Celebrating Dr. Thomas Lieb’s Service at UCP Heartland

For more than twenty years, Dr. Thomas Lieb has supported the health and well-being of UCP Heartland participants and staff as the Medical Director at our Canterbury Center in St. Louis. This month we say goodbye to Dr. Lieb as he transitions to another role. We celebrate his time with us and are thankful for the care and expertise he has provided over the years.

Dr. Lieb began serving as our Medical Director in the 1990s after learning about the role through a colleague. As Medical Director, Dr. Lieb worked one or two days each month onsite at Canterbury Center. He said that for many years, the state required annual evaluations of participants to ensure they were free of communicable diseases. Dr. Lieb led these assessments and provided cursory evaluations for employees.

He was also instrumental in referring a subset of participants for an innovative technology called a baclofen pump, which helped treat muscle spasticity for people living with Cerebral Palsy. Dr. Lieb said helping clients with the baclofen pump was one of the most exciting aspects of his time at UCP Heartland. “We saw dramatic improvements in swallowing and speech,” said Dr. Lieb.

Over his years at UCP Heartland, Dr. Lieb made a lasting positive impact on program participants and coworkers. Joan Desloge, an RN at Canterbury Center, worked alongside Dr. Lieb for 23 years and described him as smart, kind and easy going. “He was always a great source of medical information, and I could always count on him to answer any questions that I might need help with,” said Joan. “He was dedicated to our consumers and their needs. He is my friend and I will miss him.”

We will miss Dr. Lieb at UCP Heartland and wish him the best. Dr. Lieb said he will continue serving in the healthcare field, conducting evaluations for veterans and working in hospital rehab units across the United States.

Young Professionals Board Launches

The Kendra Scott store at Plaza Frontenac buzzed with activity on March 21 as people browsed the jewelry displays, sipped champagne and snacked on pastel macaroons. UCP Heartland partnered with Kendra Scott to hold a 3 hour launch party for our first-ever Young Professionals Board (YPB). The event also served as a fundraiser, with Kendra Scott donating 20% of the evening’s proceeds to UCP Heartland. We had a great turnout of staff, drop-in shoppers and young professionals interested in learning more about the board.

The YPB will be the first of its kind for UCP Heartland, and we’re looking for motivated young leaders from across the community to form our founding board:

  • Ages 20-40
  • Passionate about advancing the productivity, independence and full citizenship of children and adults living with disabilities
  • Come from a wide range of professions and experiences
  • Interested in donating time, resources and expertise to the mission.

To learn more and get involved, contact Lauren Smith, our Major Gifts Officer: smithl@ucpheartland.org |  636-779-2282

Advocacy in Action at the MO State Capitol: 17th Annual Disability Rights Legislative Day

The hallways and rooms in the Missouri State Capitol were buzzing with activity and people on March 14, 2018. Organizations and individuals from across the state gathered at the Capitol to advocate for the rights of people living with disabilities as part of the 17th Annual Disability Rights Legislative Day.

UCP Heartland participants and staff from St. Louis, Jefferson City and Columbia joined the advocacy day, adding their voices and presence to the mix. The presence of so many people in the Capitol demonstrated the support behind key legislative issues and helped raise awareness of how certain laws can inhibit the rights of people living with disabilities. Advocates visited representatives’ offices and held a packed rally on the ground floor.

Key issues discussed included:
• HB 1553: Revisions to the Missouri Gaurdianship Law,
Chapter 475, RSMO, which was enacted in 1983
• HB 2130: “Missouri Employment First Act”to support
competitive integrated employment programs and opportunities
• HB 2171: Making ABLE Accounts (tax-advantaged savings accounts for people with disabilities and their families) more accessible for individuals in the blind pension program
• HB 1527 and SB 699: Removing barriers to employment for people living with disabilities and adequately funding Consumer Directed Services, which can help people living with disabilities remain in their own homes and have more control over their care

Click here to learn more about these legislative issues.

Find out the name of your representative: https://www.house.mo.gov/

You can view more photos of the day on our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/unitedcerebralpalsyheartland.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Talent Connect Wins Annual Inclusion Award from MO Governor’s Council on Disability

Congratulations to UCP Heartland’s Talent Connect program on winning the 2017 Missouri Governor’s Council on Disability’s Inclusion Award! The annual award recognizes employers, organizations and individuals who demonstrate excellence in leadership for inclusive practices. Talent Connect will receive the award at the Power Up Assistive Technology Conference in April 2018.

UCP Heartland’s Talent Connect is an innovative training-to-employment program designed to help people living with disabilities start careers in the hotel and hospitality industry. Talent Connect partners with local employers like the Marriott, Pedestal Foods, and Drury Hotels to provide on-site training for program participants. Program staff provide ongoing support for trainees as they build skills that will prepare them for successful long-term employment.

Talent Connect helps companies build dedicated and trained workforces that include people living with disabilities. The program’s methods have proven successful as staff work alongside employers and trainees to connect talented people with the right positions. We look forward to Talent Connect’s continued growth, leading to more positive outcomes and job opportunities for people living with disabilities.

Photo: Sharon (center) recently graduated from the Talent Connect training program and now has a job at the Marriott St. Louis Grand. Casey (L), an On-Site Trainer for Talent Connect and LaShawna (R), Assistant Operations Manager at the Marriott, celebrate with Sharon.

UCP Heartland Gibbs Center Welcomes Lisa Palmer as New Director

If you haven’t met Lisa, you might know Lisa by her other name “Max’s mom.” If you haven’t met Max, look around. He’s iconic at UCP Heartland. The Adult Day program participants at the Gibbs Center in Jefferson City all introduce him this way, “This is Max. He’s my dog!”

Lisa Palmer not only brought Max the Support Dog to the Gibbs Center 2 ½ years ago, she also brought 15 years of experience working with people living with a range of challenges, from behavioral health to developmental disabilities.

As the new Director of the Gibbs Center, Lisa is moving into the position at a pivotal time: the building is undergoing a total renovation. Gibbs Center is also expanding the employment program in Jefferson City, adding two residential apartments and looking at expansion to another city.

Lisa takes this in stride. What she loves best about Gibbs Center? “The feeling of self-worth we give our program participants. The feeling of acceptance. No judgement here.” Lisa said she’s “excited about the future and the opportunity to work with everybody at UCP Heartland.”

Judy Grainger, VP of Programs for Gibbs Center, said about Lisa’s promotion, “Lisa embodies our mission… we’re lucky to have her. She’s the right cog in our wheel.”

Talent Connect Graduation

Talent Connect graduate Brendon (L) gives a thumbs-up to the audience as he receives his certificate from UCP Heartland On-Site Trainer Jeff Faust (R)

On Friday, December 8, 2017 a unique graduation ceremony took place at Lindenwood University. Families and supporters gathered in a small dining room on campus to celebrate the hard work of five UCP Heartland program participants who completed a 12-week employment training course offered through the UCP Heartland Talent Connect program.

Talent Connect is an innovative training-to-employment program designed to help people living with disabilities start and maintain careers in the hotel and hospitality industry. The program helps participants navigate barriers to employment and works with employers in the industry to connect them with dedicated, talented program participants who are industry-trained and ready for long-term, meaningful employment.

The recent graduates participated in 12 weeks of job training through Talent Connect and now hold hospitality-related positions at Lindenwod University. After graduating from training, Talent Connect participants receive ongoing support from UCP Heartland staff as they continue developing their skills on the job.

 

Talent Connect is a collaborative partnership program between UCP Heartland and The Center for Head Injury Services. UCP Heartland’s branch specializes in the hotel and hospital industry while The Center for Head Injury Services focuses on manufacturing and distribution industries.

First Community Game Night

UCP Heartland Program Director Luke (L) plays cornhole/bags with Stephanie (R) at Community Game Night

The first ever UCP Heartland “Community Game Night” debuted at Canterbury Center on Wednesday, December 13, bringing positive reviews. Program Director Luke Leidenfrost said, “I think people had fun, and we’re planning on hosting one every other month.” In all, more than 25 people attended “Community Game Night.” They played a variety of board games, card games, X-box 360, bags and app-based games on a Promethean Board which was described as a “HUGE hit!” by VP of Programs Craig Strohbeck.

Craig said the event brought together people who normally don’t interact with another. “It was incredible seeing people from different services engaging with each other, with staff and with community members.  This bonding experience is what builds bridges to bigger and better experiences for everyone involved.”

Immediately after the event, Craig said, “Everyone was asking how soon we could do it again so we’re already planning our next ‘Community Game Night’ in February, coordinating with other local providers and giving more advanced notice to the community.”

Craig described the event as “a party atmosphere with snacks, smiles, social victories and community.” We hope to see even more UCPH employees and supporters at February’s event!

KMOV Channel 4 Features UCP Employment Resources Program at the Hyatt

Click to go to the KMOV video

A group of UCP Heartland and Hyatt Regency staff met at the downtown Hyatt with KMOV Channel 4 to show off an outstanding Employment Resource Program, and introduced Keith Washington, UCP Heartland program participant and Hyatt Regency Steward. Keith has been working with UCPH’s Employment Resources for two years, and has been named “Employee of the Month,” twice in that time at Hyatt Regency St. Louis at the Arch.

“We had a great opportunity today to see a program in action that makes St. Louis a better place,” Claire Kellett, KMOV Anchorperson said. “Keith Washington works at Hyatt Regency and lives with a disability. Thanks to UCP Heartland Employment Resources, Keith holds down a job and lives on his own. The program helps about 200 other people per year learn skills and work in the hotel and food industries and at retail businesses. It allows them independence that they never had before.”

Casey Breslin, Employment Coach with UCP’s Employment Resources and program participant Keith Washington spoke together on camera. “Since Keith started working here, “Casey said, “he was able to move out of his brother’s apartment and now has his own apartment. He gets himself to work…even walks when it’s nice enough, right Keith?” Keith smiled and agreed “You’ve really grown a lot as a person!”  Smiling broadly, Keith nodded his head, saying, “Yes…I’ve really grown.”

Describing the positive outcomes of this program, Joe Finnerty, UCP Heartland Project Manager said, “Keith never had a job before in his life. Now he has a job for the rest of his life,”

“It’s no accident that we have found an excellent partner,” in UCP Heartland Employment Resources, Tim Combs, Hyatt Regency Director of H.R. said. “We cannot be more pleased with their support staff and recruiting expertise geared toward the hospitality industry.”

“Lots of smiles all round,” KMOV’s Claire Kellett said, “especially from Keith.” Kellett summarized, “UCP Heartland’s programs help people with a spectrum of disabilities, physical, developmental and behavioral.”

About UCPH’s Employment program, Judy Grainger, VP of Programs for UCP Heartland said, “Work is so important for our program participants. In addition to a paycheck, it brings a culture of acceptance and belonging.” For the business, Grainger said, “The employer gets a really great employee that’s excited about coming to work, and like Keith, everybody loves.”