recording industry and, in general, people who type or use a mouse all day long.
    Speier says cumulative trauma disorder can be prevented by taking frequent breaks and using ergonomic tools, but once the damage is done, it can be very difficult to reverse. Intense rehabilitation is necessary to repair small muscles with microscopic injuries.
    That's the case for Gramling.
    "I lose all feeling from the shoulder down. Right now, there’s hardly any feeling from here to here,” said Gramling, pointing from his shoulder to his wrist. “So the hardest thing for me is, I look normal to people.”
    That conflict, appearing normal with excruciating pain, was the beginning of deep depression.
    "I went absolutely crazy because how do you do art, when you can’t do art?” said Gramling. “It’s so frustrating to not be able to do what you are put on this earth to do, and that’s be an artist for me. It’s in every cell of my body. I have to paint.”
    Art did imitate life when Gramling picked up his camera. He recorded every painful moment, 70 hours over five years, all, he says, to prove he had no choice but to paint with his feet.
    Gramling first put a paintbrush between his toes and found no hope when he tried to paint sitting down.
    "I’d got these knots in here,” said Gramling, pointing to his toes. “So for an entire year, I could not paint.”
    Frustrated, Gramling became a recluse.
    An artist can wait his entire life for a breakthrough, and finally, Gramling’s came by accident, when one day he dragged his toe across his canvas.
    "Then it’s thousands and thousands and thousands of those toe prints, built up in layers like that,” said Gramling.
    It’s a deliberate ballet of tapping, twisting and balancing, a process that can take several months before a painting is revealed.
    He says using a different part of his body opened up a different part of his mind.
    "When this happened to me, I thought it was the worst thing in the entire world. After about three years, I realized it was the best thing that ever happened to me in the entire world,” said Gramling. “I always wanted to break new ground as an artist. I just didn’t know how until I was literally forced into doing that.”
    It took around three years and 32 paintings before Gramling realized he had landed back on his feet. His former landscape paintings were realistic with muted colors. His new view of nature became bold and abstract.
    "Because I thought if I’m bizarre enough to be painting with my feet and telling people that, I might as well use the colors that I am truly feeling inside, you know?” said Gramling.
    On every painting is his size 12 signature — a blue footprint — marks a final step forward.
    "I was hoping that through that I could inspire one person out there,” said Gramling. “Something clicked inside my mind and I started to see the world in a completely different way.”
    Today at his painting class, Gramling’s students now capture the beauty of what can be imagined and what can be overcome.
    "There’s many more things that we can do just by watching his example,” said Rislow, who credits him as an inspiration.
    Gramling has now overcome his challenge in another way. He launched a public art project called Artovance, on the premise that even if he couldn’t physically create art, someone else could do it for him.
    "It ended up being my ultimate dream project — to let everybody else do art. I envisioned this book being passed from person to person, and thought ‘Wow, what if someone would feed out of that person’s idea?’” said Gramling.
    In these books, people create a page of their own art in a book and pass it along to someone else. So far, it’s reached across to hundreds of schools and hospitals in the U.S. and is being used as art therapy. The books are even in 20 countries around the world, according to Gramling.
    His journey is proof that it doesn’t matter what hand life has dealt Ron Gramling, he’s an artist who has already left his footprint on the world."


  • Zambians visit America to learn about disabilities By Daniel J. Vance Special to ASSIST News Service Sunday, June 15, 2008

  • "MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA (ANS) -- Katy Thuleen of Golden Valley, Minnesota, recently hosted visitors from the African nation of Zambia interested in learning American ways of helping people with disabilities.
    Zambia is an extremely poor nation, where the life expectancy is about 40 years and the average yearly wage less than $400.
    This particular Zambian group came courtesy of Catholic church and private U.S. funding, and consisted primarily of priests, nuns, brothers, and parents of children with disabilities.
    Thuleen was asked to be a host because she is the Minneapolis-St. Paul manager of Joni and Friends, a U.S. faith-based disability outreach. Also, her wheelchair-using son Zach has cerebral palsy.
    At Zach's birth, doctors said he would never be independent, lift his head on his own or be aware of his surroundings.
    �But that didn't happen at all,� said 48-year-old Thuleen in a telephone interview. �Right now he's a very active, typical teenager.�
    As for the visiting Zambians: �The group wanted to visit a 'typical' family affected by disability,� Thuleen said.
    �They wanted to see an accessible home and talk with Zach's siblings. And they wanted to learn what our government does, because people with disabilities don't receive any government support there.�
    One of the Zambian priests had thousands of parishioners affected by disability, and one nun worked at a �group home� housing 1,200 people with disabilities.
    While in America, they were acquiring knowledge in order to properly draw up a realistic proposal to present to their national government.
    �They were especially interested in the accessibility of our home,� said Thuleen, whose residence has lifts, accessible bathrooms, and a ramp leading to the basement.
    �They also wanted to know about my son's education. Zach became involved in an early intervention program at six weeks old, and today a number of teachers, therapists, and health professionals help him. They don't have all that for people with disabilities in Zambia.�
    She said the Zambians were gracious and humble, and spoke respectively of the people they served.
    At the end of our visit together,� she said, �we all prayed, and they sang me a song. They gave me a copper bracelet, and said that copper in their country was believed to have healing qualities.
    "It wasn't they felt I needed any healing, but that they wanted to keep me strong because of my work as a parent and with Joni and Friends.� Daniel J. Vance's weekly newspaper column Disabilities has been published in about 250 newspapers. Disabilities is the nation's best-read weekly column featuring people with disabilities. It's sent free to newspapers because of grants from Blue Valley Sod, Palmer Bus Service, and All American Foods.
    Mr. Vance is the editor of Connect Business Magazine and the author/co-author of ten books, including his newest 172-page history collection called Unique Mankato! Unique Mankato! relives eight great forgotten stories of Mankato, Minnesota, including ones involving U.S. Vice President Schuyler Colfax, Julia A. Sears, Harry Truman, Moses Wickersham, Sinclair Lewis and Maud Hart Lovelace.
    Vance and his wife homeschool a 12-year-old daughter with spina bifida and an 11-year-old son. A Cincinnati native, he moved in 1995 from Baltimore to Minnesota, where the weather gets plenty cold.
    Contact Vance at "

    *see Goodnewseverybody: African


  • Camp Confidence, in East Gull Lake

  • *met Erin Cummings, who was a young adult representative I met at the 2005 Windmill Project Retreat in the Holiday Inn-Alexandria. Contact: Bob Slaybaugh


  • MnDACA Annual Conference,

  • June 16 - 17, 2011 St. Cloud Holiday Inn
    *I attended this annual conference in St. Cloud for the 1st time and went to the following workshops:
    Mental Illness
    Digital Imaging
    "Who Motivates the Motivator"

    -Alzheimers Diseases
    -"When "at" became @" (keeping positive through changes in life)


  • Life Works

  • October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month

    "More people than ever before are coming to Lifeworks to meet their employment goals. Make a difference in the life of someone with a disability today. Support the growing need for employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Watch our newest video and learn how you can make a difference today!"
  • Task Unlimited

  • " a group of not-for-profitCollage organizations committed to helping adults with serious and persistent mental illness and brain disorder improve their status by promoting their self-sufficiency."
    *referred by an employee (Andrea) on 8/5/08


  • What Happens to Recycled Holiday Lights?, Dec. 10, 2009, 6:45p.m CT from, (video) Chris Shaffer reports

  • "Some recycled holiday lights end up at the Adult Training & Habitation Center in Hutchison, MN
    "HUTCHINSON, Minn. (WCCO) - WCCO-TV is collecting lights for the "Recycle Your Holidays" program. Those who want to recycle used lights can drop them off at participating businesses like Snyders Drug Stores or at the Holidazzle. However, what happens to all those old lights once they are picked up?
    Most people are doing away with old lights and using new LED environmentally friendly lights. Recycling those old bulbs keeps them out of landfills and provides jobs for the developmentally disabled.
    Jeannie Caotone and about 16 other workers at the Adult Training and Habilitation Center in Hutchinson are taking the lights apart.
    "This is a nice job," said Jeannie Cotone. "I'm taking the Christmas lights and unscrewing the Christmas lights."
    Workers take the bulbs and then remove the glass and plastic. It's hard work. One person did over 200 lights before lunchtime on Thursday.
    "Typically, in a day we're probably going through 500 pounds," said Jason Telander, the executive director at ATHC.
    Once the lights are stripped off the string, they are then recycled into copper, glass and plastic.
    "Once the bulbs are removed from our facilities then this glass is then brought to Green Light Recycling," said Telander. "They basically take the bulbs there and they crush the glass and extract the metal and other contaminates."
    The goal is to collect 50,000 lights and keep these workers busy until July. From the looks of things, they are well on their way.
    "So far this month we've collected 5,000 pounds of lights," said Telander.
    Besides being able to hand off your lights to recycle elves at the Holidazzle, recyclers can also drop off them off at participating Snyders Drug Stores and get a $5 coupon.
    There is a drop off area on the WCCO-TV plaza in downtown Minneapolis at 11th Street and Marquette Avenue. "


  • Caregiver to disabled Minn. brothers pleads guilty 12:03 AM, Feb 9, 2011

  • "OWATONNA, Minn. -- The former caregiver of two severely disabled brothers in Owatonna has pleaded guilty to child endangerment after she was caught on videotape sleeping and leaving them unattended.
    The Owatonna People's Press reports that the neglect of Alex and Levi Stewart, teenagers with a neuromuscular disorder that require continuous care, occurred between June and October 2008. The boys' parents decided to videotape health aide D_ A_ on the job when they noticed their sons had lost a lot of weight. She had been hired to care for the boys in 2007.
    The tapes showed A_ often left the boys unattended while she slept, watched movies, hosted male guests and took smoke breaks. The boys' feeding machine was not attended to and was sometimes turned off."


  • Vulnerable Adults Mandated Reporting, from

  • "Minnesota Statutes, Section 626.557, frequently referred to as the vulnerable adult law, was initially a 1979 bill that was facility-focused with no designated lead agency or common entry point. The law was created as a result of a rape in a nursing home of a 30-year old woman who was non-verbal and bed bound. In 1980, the statute was enacted, declaring public policy to protect vulnerable adults. The Department of Human Services Adult Protection unit was created in 1981 to provide training and consultation to counties..."
    The who, what and where of mandated reporting
    "To report abuse or neglect of a vulnerable adult in Minnesota, contact the local Common Entry Point (CEP) office in the county where the vulnerable adult lives or where the maltreatment occurred."
    Vulnerable Adult
    ".. (4) Regardless of residence or whether any type of service is received, possesses a physical or mental infirmity or other physical, mental, or emotional dysfunction:..
    ".. means abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation as defined below:.."
    Types of abuse
    "Conduct which is not an accident or therapeutic conduct as defined in this section, which produces or could reasonably be expected to produce physical pain or injury or emotional distress including, but not limited to, the following:..
    Test your knowledge
    "John is 25 years old and lives at an adult foster care home. He also attends a day training and habilitation program five days per week. John has limited communication abilities.
    On Monday morning, John arrives at his day program as usual. As the day program staff persons are assisting him off of the van they notice a large bruise on the left side of his face and neck. When asked about the bruise, John is unable to tell the day program staff persons how he sustained the bruise...
    ..Report the unexplained bruise to the CEP (Common Entry Point). Also, have John evaluated by a nurse at the day program or a health care clinic in the community. Take pictures of the bruise...

    "..You go to your mother’s house and she is visiting in the kitchen with a friend. Anna, your mom’s friend, appears very fragile. She is very thin and uses a walker. You notice that she has bruises on the inside of her arm that appear to be the size of finger tips. When you ask her how she got those bruises she avoids the conversation. You know that her adult son comes home some weekends and you have heard Anna complain about his temper and alcohol consumption. You know that he is not staying with her now, but you’re concerned that when he comes back she won’t be safe. ..
    " A resident who has dementia and a history of aggressive behavior complains that the nursing assistant who put her to bed the night before slapped her...
    Yes, the incident should be reported.

    More definitions
    " Neglect means:An older man with a walker and older woman walking beside him
    (a) The failure or omission by a caregiver to supply a vulnerable adult with care or services, including but not limited to, food, clothing, shelter, health care, or supervision which is:

    Test your knowledge
    "Meet Jane:
    Jane is 30 years old and lives in an adult foster care facility. Jane is diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury and insulin dependent diabetes. An adult foster care staff person brings Jane to see her physician for a routine check-up. During the visit to her physician, Jane’s blood sugar levels are noted to be very high. The physician asks Jane about the high blood sugar levels. Jane tells the physician that she ran out of insulin three days ago and that the person in charge of refilling her prescriptions at the facility said that they were “working on” getting her some more. The physician asks the staff person accompanying Jane about Jane not having any insulin, but the staff person has no knowledge...
    Both A and B.
    .. Yes, the incident needs to be reported to the Common Entry Point (CEP) by the staff person accompanying Jane to the appointment.
    Letter B button Yes, the incident needs to be reported to the Common Entry Point (CEP) by the physician.

    Test your knowledge
    "Meet Marvel:
    Marvel is a 90 year old woman who is living alone since the death of her husband Bill, approximately one month ago. Bill had managed the finances, done the grocery shopping and maintained the yard. As her neighbor, you have noticed there has been no activity at the home in the past week. You have not seen Marvel in over a week and you are concerned that she may not have the ability to get to the grocery store. Marvel does not have a driver’s license and her children live in other states. No one has picked up her mail and it is starting to pile up on her front step. Her yard has become overgrown and her plants have died. ..

    " A resident’s care plan indicates that the resident is not to be left unsupervised on the side of the bed because of her poor sitting balance. The resident is left sitting on the side of the bed while the nursing assistant left the room quickly to get a clean towel and washcloth. The resident falls and sustains a fracture of her humerus."
    Financial exploitation
    Test your knowledge
    "Meet Robert:
    Robert is 18 years old and lives in an adult foster care home. Robert enjoys playing video games and owns all of the latest games. One evening while talking with a staff person named Jeff, Robert says that he sure wishes he could get his video golf game disk back from the staff person who works on the weekend. Jeff asks Robert some questions and Robert says that he “loaned” the game disk to a weekend staff person two weeks ago. Robert tells Jeff that he did not really want to loan the game to the weekend staff person and told him so, but the staff person took the game anyway and said he would return it in two weeks when he worked again. As they are talking, the weekend staff person comes into work, gives Robert his game disk, and tells Robert "thanks."..
    Yes, the game disk is the property of Robert and the staff person “willfully withheld” the disk without legal authority.

    -Test your knowledge
    "Meet Joel:
    Joel is a young man who is diagnosed with bipolar disorder. He attends an adult day program where he met a new friend, Jill. Jill also attends the same day program and is diagnosed with depression. You are the facilitator of a group session at the day program. After group, Joel tells you that Jill has been “borrowing” money from him and now he is not able to pay his rent. Joel stated when he asks Jill for his money back, she gets upset with him and calls him names. This is very upsetting to Joel because he likes Jill. You’re not sure how much money Jill has borrowed, but you are concerned about Joel and his ability to say "no" to Jill the next time she asks for money. You are also concerned about Joel’s inability to pay his rent and fear he may get evicted...

    " A resident’s family member alleges that her mother’s money has been stolen. According to the family member, she gave her mother, who is a resident of the facility, $50 one week ago so that her mother would have money to get her hair done. However, the money is no longer in the drawer and her mother has not had her hair done."
    =Reporting maltreatment
    Mandated Reporting Policy for Vulnerable Adults Form PDF
    Contacting law enforcement
    "When a report is NOT required to the Common Entry Point (CEP)
    A report is not required for any of the following events:..

    Reporting maltreatment in a Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) licensed facility
    "..A mandated reporter must also submit a report to the Common Entry Point (CEP) to make an oral report of the incident, if reportable under the VAA...
    Reporting maltreatment in a Department of Human Services (DHS) licensed facility
    "..If you are a mandated reporter in a DHS licensed program and make an internal report to the facility designated reporter, you have met your mandated reporting responsibilities. It is the facility’s responsibility to determine whether your information will be reported to the CEP, and if so, make the report. The facility must also respond to you in writing within two working days regarding whether a report was made to the CEP. This written notice must be provided in a manner that protects your confidentiality as a reporter...
    Maltreatment investigations
    "Conducting maltreatment investigations
    Investigator reviewing the case. There are three agencies that can take the lead in conducting the maltreatment investigation. MS 626.5572, Subd. 13 defines the LEAD AGENCY as:
    The primary administrative agency responsible for investigating reports made under section MS 626.557.
    (a) The Department of Health is the lead agency for the facilities which are licensed or are required to be licensed as hospitals, home care providers, nursing homes, residential care homes, or boarding care homes.
    (b) The Department of Human Services is the lead agency for the programs licensed or required to be licensed as adult day care, adult foster care, programs for people with developmental disabilities, mental health programs or chemical health programs.
    (c) The county social service agency or its designee is the lead agency for all other reports, including reports involving vulnerable adults receiving services from an unlicensed personal care provider organization under section MS 256.0659 (Laws of Minnesota, 2009, Chapter 79, Effective July 1, 2009). ..

    Confidentiality for mandated reporters Summary Quiz
    *took this on Friday, January 29th of 2010

    Group Home Companies

  • ACR Homes, Inc,, based in St. Paul-Roseville, MN
  • Creative Care, Moorhead area
  • Lutheran Social Services (employment)
  • Prairie Community Service, of St. Francis Health Services
  • REM Minnesota
  • Zumbro House Inc.

  • *visited a house in Bloomington, MN on Saturday, April 14th of 2007. Referred to site by hot

    Legal Services

    Minnesota Disability Law Center and The Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities


  • Beacu coup-Ultimate Source of Free Information, minnesota disability linkage "search"

  • *my/this site is posted here (found on Sunday, November 18th of 2007)


  • JRG Ministries: ForEver Friends, meets every Thursdays @-7:45p for a meal $6; singing, praise&worship, devotional and entertainment
  • *Based in Maple Grove and meets in Brooklyn Center's Hilton, which I get a seasonal calender of events by mail

    Mission Stories

  • Loving Your Neighbor As Yourself

  • "Northeast Residence, a non-profit organization caring for developmentally disabled children and adults, found themselves in a tight situation last year"


  • Friendship Ventures, based in Annandale, MN
  • The Minnesota State Council on Disability (MSCOD)

  • *met a representative-Dale F. Kalpin-at the Douglas County Fair (8/21/05)


  • ARC Greater Twin Cities

  • Minnesota Help, Disability Linkage Line-resource database
  • Twin Cities Disabled Services, from citysearch yellowpage directory
  • Understanding disabilities and Creating oPortunities


  • Special Olympics Minnesota

  • Richfield Middle School


  • Disturbing Trend: Violence Against Vulnerable People, Nov 13, 2008 10:54 pm US/Central (WCC0)

  • "(WCCO) What happened to a mentally disabled Minnesota man was vicious enough. One month ago police say a group of men kidnapped, robbed, beat and burned Justin Hamilton off a rural road in Dakota County.
    He's now recovering from that unthinkable attack. But Hamilton's family discovered he's not the only survivor.
    Investigators are worried about increasing violence against our more vulnerable neighbors.
    Hundreds of cards of support flooded in for Justin after the attack. But dozens tell stories of violence that other vulnerable people have endured, much like Justin.
    "Doctors can't be sure if I'll ever mentally fully recovery from this whole traumatic thing that has happened," Justin said.
    Mary Hauck manages apartments for people with disabilities and last month she was stunned at the sigh of on mentally disabled resident.

    "I could not recognize him, he had been beaten so severely," said Hauck.
    She said that the resident left a store and was walking home. When he got to his apartment, two guys confronted him and tried to take his backpack. He snatched it back from them, ran away and tried to ditch them.
    He hid between cars in a nearby parking lot but the guys found him and badly beat him.
    "Bloody eyes, black and blue," described Hauck.
    Other disabled residents are on edge after the attack.
    "I feel very vulnerable, especially these days it seems like more and more assaults and crimes are happening with people with disabilities," said disabled resident Melissa Gleason.
    "Our numbers in adult protection in the last three years have risen dramatically," said Hennepin County Adult Protection Supervisor Cynthia Carlson.
    Just in Hennepin County, maltreatment reports went from 6,000 in 2005 to 8,000 so far this year; that's a 33 percent increase.
    The county said the reason behind the increase is that more disabled people are moving out of group homes and into communities. Statistics show that 20 percent of disabled people are financially exploited as well.
    "It's an easy prey," said Gleason.
    Case workers say much of the abuse goes unreported because the victims are embarrassed and fear retaliation and more violence if they say anything.
    Community members are urged to get involved and call police or county social service if they suspect a vulnerable adult is at risk."



  • All Abilities
  • Family Village
  • Visual Arts Center, from UCLA
  • Careers

  • Resume Database-National Business & Disability Council 1.800.839.6163
    *connecting job seekers with disabilities; found this at the UMM's Briggs Library: Learning Disability Center-Contact: Ferolyn Angell


    October-National Disability Awareness Month

  • National Disability Employment Awareness Month (Library of ...

  • " The Library of Congress celebrates 2010 National Disability Employment Awareness Month by recognizing the contributions of disabled Americans to our society ...
  • Bank of America
  • Foods



  • Greenhouse project serves disabled June 07, 2009|By Joe Eaton and Ron Sulliva

  • "Tucked into Golden Gate Park's nursery, Elva's Greenhouse was the scene recently of a lively party. The greenhouse is Ben Oude Kamphuis' latest addition to Project Insight, the city program he directs that connects disabled people and gardening.
    A freshly painted sign honors Elva Vergari, a Project Insight participant since its inception in 1994, who died last year. Gonzalo Garcia, a courtly Colombian participant, recalls her as "our Helen Keller, blind and deaf and a beautiful lady."
    "She would have loved this," says one of Vergari's granddaughters, pointing out a photo of her grandmother dancing with Oude Kamphuis....
    Park employees, including carpenters and plumbers, donated time and skills to refurbish it. They even got a deal on pavers from South Beach Harbor for wheelchair-accessible flooring.
    Oude Kamphuis gives special credit to Sean Corritore, a part-time staffer at San Francisco's Recreation and Park Department, for the heavy lifting: "He helps me out so much with the hard labor I can't do because of my back. If it hadn't been for Sean, this wouldn't have happened."
    A dedicated scrounger, Oude Kamphuis found a 550-gallon water tank "just laying in the boneyard" and rigged it to collect runoff from the greenhouse roof. "I want to make it a green center," he says. "We're looking at doing solar and wind energy, with little windmills on top of the roof. Then we'll be off the grid."...
    "Throughout the week, 70 different people with disabilities use the greenhouse, from elementary school age to seniors," he says. "People come out to do a little seeding, a little planting, a little eating. It becomes a social network for everyone." The greenhouse is just one part of Project Insight's operations.

    Ablevision visits a greenhouse
    "Triangle's Ablevision is an innovative, award winning show produced entirely by people with disabilities. Here we see the greenhouse FLOW run out of the Fernald School in Waltham. FLOW is run by people with disabilities and sells seasonal plants, flowers, and decorations. For more information about Ablevision, or to order episodes in their entirety, please visit Enjoy!"
    =>New Jersey
  • Greenhouse Projects Nurture Produce and Workers, By GLENN COLLINS Published: March 1, 2011

  • "...Mr. Brusberg, a former technology consultant who experienced memory loss after surgery on a cerebral aneurysm, is one of 37 trainees in three New Jersey greenhouses tending a riot of vegetables and herbs; they are the vanguard of a $800,000 program with national ambitions. The project, called Arthur & Friends, trains developmentally disabled workers to grow pristine, sustainable produce for restaurants and farmers' markets. About 200 people have been educated in the art of dirtless farming, and more are waiting to learn. ..
    Mr. Brusberg's colleagues in the greenhouses include men and women who have dealt with autism, cerebral palsy, strokes, traumatic brain injury, Huntington's disease and severe bipolar disorder.
    The program calls the trainees "friends" because "they aren't really clients or consumers, and since many are older, they don't really answer to the word 'student,' " said Wendie Blanchard, the nonprofit project's founder and program director.
    ...The first friend in the program was Mrs. Blanchard's nephew, Arthur Blanchard, 33, who was born with Down syndrome. When he told his aunt how bored he was, toiling in a sheltered workshop popping dog treats like pigs' ears into plastic bags for five hours a day, they began discussing how he might find a more rewarding job.
    "We thought, 'What would continue to be around in the recession?,' and we thought -food," Mrs. Blanchard said, recalling their conversation five years later. "We decided we wanted to create something more meaningful."
    Now, Mr. Blanchard's life has changed. "And I've been learning a lot about hydroponic farming and packaging the produce," he said. "I even do some of the deliveries to local restaurants. There are lots of challenges, but that's good."

    NJ greenhouse project nurtures produce, disabled workers,
    Meet the workers at Arthur & Friends Greenhouse Project

    "Kessler Foundation leads the way in linking science and grantsmanship so that people with disabilities can lead more productive, independent and fulfilling lives. For more information about Kessler Foundation, go to"
    =>New York
  • Commercial Greenhouse/Horticulture,

  • " Program participants who work in the Lifestyles Greenhouse are given the opportunity to learn and develop skills within (2) commercial greenhouses. Program participants develop knowledge and skill in the arena of horticulture. Program participants perform a variety of tasks in the greenhouse that include garden maintenance, vegetable harvesting, and flower cultivation. The Lifestyles Greenhouse offers outreach services and workshops to individuals and groups within the community. Services can include centerpiece preparation for parties, beautification of community landmarks and light landscaping of personal homes. Program participants are also afforded the opportunity to participate in community flower sales that take place on campus and in the community...."

    Group Homes

  • Bethesda Lutheran Homes
  • -Products

  • Norelco, shaver
  • Tena Professionals, for incontinents (bladder control)
  • Health


    Aimee Copeland on 'Katie': 'Love Life'

    Watch More News Videos at ABC | 2012 Presidential Election | Entertainment & Celebrity News

    "Flesh-eating disease survivor tells Katie Couric that she doesn't like being called "disabled." 09/11/2012 "


  • Disability Law
  • Ministires

  • Bridge Ministries, in Washington State (Special Touch Nat'l Conf referal)
  • Joni and Friends
  • Related Sites:
    5 Minutes Bible Study - The Crucible of Suffering

    "By Dr. Harold Sala Don't be obsessed with getting more material things. Be relaxed with what you have. since God assured us, "I'll never let you down, never walk off and leave you." Hebrews 13:5, The Message.
    "No affliction would trouble a child of God," wrote G. Campbell Morgan, "if he knew God's reason for sending it." But, of course, that is the difficult part--why does God allow some things to happen? "Take it by faith!" people say, but to take by faith the rest of your life in a wheelchair is no easy matter, especially if you are a young man or woman with the rest of your life before you. In July 1967, a young woman, who was then 17 years of age, dived into the water not realizing how shallow it was.
    Joni Eareckson Tada has come to be known and loved by thousands of people around the world since that day when she sustained a broken neck, an accident that left her confined to a wheelchair as a quadriplegic for the rest of her life. At the time, Joni was an energetic, athletic teenager with a real zest for living. That she might spend her life fighting physical handicaps never occurred to her until that fateful day that changed the course of her life.
    Instead of producing a bitter, angry person full of resentment and hatred towards God, who allowed the ordeal, Joni has matured and grown into a beautiful woman who has depth that would never have been possible had she not faced the confinement of a wheelchair. Says Joni, "Today as I look back, I am convinced that the whole ordeal of my paralysis was inspired by God's love. I was not the brunt of some cruel divine joke. God has reasons behind my suffering, and learning some of them has made all the difference in the world."
    This woman discovered that being a Christian did not immunize her from facing the problem of suffering. Neither did it insure that she would never face agonizing bouts with depression, discouragement and, at times, even defeat. But it did give her a hope and a confidence that God is still God and His ways are beyond questioning. .."

  • Love Byrd, reaching out to physically disabled people with all types
  • Shepherds Ministries

  • " Shepherds exists to glorify Jesus Christ by supporting people with developmental disabilities to reach their potential. It is our desire to be a pre-eminent provider of Christ-centered services for people with developmental disabilities in order to encourage them in a personal and growing relationship with Jesus Christ and support them in reaching Appropriate Independence."
    Shepherd's residents share the Gospel Posted: 23 July, 2009 (Mission Network News)
    'USA (MNN) ? Shepherd's Ministries believes developmentally disabled people have a role to play in the Great Commission. That's why Director of spiritual life Paul Von Tobel recently took four guys to the Students Equipped to Minister to Peers (SEMP) conference at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago.
    "At Shepherds, we really believe that people with developmental disabilities are created for a purpose, and so we want them to live on purpose. There's no greater purpose than the Great Commission," Von Tobel explained.
    From July 6-11, the group attended personal evangelism classes in the mornings and spent the afternoons witnessing on the streets of Chicago. They learned to open conversations by asking questions and to be up front about why they were there and what they were doing.
    This training helped the guys from Shepherd's to be effective, as did the testimonies they had written out before they came to Chicago. God also used them effectively as they were taught to incorporate prayer into their witnessing conversations.
    "Before we ended a conversation with anybody, we asked them if we could pray for them," Von Tobel explained. "The guys are true prayer warriors, and so that was a great opportunity for them to minister."
    They went out to witness in a group with other conference attendees, called a "pod group." Within the group, each person went out to witness with a partner.
    "What really made it work was that each guy was paired up with a witnessing partner," Von Tobel explained. "That witnessing partner really was able to help with the conversation, making it natural. It was great to see the teamwork and the dynamics with the youth that the guys were paired up with."
    One day, the group was traveling back and forth on the L's brown line, witnessing to people in different cars. One of the guys from Shepherd's, Sean Burdett, and his partner, Stephanie, got into a conversation with a girl in one car.
    The girl "grew up in the church, but had a lot of questions for her youth pastor, and she didn't feel like her questions were satisfactorily answered," Von Tobel explained. "So she walked away from the church and really walked away from the faith. And they found out that she's really searching for the truth and doesn't really know what she believes."
    Sean took the opportunity to share his testimony with the girl.
    "After Sean got done, the girl said that she really appreciated his attitude, his positive attitude, and how it was just huge encouragement to her," Von Tobel related.
    Sean was thankful for the opportunity to share his faith.
    "The greatest thing is the Great Commission--to go and share the Gospel," said Sean. "The Bible says that we are to make disciples of all nations. We should make disciples in our communities and in our workplaces. And I'm really thankful that I have the privilege to go on this trip."
    Shepherd's Ministries is committed to helping people like Sean reach their God-given potential, and that includes utilizing their abilities to share the Gospel.
    "I think that God has specifically created those with developmental disabilities to reach others with disabilities," Von Tobel said. "They're the best ones to reach their peers, their friends, their coworkers, or the people that they're around at Special Olympics. That is their purpose; God has given them that purpose. And we need to be equipping them, raising them up, and giving them the opportunity to share Christ."
    Click here if you would like to support Shepherds Ministry. "

  • Special Touch Ministry, Inc

  • " began as a small summer camp attended by 32 people, the vision was for a viable nationwide ministry that would open the doors of the church to people with disabilities. As others have caught the Chivers’ vision, the Summer Get Away program experienced phenomenal growth, doubling in attendance three consecutive years. Quality ministry with integrity and continual growth have gained Special Touch Ministry a high degree of respect, both in and out of the community of people with disabilities..."
    Special Touch Ministry Wisconsin 2008 Getaway

    ".. provides lots of opportunities for people with disabilities to experience God, be included in the church and to build meaningful relationships becoming really good friends with caring believers like you and me. .."


  • I Am Sam, with Sean Penn
  • The Other Sister, two dev. dis adults falling in love with each other and want to elope
  • Radio starring Cuba Good Jr, who plays an awesome role as a developmentally disabled young man that gets the recognition he deserves in a "real life" on-going story in Anderson, South Carolina. He gets help from Coach Harold Jones (of T.L. Hanna High School), who symbolizes a "good citizen" helping the "less unfortunate". Jones uses his leadership position in the community to positively influence others in the community to "welcome" "Radio" in their community with acceptance and respect !

  • Radio (Trailer)

    " Movie trailer for "Radio" (2003)
    I was very inspired watching this movie during a winter storm in Morris on Friday, January 21 of 2005. It encouraged me to "keep going" after 5 years in my current job as a caregiver at the group home I work at. I personally reccomend this to all caregivers and small-town communities, like Morris-to better understand, respect, and make the "dev. dis. adult" population feel more welcome and be part of the community!
    I first heard about this movie when "Special Touch Ministries" showed this movie last year in one of their monthly events. I wasn't able to watch it as I was occupied in caring for one of the "consumers" during the films showing. I finally had the chance to watch it!

    Related Resources:
    -Radio & Coach Jones, official homepage
    -Radio, official sony pictures movie homepage

  • Rain Man

  • *see Health-Autism, Spectrum Disorders, Fragile X, etc...
  • The Ringer, comedy on Special Olympics
  • Christian
    'ohnny Knoxville stars as Steve, who is the ultimate ?nice guy? forced into a scam to fix the Special Olympics in order to pay for an operation for a dear friend who had an accident while tending his garden. Steve and his uncle devise a plan to take out the handicap superstar athlete by beating him in the multiple sport competitions."
  • What's Eating Gilbert Grape

  • -Cartoon

  • The Crippled Lamb

  • "The classic children's book The Crippled Lamb comes to home video in this special adaptation with full animation, original songs, and a name value cast including Jodi Benson (The Little Mermaid) and Robby Benson (Beauty and the Beast, Ice Castles) performing character voicings. Produced by award-winning TLC Entertainment."
    Max Lucado, The Crippled Lamb

    "A touching story about a disabled lamb who finds he has a special purpose and place in this world. Because Joshua the Lamb is different, he often feels left out - like on a wintry night when he was left behind in a Bethlehem stable. This touching tale helps kids see that even if they are different, God has a unique plan for their lives."

    Music Performers

  • Tony Melendez, a performer that plays with what God has given despite having no arms

  • *performed in Fergus Falls on 3/1/04 for a benefit concert from Branson, Missouri


  • National Organization on Disability
  • Resources

  • Self Advocacy, advocating change together-"training for people with developmental and other disabilities
  • Schools


  • Shepherds Ministries College

  • "...a post secondary educational institution designed to help people with developmental disabilities make the transition from school to work and from home to independent living. The educational experience will include three important components:"
    Classes begin at Shepherds College Posted: 6 August, 2008 (Mission Network News)
    "USA (MNN) ― On August 4, Brian Meyers began his first day of classes at Shepherds College, on the campus of Shepherds Ministries in Union Grove, WI.
    "It was really hard. It was good, and hard," Brian said. "We have really good classes here, but they're really challenging."
    August 4 was also the first day of classes ever held at Shepherds College. One characteristic makes it stand out from other schools -- it serves students like 19-year-old Brian, who have a primary diagnosis of Intellectual Disability.
    "It's a wonderful, wonderful place," said Brian's father, Dave Meyers. "Shepherds Ministry I think is not only going to be able to help guide hearts, but to really give hope to those with developmental disabilities, that they can be successful. They can be proud of an opportunity for them to really serve and make a difference in the world and in their life, and Shepherds College is providing that forum for them to do that."


  • ARC
  • Ramsey County Human Services: Developmentally Disabilities
  • -Products

  • Assistive Technology-Minnesota
  • Discovery Toys
  • Sports

    Special Olympics

    "This is a video supporting the Special Olympics. I didn't make it, it was emailed to me and I thought it should be up here."

  • Special Olympics

  • Bobby Martin, noseguard for Colonel White High School in Dayton, Ohio. Why is this young man the biggest...
  • Sports Shooter: The Biggest Man on the Field
  • *saw him the the "Biggest D*MM Sports Show (Fox Sports Network) Tuesday, Nov 23rd 2005

    *see Sports: Boxing

    One-Armed MMA Fighter shows amazing battle

    "Nick Newell vs Denis Hernandez XFC 15 - Tribute (2011/11/02)"


    My Redeemer Lives - Team Hoyt

    "Incredible video about the relationship between a father and son.... and God's relationship with us."
    *see Summer Olympic Games, from Beijing China 2008


  • Marleen Klepes was healed at age 18 from quadriplegic after being diagnosed of cerebral palsy when was born

  • Sites: CBN, Now owner of Heaven Scent Flowers in Missouri
    *referred by Jan and Cal of Special Touch (11/30/04)
    Nick Vujicic's Testimony

    "How having no arms and no legs has affected his walk with God."



  • Open Directory: Society-Disabled Arts
  • Events


  • Records are made to be broken By Rich Cline, 2K Plus International Sports Media Special to ASSIST News Service Thursday, September 6, 2012

  • "..LONDON, UK (ANS) -- One of the top competitors at the Paralympics, American swimmer Jessica Long has already won five gold medals and two silvers here in London. And with two more finals to come, she's not finished yet.
    Golden swimmer, Jessica Long (Photo: Getty Images)
    Born in Russia and adopted by an American family at 13 months old, Jessica's lower legs were amputated when she was just a year and a half old due to a bone deficiency in her feet and legs. But she hasn't let that slow her down, participating in gymnastics, cheerleading, ice skating, cycling, trampolining and rock climbing. She was even the runner-up in speed rock-climbing at the 2006 Extremity Games. And she won three gold medals at Athens 2004 and four at Beijing 2008.
    Now 20, she is the world leader in the S8 category. “When I was 12 [in Athens] I had no expectations. And then when I was 16 [in Beijing] I put tons of pressure on myself, she said. “But now that I'm 20 I have no pressure. I don't have anything to prove. I already have my gold medals, so now I'm just going out and having a lot of fun. And it's working so far!”
    Being that much faster than everyone else in the pool, her main competition tends to be herself, so it's no wonder that she's always reaching to break her own world records. “I set my goals very, very high,” she said. “I feel like I'm always competing against myself and setting new goals. The training is exhausting and hard, but coming to London makes all those hard practices and 5am starts worth it. Records are made to be broken.”
    And she faces each race as a new challenge. “Yesterday I could celebrate my gold medal and today I put that behind me,” she said. “I'm not going to go down without a fight."
    After winning a gold medal in world record time here in London, she said, “What I always like to say is that I swam my heart out. And I can honestly say I swam my heart out and gave it everything I had. But I'm also really happy to see my coach, and my family who are up in the stands. And I give all the glory to God always. I'm just really thankful and blessed.” ...






  • Greenhouse project helps developmentally disabled gain growing skills Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

  • "..A greenhouse project in Hackettstown is training developmentally disabled workers to grow perfect fruit and vegetables to be sold at farmers' markets.
    Each of the 37 trainees on the programme has suffered from conditions such as traumatic brain injury, strokes, autism, cerebral palsy, severe bipolar disorder and Huntington's disease.
    One of them, Todd Brusberg, who experienced memory loss after an operation on a cerebral aneurysm, expressed his delight at being involved in the $800,000 scheme.
    "It's great to be in this green oasis," he said. "It's good to work with your hands on things that are green."
    Called Arthur & Friends, the project has educated around 200 people so far on how to grow a variety of plants including baby Parris Island, Royal Oak Leaf and Firecracker lettuce.
    Greenhouse growers in Ontario, Canada, increased their acreage and production capacity in 2010 and are expected to produce nearly 250 million cucumbers this year, the Packer reported recently.ADNFCR-16000279-ID-800438309-ADNFCR ...

    ->United Kingdom
  • Designing a Greenhouse for Disabled Access,

  • Greenhouse for use by disabled

    "Community reporter Jo Booth met with Keith Gillet to have a chat about the Greenhouse used soley by the disabled at Kersal Vale allotments."




  • Kenya's mentally ill locked up and forgotten By David McKenzie and Ingrid Formanek, CNN February 25, 2011 10:24 a.m. EST

  • "..It's Thomas Matoke's home. But it's more like a cell. Matoke, 33, is tied to a steel bedframe with a piece of blue rope. He's surrounded by pools of his urine, his mattress soiled and ripped to shreds. His moans are interrupted when he chews his hand or the bedframe. He can't speak to tell his mother what he wants or feels. He's alone in his world of screams and agony. He's been like this for 30 years. Matoke got ill when he was a toddler and lost much of his high-level functioning. So his mother ties him up to prevent him from running away or hurting himself. Countless trips to doctors and hospitals haven't helped him. And poverty means there isn't much medical help his family can afford. "His siblings ask whether we wronged God, because we are really suffering," said his mom, Milkah Moraa. "I can't even hang his clothes outside because of the stink. The neighbors complain.".
    Shunned by the community, Moraa does what little she can to ease his agony. Her life is consumed by trying to take care of her sick son.
    But Matoke is not alone.
    There are an estimated 3 million, mostly poor, Kenyans living with intellectual and mental disabilities, according to NGO and United Nations figures.
    As part of a special investigation, CNN found that families are struggling to cope with their loved ones, receiving little help from the state and facing massive stigma from society.
    CNN's team filmed families locking up their loved ones, children discarded by institutions, cases of suspected sexual abuse. Kenya faces an epidemic of neglect.
    "It is such a huge problem," said Edah Maina, head of the Kenya Society for the Mentally Handicapped. "If somebody would understand the extent it is huge, then I think someone can begin to act."
    But often, Maina and her charity are the only ones acting. Scores of cases of neglect and abuse flood their office every day: autistic children chained in chicken coops, epileptic adults sealed in filthy shacks, daughters raped by their fathers. They are overwhelmed.
    Dr. Frank Njenga, president of the African Association of Psychiatrists and a leading expert in the field, believes the scale is "catastrophic."
    "We as a people have perfected the system of hiding our friends, relatives and other loved ones who have intellectual disability away from sight," Njenga said. "Out of sight, out of mind, no funding, neglected completely."
    He says that the greatest neglect comes from the Kenyan government.
    How teenager Kennedy survives
    The Kenyan government spends less than 1% of its health budget on mental health, though its own figures show that one-quarter of all patients going to hospitals or clinics complain of mental health issues.
    And the Health and Medical Services ministries have been plagued by a series of corruption scandals in recent years.
    More than $3 billion in public money was stolen in 2009, according to the Kenyan Ministry of Finance. This could have funded the entire ministry responsible for mental health -- for 10 years.
    The minister of medical services, Anyang Nyong'o, says mental health is a high priority, but it needs more funding from his central government.
    "It is definitely starved of resources, and that is not because we want to intentionally starve mental health; that is because the resource base as we have for running health services is very narrow," he said.
    "The policy is very clear," Njenga said. "Mental health services are a priority in this country. The practice is also clear. They are not."
    Whatever the cause, it is ordinary Kenyan families who suffer. And often, it's mothers who toil alone. Thomas Matoke's father has been absent for most of the past 30 years. Moraa says Matoke's condition pushed him out.
    "For how long will I carry this burden?" she asked. "Since I got married, I have not had joy the way other people have joy. I have tried to encourage myself and think 'God help me, because I have carried this burden for a long time.' "
    They have been chased away from village after village by angry, fearful neighbors. And soon, she fears, they will have to move away from this place as well.
    Links to the Kenyan issues
    When the weather is good, she takes Thomas from his makeshift cell and ties him to an acacia tree outside. If she lets him go, he runs off. What she most wants is a place where he can get proper care.
    But she says there is little chance of that happening.



  • Armless pianist plays with toes to win "China's Got Talent", Sunday, October 10th 2010

  • "BEIJING (Reuters Life!) – An armless pianist who plays with his toes has won the first series of China's version of the internationally popular television talent show, "China's Got Talent."
    Liu Wei, 23, who lost both his arms aged 10 when he was electrocuted during a game of hide-and-seek, defeated 7-year-old standup comedian Zhang Fengxi at the final on Sunday at the Shanghai Stadium, the Shanghai Daily reported.
    The pianist, from Beijing, who taught himself to play the piano at age 18, impressed the audience with his performance of "You're Beautiful," singing and using his feet to play the piano.
    He also reported won over the judges by commenting: "At least I have a pair of perfect legs."
    Cai Xiuqing, 23, a college student from Shantou in Guangdong province, won third place for singing "Boundless Oceans Vast Skies," a hit for Hong Kong rock back Beyond.
    At the award ceremony, Liu was invited by Taiwan singer Jolin Tsai to be a guest performer on her world tour which gives him the chance to perform in Las Vegas for three months.
    The award ceremony also featured winners and finalists from the popular "Got Talent" series in Britain and the United States including British singer Paul Potts and dance group Diversity.
    British music mogul Simon Cowell, best known as the former acerbic judge on "American Idol," developed the TV format of "Got Talent" in Britain, the United States and Europe. He has become one of the most powerful entrepreneurs in reality TV.
    The British version of the show catapulted the dowdy, Scottish singer Susan Boyle to international stardom last year.
    The Chinese version of the TV talent show made its debut in May and has steadily risen in popularity, with the semifinal on Sept 26 ranking the top programme nationally by ratings.
    The show's director Jin Lei told the newspaper that the success of the show ensured it would continue next year.
    "China has so much untapped grassroots talent and we believe the show will maintain its nationwide vitality and popularity for three or five years," said Jin.
    (Writing by Belinda Goldsmith, Editing by Ben Blanchard"

    China's Got Talent Liu Wei plays piano with toes - HQ AUDIO!!!


    Jesus Heals a Man Born Blind (John 9)
    " 1As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?"
    3"Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life. 4As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. 5While I am in the world, I am the light of the world."
    6Having said this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man's eyes. 7"Go," he told him, "wash in the Pool of Siloam" (this word means Sent). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.
    8His neighbors and those who had formerly seen him begging asked, "Isn't this the same man who used to sit and beg?" 9Some claimed that he was. Others said, "No, he only looks like him." But he himself insisted, "I am the man."
    10"How then were your eyes opened?" they demanded.
    11He replied, "The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see."
    12"Where is this man?" they asked him. "I don't know," he said...


  • Life Without website

  • "... My name is Nick Vujicic and I'm 25 years old. I was born without arms or legs and given no medical reason for this condition. Faced with countless challenges and obstacles, God has given me the strength to surmount what others might call impossible. Along with that, the Lord has placed within me an unquenchable passion to share this same hope and genuine love that I’ve personally experienced with more than two million people all over the globe...
    5 Minutes Bible Study - True Trust

    "Our Daily Bread If you didnt know him, you might think Nick Vujicic has everything going for him. Nick has never had a sore arm. Hes never had knee problems. Hes never smashed his finger in a door, stubbed his toe, or banged his shin against a table leg.
    But thats because Nick doesnt have a shin. Or a toe. Or a finger. Or a knee. Or an arm. Nick was born with no arms and no legs. Before you begin to feel sorry for Nick, read his words. God wont let anything happen to us in our life unless He has a good purpose for it all. I completely gave my life to Christ at the age of 15 after reading John 9. Jesus said that the reason the man was born blind was so that the works of God may be revealed through him. . . . I now see that glory revealed as He is using me just the way I am and in ways others cant be used. Nick travels the world to spread the gospel and love of Jesus.
    Nick says, If I can trust in God with my circumstances, then you can trust in God with your circumstances. . . . The greatest joy of all is having Jesus Christ in my life and living the godly purpose He has for me.
    Can we say that? Can we look beyond our limitations and have the same trust in God that transformed a man with no arms or legs into a missionary for Jesus?
    — Dave Branon
    Lord, shape my life as only You can, Guiding each day by Your loving plan; Take what You need and give what You will; My life is Yours to use and to fill. —Branon
    Trusting God turns problems into opportunities. "

    Nick Vujicic is a giant of a man

    "No arms, No legs, NO WORRIES~ "
    Nick Vujicic From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    "Born December 4, 1982 (1982-12-04) (age 26)[1] Flag of Australia Melbourne, Australia Occupation Preacher, motivational speaker, director of Life Without Limbs
    Nick Vujicic (born December 4, 1982) is a preacher, a motivational speaker and the director of Life Without Limbs, an organization for the physically disabled. He regularly gives speeches across the world on the subject of disability and hope....
    Early life
    The first-born child in his devout Serbian Christian family, Nick Vujicic was born in Melbourne, Australia with the rare Tetra-amelia disorder: limbless, missing both arms at shoulder level, and having one small foot with two toes protruding from his left thigh. Initially, his parents were devastated. Vujicic was otherwise healthy.
    His life was filled with difficulties and hardships. One was not being able to attend a mainstream school because of his physical disability, as the law of Australia required, even though he was not mentally impaired. During his schooling, the laws were changed, and Nick was one of the first disabled students to be migrated to a mainstream school[2]. He learned to write using the two toes on his left "foot," and a special device that slid onto his big toe to grip. He also learned to use a computer and type using the "heel and toe" method (as demonstrated in his speeches). He can also throw tennis balls and answer the phone. He can also shave and get a glass of water (also demonstrated in speeches).
    Being bullied at his school, Nick grew extremely depressed, and by the age of eight, started contemplating suicide[3]. After begging God to grow arms and legs, Nick eventually began to realize that his accomplishments were inspirational to many, and began to thank God he was alive. A key turning point in his life was when his mother showed him a newspaper article about a man dealing with severe disability. This led him to realize he wasn't the only one with major struggles[4]. When he was seventeen, he started to give talks at his prayer group[5], and eventually started his non-profit organization, Life Without Limbs.[6]"...
    Nick Vujicic's Inspirational Talk-Life Without Limbs 1 of 4, from
    "No arms, No legs, NO WORRIES~"


  • Christo Vive, specializing on camp ministries for children
  • ELIM Christian Services, based in Illinois

  • Elim Christian Services: Moving Beyond..

    "The "Moving Beyond..." Capital Campaign at Elim equips this 60-year-old ministry to serve as a resource center of best practices, a launching pad that can equip, resource, and work alongside other disability ministries and organizations throughout our country and throughout our world"


    The Healing at the Pool-John 5

    " 1Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for a feast of the Jews. 2Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda[a] and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. 3Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed.[b] 5One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, "Do you want to get well?"

    7"Sir," the invalid replied, "I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me."

    8Then Jesus said to him, "Get up! Pick up your mat and walk." 9At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.
    The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, 10and so the Jews said to the man who had been healed, "It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat."

    11But he replied, "The man who made me well said to me, 'Pick up your mat and walk.' "

    12So they asked him, "Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up and walk?"

    13The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there.

    14Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, "See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you." 15The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well."


    e3 & Free Wheel Chair Mission in Ethiopia

    "A Presentation of a trip to Ethiopia to present wheelchairs and share the gospel of Christ. A partnership effort of e3 (Global Mission Fellowship) and Free Wheel Chair Mission."



  • Organizations in Global Networking: Disability Organizations
  • Resources

  • Christian Disability Resources, from Psalm 121 (CANADA)
  • Science


    Eugenics, Population Control and Global Totalitarianism (Part 2 of 5)


    Interview: Physically Challenged Athlete from Russia - Pt 1

    " Interview with Russian Bodybuilder Alexsey Obidennov! Inspirational! (Its in Russian - for now ."
    *see Russian
    "Lena Maria - No.1"

    "About Lena Maria Klingvall , from Stockholm, Sweden, was 20 years old when she became known to the Swedish TV-viewers through the documentary called "Goal in Sight". In April -89 the program was presented by HRH Silvia Bernadotte, Queen of Sweden, at a convention for handicapped in Washington, DC. It was also shown to George and Barbara Bush and an excerpt was shown on "Good Morning America". At the annual "Christoval", a Dutch film festival, the documentary was elected 1st prize winner by the festival jury as well as by the audience. In Sweden it was elected best TV-show of the week. Lena Maria was born 1968 without arms and with only one healthy leg, the other one half developed. She walks with an artificial leg. The cause of the disability is unknown. Lena Maria learned how to swim when she was only three years old. At age 18, she entered the National Swedish Games where she won three silver medals making her a star-athlete over night and earning her a place on the national team. Many competitions followed. Lena Maria set two national records in the 25-meter and 50-meter butterfly events. The highlight of her swimming career was the Paralympic Games-88 in Seoul, South Korea. 1987-1991 Lena Maria studied at The Royal University College of Music in Stockholm with one of Sweden's most talented artists Lena Ericsson as a singing teacher. Since her examination Lena Maria has been touring as a singer in Sweden as well as abroad. She repertoire is jazz, pop, gospel as well as cl%#ic. She has made concert tours to USA, Canada, Russia, Latvia, Belarus, Norway, Finland, Germany, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Hong Kong, Thailand, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia. But in Japan is where she is most popular. Through the 35 concert tours with over 200 concerts, TV, radio and media Lena Maria has attract attention and about 80% of the Japanese people has in some way heard of her, especially through the performance at the opening ceremony at the Paralympic Games in Nagano -98. Lena Maria has released CDs all over the world. The CDs has a miscellaneous repertoire and some of the songs Lena Maria has composed herself. During the years 1999 to 2003 Universal Music in Japan released five CDs called "Heartfilled", "In Your Delight" and a mini Christmas CD "Season Of Joy", "Every Little Note" and "Amazing Grace"."


    by Susan Detlefsen

    During his ministry on earth, Jesus Christ spent a majority of His time and energy ministering to the disabled, teaching them and healing their diseases. Two-thirds of the miracles of Jesus reported in the Gospels involved healing people stricken with physical and spiritual disabilities.

    But while Christ's ministry was marked by attention to the disabled, in today's world about two-thirds of the disabled people in America don't attend church on a weekly basis. Is the modern-day church neglecting this segment of the population with which Jesus spent so much time and attention?

    Local and national ministries are trying to pick up the slack in this area, and are encouraging churches in America to do the same.

    A longtime advocate

    Perhaps the best-known advocate for the disabled within the Christian community is Joni Eareckson Tada, founder and president of the Joni and Friends ministry. A 1967 diving accident left Tada a wheelchair-bound quadriplegic. Tada credits her family, faith and church for saving her from clinical depression, a condition that affects many people whose lives are changed by a devastating injury. Even though she is disabled, Tada is an accomplished artist and singer, and is a widely traveled spokesperson for the disabled. She has her own radio ministry and is the author of 26 books. Tada's autobiography, titled Joni, was made into a full-length feature film of the same title. Her ministry, based in Agoura Hills, Calif. also has satellite offices in eight other cities across the U.S.

    Despite these accomplishments after her accident, Tada says the support she received from her church during her recovery is not typical of the average disabled person. Tada and her ministry, Joni and Friends, say that Christians need to do more to reach the disabled. National statistics support that claim. The National Organization on Disability (NOD) reports that only 37 percent of America's disabled population visit a place of worship once a week. About half, 54 percent, attend a church, synagogue, or another place of worship at least once a month.

    Thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act and expanding public education, the disabled in America have newfound accessibility in several areas of public and social life, leading to unparalleled freedom compared to years past. Yet, NOD polls show that the number of disabled people who are satisfied with their quality of life has steadily declined in the past several years. As society becomes more accepting, the disabled suffer from a deep-seated dissatisfaction.

    This paradox suggests that material solutions have only done so much to enrich the lives of the disabled. Spiritual solutions are required to help fulfill the desires of people who deal with physical limitations. That's where ministries like Joni and Friends want to intervene. According to their web site, the purpose of Joni and Friends is to educate the Christian community how to serve the disabled, to advocate a biblical response toward disabilities and to establish independence and fulfillment in the lives of the disabled.

    Christians in the Twin Cities have a chance to actively support the Joni and Friends ministry to the disabled in Minnesota. A satellite office is already open at Crystal Evangelical Free Church and the ministry will officially open locally on Sept. 22.


    That's good news to Mark Davis, director of Broken Wings ministry to the disabled ("Wings" for short). Davis says Joni and Friends has done an excellent job informing the Christian community about the special needs, both physical and spiritual, of the disabled.

    Davis has worked for the Wings ministry for over seven years, and he says in that time the disabled have made huge strides. Churches everywhere have made accommodations for the disabled, such as elevators and ramps.

    "We still get calls from churches who are looking to install an elevator and want guidance. Because the awareness has been growing over the last decade, there's a lot of improvement," explains Davis. "A lot of times an older church has a front entrance with steps, but also has a back entrance or a kitchen entrance where there wouldn't be steps. That's not real great, but at least someone in a wheelchair could get into the building.

    "What we feel at Wings is that someone with a disability should have all the same options as someone who is able bodied. That means they should be able to go into the front door just like an able bodied person could," says Davis. "It's not always perfect but we're on the right road."

    But physical obstructions aren't the only limitations churches impose on the disabled. Davis says attitudes are the biggest barrier to disabled persons in the church today.

    "To be honest, people are just scared," Davis says. "Maybe they don't have exposure to a person in a wheelchair. I've been asked by very sincere people how to speak to someone in a wheelchair. They ask, 'How do I do that?' I ask them, 'Well, how would you talk to anyone? Do the same for a person with a disability.' There's an incorrect assumption that if a person has a physical disability then they have a mental disability too. That's rarely the case. Or people shout at a person in a wheelchair whose hearing is fine. It's not that someone has gotten up in the morning and said, 'Hmmm. I think I'll be prejudiced against the disabled today.' It's not that at all. It's because they haven't had any exposure or experience."

    Solving this problem is the main focus on Wings, says Davis. "Education and prayer--that's changing in the Christian church." Wings provides prayer, Bible study materials, church referrals, advice and other services to people with disabilities. The ministry is often sought out by people who have recently become disabled, or their relatives.

    The ministry was begun in 1981 by a group of four disabled men. The men knew too many other disabled people who were trying to fill the spiritual void in their lives with alcohol, drugs or hours of TV. Wings, a ministry of the Greater Minnesota Association of Evangelicals, was started as a spiritual outreach to the disabled and the non-disabled in their lives. Davis says the ministry serves as a resource center to people with social security questions, medical and housing issues and a grocery list of other issues.

    While Wings and ministries like it provide these resources, they aren't a substitute for a healthy church community that disabled persons need. To help supply this need, Wings offers advice to churches and staff on how they can minister to the disabled that step, or wheel, through church doors on Sunday mornings.

    How churches can help

    The first step a church can take in ministering to the disabled is simply finding them and inviting them into the Christian community.

    "I've talked with pastors who have no disabled in their congregation. They say there are not disabled in the neighborhood. I tell them they are there, you just aren't aware of them," says Davis. "If you look at the greater metro area of the Twin Cities, you're talking about 400,000 to 500,000 individuals with disabilities. So you know they are there. It's a matter of actively seeking them. Those churches that do, I believe, are especially blessed."

    Churches also need to be educated about the special spiritual needs of the disabled. Davis says the biggest need of the disabled is the answer to "Why?"

    "The question is, 'Why me Lord? I'm a Christian, I wanted to live my life for you yet here I am?confined to a wheelchair.' There's a process of working through grief after an accident. Your whole life is turned upside down with a catastrophic event like that," says Davis. Wings workers often counsel people who are angry with God because of their physical limitations. When he speaks in churches, Davis communicates to the disabled that God knows their pain. "[God] understands the pain you're going through because of Jesus Christ who has experienced every pain.

    Many of the people counseled by Wings have a lot of anger toward God and people from the Christian community. "A lot of people we talk to who have a disability want nothing to do with us. That's understandable. You pray for individuals like that."

    Davis says churches need to learn that disabled people want to be understood and want to know that they can contribute. The disabled have "the desire to be understood by other individuals that are not disabled, that we're all God's children." In turn, the non-disabled churchgoers need to know that a disabled person "has a lot to share, just as I do and everyone does," states Davis. "In the body of Christ, we need to rejoice that someone is a thumb and someone else is a finger."

    Davis continues, "Unfortunately we're so performance based as a society that if someone can't speak, is blind or in a wheelchair, suddenly their worth is diminished. We all know that's hogwash as far as the Lord is concerned. The world might say if you have a disability you don't have as much value. That's totally contrary to what God says. Certainly anyone who has a disability doesn't catch God off guard. God knew it from before the creation of the universe. He wants to work through each one of us.

    "There are friends of Wings who might be in a wheelchair, maybe even non-verbal where they use a computer board. But God still has a very special plan for their lives. It's hard when society is screaming a certain message contrary to the Bible. It's hard to keep that straight. But that's why we all need a close walk with the Lord and keep in contact with Him."

    The best technique Wings uses to reach people, says Davis, is love. "I think love is the first, the middle and the last as far as a biblical response goes. We share the love that God has for every individual, no matter what they've done in the past, or what they're doing now."

    ForEver Friends

    Sharing the love of God with adults who have developmental disabilities is the goal of ForEver Friends (FEF), a program by JRG Ministries Inc. ForEver Friends is a social night held at the Knights of Columbus hall in Crystal for disabled adults; participants meet together on Thursday evenings for a meal, then gather together for a time of music and fellowship. FEF participants even get a chance to share their singing talents on the occasional karaoke night. Since the program began in March 1999, an average of 120-150 people attend FEF weekly sessions.

    "We have all ages and all different levels of capability, people with cerebral palsy and Down syndrome. Some are Christians, many are not," said Dee Deppa, one of FEF's coordinators.

    FEF was started by four couples who shared a vision based on Luke 14, "to invite the lame, the crippled, the blind," to a fun evening of activities where the Gospel is shared with everyone. One of the couples, Zack and Susan Gill, founded JRG Ministries in honor and memory of their disabled son Jeremiah Richard Gill. Experience taught the organizers of FEF that many disabled adults living in group homes do not have an opportunity to worship in a church or attend church activities. FEF gives these people that opportunity

    Studies show that social activity is lacking in the lives of the disabled. Only 33 percent of the disabled say they go out to a restaurant once of week?half that of the non-disabled population. Four out of 10 disabled people do not socialize with friends, relatives or neighbors at least once a week.

    The response from the disabled community to FEF has been tremendous, say organizers. "It surprised all of us," said Deppa. "We were hoping for maybe 15-25 people to show up. We have discovered a huge need and a real hunger for Christian fellowship and counsel among the disabled."

    People from all over the Twin Cities metro area, and even as far away as Forest Lake, Wyoming and Elk River, Minn., have attended the social events. Though many of the FEF participants live in group homes and travel with their staff, others rely on public transportation.

    "When you discover that someone has taken Metro Mobility for $2 a ride, and then paid for their meal out of a paycheck that only amounts to a few dollars a week?it's very humbling. Some of them are spending their entire week's pay for the evening with us. We want to do all that we can to make the time the best two hours of the week for them. We make sure we are giving them a fun time and substance for their effort," said Wampach.

    While the social activity is the draw, Wampach said FEF is a chance for disabled adults to develop relationships with each other and people who care about them. "Many of our friends have no family and no one in their lives who says, 'You're important. You matter to me. You matter to God.' Our goal is to become that friend and then have the opportunity to share the love of Christ with them," said Wampach.

    Action Item

    FEF will kick off a new summer session on June 8 at 6 p.m. Events planned for the summer include a bluegrass gospel concert, signing choir and praise concert. The meal costs $4; persons who cannot afford the meal are invited to bring their own. Further inquiries regarding ForEver Friends and JRG Ministries Inc. may be directed to JRG Ministries, PMB 210, 13570 Grove Drive. Maple Grove, MN 55311 or call (612) 420-4774.

    Wings is holding their twelfth annual Walk n' Roll fundraiser on June 3, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Lake Harriet bandshell. Volunteers are still needed for the event. For more information call (612) 866-0462.

    For more information on the Joni and Friends?Twin Cities office, call (763) 971-5128.


    A co-worker and I were talking about brining two loves (animals and working at the group home) together. He shared his vision of bringing our "consumers" (residents) or are physically challenged people-young and old, to get therapy from being with his animals (hobby farm). Currently, this is a vision, but he would love to see this in his lifetime to bless these people in our surrounding area.

    Please...if you read this, if you somehow have some idea or way (financially, connections, resources, etc..) to help this vision come about, please contact us. Thanks!


  • "Animals provide joyful therapy for kids with disabilities", a United Way connection
  • Foundations:

  • Sunshine Foundation, animal theraphy service Northwest Ohio
  • Ranches

  • Horses-MN, animal thearpy ranches

  • Miracle Horse Riders, Inc 12373 485th Ave.; Parkers Prairie, MN 56361; 218.267.5216; Contact: Candy Esterberg; Part of Minnesota Horse Council


  • ANIMALS for COMFORT, THERAPY and COURT ESCORTS, awesome real life stories
  • I had the opportunity to share on My Experience with Physically Challenge people at Faith Lutheran Church, which I used this handout.

    Thank you for visiting ! Please feel free to e-mail me (Sal) at on any comments, suggestions (e.g. any new websites),complaints, or anytype of feedback to improve this website.

    Subscribe to goodnewseverybodycom

    Powered by

    Return Back to GoodNews Everybody Social Challenges: Homepage

    This Homepage is Dedicated to:

    All the Caregivers, who take care of the physically challenged people in these group homes.

    Caregiver Appreciation Month
    "Each year, more than 65 million people, 29% of the U.S. population, provide care for a chronically ill, disabled or aged family member or friend, spending an average of 20 hours per week providing care. (National Family Caregivers Association)

    Family caregivers are the foundation of long-term care nationwide. November is recognized as National Caregiver Appreciation Month, a month-long tribute to recognize those individuals providing caregiving support to a family member or loved one. Find out how you can get involved and show support for a caregiver you know. A little support will go a long way.

    "The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart. "

    - Helen Keller"

    Welcome Caregivers-from everydaywarriors