Mark’s Blog – Posting 3

REPOST – Original Post on Apr 17, 2014

(Mark Shaffer, the Executive Director of UCP of SLO County will be doing an intermittent blog to talk about some of the history of UCP, his history with UCP and various other aspects of his last 25 years working with people with disabilities in SLO County. Come back here to find more blogs by various UCP employees, C.I.P. Tour summaries, Leisure Club happenings and more.)

The Importance of Voting and Sending a Message Your Politicians

United Cerebral Palsy hired the marketing company, Maslansky & Partners to perform a survey to determine the voting patterns and political views of the 56.7 million Americans with disabilities. They surveyed covered 1008 individuals with disabilities and careproviders. The results of the survey indicate that a high percentage of people with disabilities are registered to vote (69%). Their voter participation is extremely high at 72%, compared to 57.5% for the general public. 61% indicated that they would be voting in the upcoming midterm elections.

The survey also indicated that 84% would vote for the candidates that support services for people with disabilities. 87% reported they would not vote for a candidate who supported cuts in funding for services supporting people with disabilities. These individuals have made this support issue their primary issue that guides their voting behavior. The results also show that the party affiliation for people with disabilities is very close to the percentages for the general public. People with disabilities do not favor one political party when they vote, but follow the national trend.

The results from the survey send a clear message to politicians. Like senior voters, voter with disabilities are very active voters who focus on the candidates position on supporting people with disabilities. If the candidate is in a close election, they are going to want to receive the votes from people with disabilities. We now need to get this message to the politicians.

Mark’s Blog – Posting 2

REPOST – Original Post on Feb 14, 2013

(Mark Shaffer, the Executive Director of UCP of SLO County will be doing an intermittent blog to talk about some of the history of UCP, his history with UCP and various other aspects of his last 25 years working with people with disabilities in SLO County. Come back here to find more blogs by various UCP employees, C.I.P. Tour summaries, Leisure Club happenings and more.)

The Roots of United Cerebral Palsy

The name of our organization, United Cerebral Palsy (UCP), is somewhat deceptive because we serve children and adults with all types of developmental disabilities. About 12% of the people we serve are diagnosed with cerebral palsy. We are part of a national organization began in New York City in 1940 as the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Strokes. Leonard and Isabelle Goldenson were parents of a child with cerebral palsy and they were placed on the Board of Directors. In 1945, they placed an ad in the New York Times seeking other parents with children with cerebral palsy. They received 350 responses and National Foundation for Cerebral Palsy was formed.

In 1948, 12,000 people attended the first Cerebral Palsy Conference. In 1949, the organization’s name was changed to United Cerebral Palsy and affiliates were formed across the United States. In 1955, Isabelle Goldenson convinces researchers to form a research team to look at prevention of cerebral palsy. In 1969, research funded by United Cerebral palsy isolates the virus for German Measles, which leads to a vaccine. In 1982, Tom Ritter hosted the first telethon for UCP.

United Cerebral Palsy has continued to advocate for full inclusion for people with disabilities. We currently have 98 affiliates in the United States, including 13 affiliates in California. UCP is now working to promote full participation for people with disabilities around the world. We are establishing partner organizations in Australia, Canada, Europe and Singapore. We look forward to establishing a “World without Limits”.

Mark’s Blog – Posting 1

REPOST – Original Post on Aug 19, 2013

(Mark Shaffer, the Executive Director of UCP of SLO County will be doing an intermittent blog to talk about some of the history of UCP, his history with UCP and various other aspects of his last 25 years working with people with disabilities in SLO County. Come back here to find more blogs by various UCP employees, C.I.P. Tour summaries, Leisure Club happenings and more.)
I have been the Executive Director of United Cerebral Palsy of San Luis Obispo County for 25 years and a Special Education Adult Education Teacher for 7 years before establishing UCP in our county. People often ask me how I got involved in the field of supporting children and adults with developmental disabilities. They expect that I have a family member who has a disability. Let me share why I am so passionate about helping people with disabilities to participate in their community.

I grew up in Riverside, Connecticut and an adult with developmental disabilities lived in the house behind us. As a child, I did not understand why this adult was living with his parents and getting on a yellow school bus each day. This was forty years ago. It was a time when parents whose baby was diagnosed as “retarded” were told by their doctors to put the child in an institution and try to have another baby. State institutions were filled with children with disabilities who were isolated from the world.

About thirty years ago, parents and professionals realized that all people benefit from being part of their community. We began to see that our fear for the safety of adults with disabilities was a major barrier to their growth. We also realized that all children need to grow up in their families. This shift in our thinking led to moving people out of institutions and keeping babies in their families.

When I started as an Adult Education Teach for adults with developmental disabilities, my students rarely went out into their community, except to the doctor’s office or their day program. Over the past thirty years, I have watched these same people move into their own apartment and get jobs. Now that we have let go of protecting them, they are leading independent lives with minimal support. They are less dependent of governmental funding and very happy to be fully participating in their communities. They have begun to take control of changing their own lives.

I have been very fortunate to be a part of this movement to free people with developmental disabilities from their concerned families and professionals. We now let them do what we all do…learn by making mistakes. Our communities are learning that people with disabilities are people who just want to be a part of their community. Like all movements, we still have a long way to go. We need to hire more people with disabilities. We need to include more children with disabilities in regular classes. I believe we need to stop every once in a while and celebrate our progress…and then get back to work.

– Mark Shaffer

Executive Director – UCP of San Luis Obispo County

ALOHA HAWAII!!

REPOST – Original Post on Nov 12, 2012

UCP CIP Tour to Hawaii

Aloha Everyone! It’s me Mandy. Back from Hawaii and a bit more tan and a little more relaxed then when I left. We had a wonderful week in Waikiki Beach.

Our trip started on October 28th. The Clients and I and four other staff, along with our amazing drive Joe, drove down to Los Angeles and stayed by the Airport. Everyone was so excited to be leaving in the morning. I am not too sure if it was the loud sound of the planes as they flew over or if it was because of the excitement that just kept building each time we heard one fly by that made it so hard to sleep that night.

Early the next morning, we caught a shuttle ride to the airport. We cleared through baggage check and security. We had a great lunch and then boarded our plane. As we sat down in our seats and waited for the plane to begin to taxi out, we all talked about the things we were hoping to get to do in Hawaii. We talked about places we hoped to visit and about swimming in the ocean. One of my group members were really hoping to go by Dog the Bounty Hunter’s store. So, the plane finally took off and we were on our way to Hawaii… It seemed to take forever to get there, five and a half hours and two movies, later; we FINALLY touched down in beautiful Honolulu, Hawaii.

We had a ride to the hotel thanks to VIP. Our group was stoked to finally be at our hotel and to begin our stay at the Waikiki Parc Hotel in wonderful Waikiki. The beach was literally less than a five minute walk from the front door of our hotel. The first day we were there we went down to the water. It was so warm. We then walked around for a little while and took a quick look into the shops and made some fun and flexible plans for the week.

Our first full day in Hawaii, we spent at the beach. We went swimming and we bought little rafts and relaxed for most of the day. That night we went out to dinner and talked about our day. It was such a beautiful day. Some of the clients went down for a walk at the beach that evening to enjoy the warm water and to watch the sun set. It was so amazing.

The next day we took our Aloha bus tour. This was on Halloween. It took us up through Waikiki and down past the beaches and the canal. We rode the bus all the way out to Pearl Harbor and back. It was a fun ride and we got to see some of the coast of Hawaii. We talked about and made plans to visit Pearl Harbor the next day. When we came back through we stopped at the WARD center. This is a shopping outlet mall and we had planned to stop here and have lunch and watch a movie with the clients. They really enjoyed lunch at The Spaghetti Factory. While we were there we even had the chance to see the lovely ladies of “The Red Hat Society” having lunch and all dressed up in costumes. It was really cool. After our lunch we walked over to the theater and enjoyed watching “Hotel Transylvania”. It was so funny and the guys really liked it. After it was over we did some more shopping and waited for our bus to take us back. We were all so tired by the time we arrived back at the hotel, that we decided that a quick easy dinner was best. ABC market here we come. It was delicious and a great end to a fantastic day.

The next day, we took the Aloha Bus tour again, only this time we had arranged to take every one out to the USS Arizona and the USS Missouri. We rode the bus all the way out to Pearl Harbor. It was really amazing. We walked around and looked at the torpedoes and the guns and the submarines. We were all amazed at how cool everything was. Then we heard the sirens. We were there on November 1st. One of our staff, Becky, who grew up on the island told us that the sirens we were hearing were routine for every first of the month. She said she could remember hearing them when she was younger and always looking to see what day it was to make sure she didn’t need to worry.

It was almost time for our tour of the USS Arizona to begin so we walked over to wait by the theater. Before going to the Arizona, there is a brief film you get to watch. This film tells you about Pearl Harbor. It explains what happened and who was there. It is truly sad when you hear about all the lives lost and all the people who were affected by it. This film explains why the Arizona has a memorial and why when you go there, it is so quiet. The Arizona Memorial is a grave site. It is a ship that was sunk during the attack on Pearl Harbor where more than 1100 servicemen lost their lives aboard the USS Arizona. They are buried there at sea. There is a wall in the memorial that has the names of the men lost that day listed for everyone to see. To this day they are still adding the names of the surviving crewmen as they pass away. It was really amazing for all of us to get the chance to get to go out there. The clients really thought it was a wonderful experience and they enjoyed getting to see the ship still there just under the water and hearing the story of why it is still there and why all those names are on that wall. As we were standing there on the USS Arizona memorial I pointed to the USS Missouri and told them that was where we were going next. It was easy to get them to line up and move along then.

We took a quick bus ride out to the USS Missouri. This battleship was so big. It was fantastic to see in person. I can’t even begin to tell you how awestruck I felt just standing under the cannons. We took a tour of the ship and walked all over it. Our group got to see where the documents were signed that ended WWII. We toured the topside and the inside and all the places in between. Even though we were there for quite some time we still were not able to see the whole ship. It would have taken at least two days to really see everything we had access to. As the day got later we were all feeling tired and ready to head back. We left the ship and caught our bus back to the hotel. We had a wonderful dinner and talked about our day and everything we had seen. We talked about our favorite parts of the day and what we wanted to do the next day.

The next day was the day we all took a long ride on The Bus. It was fun. We rode the bus all the way up the coast to Makaha Beach Park. When we got there we realized that there really was nowhere for us to have lunch as we had planned. So as we were changing to swim suites and getting cooled off from the showers a guy pulls up in his Cadillac. Attached to the back of his caddy, a HOT DOG STAND! It was amazing. He had brought with him the most amazing food. It was all home-cooked and delicious. We had some good choices of Hawaiian foods. He had chili and rice and polish sausages, red dogs with chili, and hamburgers. We were grateful for the delicious meal and were all set for the beach. We thanked him for the wonderful food and made our way down to the water. While we were there at the beach played in the water and collected some shells and some coral. We stayed for an hour or so and then had to head back on the bus. Almost everyone was so tired that they fell asleep on the bus ride back to the hotel. Our group decided to go to a burger place close by for dinner. As we sat an enjoyed our dinner and talked about our day, we could hear the fireworks going off down the street. As much as we would have liked to have seen the show I think we were all just grateful for the company and the time to rest up from our long day at the beach.

Saturday was a rest day. Most of us took this day to go to the pool and relax and do some swimming and sit in the sun. It was a nice calm day and everyone enjoyed the time to relax before we started to get ready for the trip home.

Sunday was our final day in Hawaii. This was a happy and a sad day for most of us. We took this day to get our shopping done and to pack up and get ready to go home. My client who had wanted to go by Dog’s store had waited all week. It was hard to get the time away. So finally on Sunday we were able to sneak away for an hour or so to take a ride up to the Bail Bonds place and see his store. We left Hilo Hattie’s, where everyone was going shopper crazy… and took a taxi up to Da Kine Bail Bonds. As we pulled up, we could see that the place was closed. We walked around the corner to the shop… There in the window was a sign. Open 10am to 4pm Monday thru Friday. The store was CLOSED! Christina was sad. But she understood. So she posed and took a picture in front of the store next to the big poster and accepted that it just wasn’t meant to happen. She really had hoped to go by the store and had hoped to get to see Dog while we were on the island. I had told her that it was a slim chance that he would even be there. She was okay and not even upset about it. She, her husband and I walked the mile or so back to Hilo Hattie’s and took the bus back to our hotel. I told her I was sorry and she let me know that it was okay that she appreciated me taking her to at least see the store.

That night we had plans to go out to watch the Hula Dancers at the Hula Mound. We walked up the street and sat down just as the sun was setting. It really was a beautiful end to a fantastic trip. As we sat there, I asked everyone what their favorite part of the Hawaii Trip was. Each one liked something different. Swimming, eating the food, the ocean, the music, the pretty ladies, the kind people of the island, and getting to see dog’s store. Some liked the shopping and all the places we got to go visit. We watched the sun set and watched the dancers tell stories of the island that had been passed down through their families. It truly was an amazing experience. After the show we walked up the street for dinner. It was wonderful. Everyone ate their full and then some. We all walked back talking about the trip laughing and having a great time. All of us were ready to go home. We packed and went to bed.

In the morning we were up early. There were last minute luggage checks and room checks and then a bus to the Airport. Remember when I told you that Christina wanted NOTHING more really then to visit Dog the Bounty hunter’s Store? Remember how he was not there and the store was closed? How about how AMAZING and understanding she was that we didn’t get to meet him? Guess who was on our plane? DOG! Yup that’s right! Dog the Bounty Hunter was aboard our flight back to California! Before boarding the plane he was kind enough to meet and take a picture with Christina. She was so excited and all smiles the rest of the trip. It was a wonderful way to end our visit to Hawaii. So glad she FINALLY got what she wanted all week. What a great surprise!!

The next few days were spent flying home and driving back up the coast of California. It was a nice drive and we really appreciate Joe for driving down to get us. Thanks so much to my staff for all that you did while we were in Hawaii. You know how much I appreciate all the help and everything you have done for UCP.

This trip was bitter sweet for a few of my staff. This was the last trip with UCP for Michael and Becky Beem. I want to take this opportunity to say that you two were an AMAZING help to me on this trip. I can honestly say that without you both, I would not have been able to do it. I appreciate you and thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the time and effort you put into helping me make this trip amazing for the clients. I will miss you both and I wish you the best in your new state. My hope for you both is that you have much as happiness in your future as you deserve. ♥

Thank You from UCP of SLO County

Repost – Original Post on Oct 26, 2012

We wanted to thank some of those organizations and groups that have helped us recently with our efforts in reaching out to the community and achieving our mission and goals.

First, thank you much to Mike’s Shoes for holding a fundraiser to support UCP of SLO County. Mike’s Shoes came and approached us about doing this fundraiser. Thank you Mike’s Shoes!!! You can find their website by clicking on this link.

Mike’s Shoes

Second, Jim & I, a local band came to our Walk & Roll both this year and last year and really entertained our group. Thank you Jim & I (Jim Wilmore and Seth Blackburn). You can find their website by clicking on this link.

Jim & I Music

Third and last, we’d like to thank every one of you who come to our events, visit our website and help us in our mission. Whether your a person with a disability, a parent or sibling of a person with a disability, an interested citizen, a local advocate or just a friendly passerby, we greatly appreciate you being here and reading this. Thank you everybody for your work, your interest and your good times.

Sea World

Repost – Original Post on Sep 4 2012

UCP CIP Tour to Sea World

Hey Everyone! We had a total “SPLASH” … I mean BLAST at Sea World last weekend. It was totally amazing. We went to Sea World in San Diego. The ride down was a long one but we had a good time listening to great music and singing along. We had a great group of clients who were all so excited to get to go and see all the marine animals and a few of us who wanted to ride some of the new super-fast rides.

When we first arrived the hotel was waiting for us. They had rolled out a red carpet and even prepared a punch and cookies reception for us. It was really sweet of them. They are always so accommodating to us when we come down. It made for a nice relaxing time at the end of a long ride down on the bus. Some of us even went down to the pool the first night to splash around and play in the water before dinner.

When we got up on Saturday everyone was so excited to get out and get to the park. WE all decided what we wanted to do before we went into Sea World. We all got to go and see and do some fun things while we were there. Most of us got the chance to watch the dolphin show and the Shamu show. This of course meant a few of us left a little bit splashed on. Some of the groups even had the chance to feed the sea lions. That was really fun, except the birds kept swooping in on the fish we were feeding them. A few of our clients got to pet the manta rays. It was really neat to feel how soft they were. All in all, the whole trip was a great experience for everyone who went. We had a truly amazing time.

We would love for you all to have the opportunity to come along and join us for these trips. There are so many fun and exciting trips planned for next year. If you are interested in knowing what we have coming up, please contact Kristine here at the UCP office. (805)543-2039 or my email Kristine@ucp-slo.org

♥ ♦ ♣ ♠ VIVA Las Vegas ♠ ♣ ♦ ♥

Repost – Original Post on Aug 31, 2012

UCP CIP Tour to Las Vegas

~LATE BLOG ALERT~. =) Hey everyone this is me, Mandy…. It has been SUPER busy here at UCP. Setting up and getting ready for all the really amazing trips and activities we still have happening this year. Also sending out all the information on what is coming up in 2013. If you are not on our mailing list and want to know what is up and coming for UCP contact Kristine at Kristine@ucp-slo.org or call her at (805)543-2039.

Now back to the Real News –

Guess what?! We, UCP CIP Tours, went to LAS VEGAS! Yup that is right, Las Vegas, People… We actually were out there last month in July. It was hot and so were the machines. WHEW!!! These guys were all on a roll. I can tell you more than half the people who played came back home UP on the money! It was amazing. They all had a blast.

We stayed at the 4 Queens on Fremont Street. Frank, Tami and Marie all have amazing luck at the casino. They won and got free stuff and really enjoyed themselves. Some of these guys didn’t know what to expect. It was really great to get and sit down with them and have some great chats about their lives and show them how to play the machines.

We had a lot of fun walking down Fremont Street looking at other casinos there and checking out some of the street vendors and artists. It was so much fun. For lunch that day we walked down to the Main St Station for the buffet. Food was amazing and we all totally stuffed ourselves. That night we got all dressed up and went out to an awesome show on the strip at Planet Hollywood. Singing, dancing and SHOWGIRLS! They group really had a great time and we hope to have them all back with us next year when we hit up RENO!

As usual the staff was amazing. Special thanks to Hailey our Nurse. She was wonderful. She was there to help out with all our needs and anything that came up. She is really fantastic. Thanks so much to all our other staff for the great job they do. This trip was our first time having Aaron along for staff. We are stoked to have added him along with Ian, a second time staffer for our out of town activities, to our list. This was also Valen’s first trip with us out of town. HUGE help and we were really glad to have him along. Allen and Veronica… They have become UCP CIP regulars. They are always there to help out and make sure everyone has a great time.

Camp Kelley Creek 2012

Repost – Original Post on Jun 11, 2012

Camp Kelley Creek Staff 2012

Hello my faithful followers. I wanted to pop in here and give you the entire scoop on Camp Kelley. Here goes nothing….

Another Year at Camp has come and gone. 2012 Camp Kelley ~ Mardi Gras~ YAY!! We had an amazing round of staff! The campers, as usual, made us smile over and over again. This year we had so many fun things to do it almost didn’t all fit in the week. We had a wonderful time doing arts and crafts. We had a blast, playing at the pool! There was camp fires and s’mores. We watched a movie and had popcorn. We played BINGO! Three lucky Campers even won a lunch date with Kristine! She took, Elizabeth, Steven and David to lunch one on one to have a nice time out. Also there was one lucky camper who was able to go and meet the HULK! Hurray, Suzette! I know she had an amazing day that day and that even made her whole week!

I have been a part of camp for a few years now and I am always just as excited to get to come back the next summer. I think that being able to be there and talk with and hang out and have meals with all the campers is an amazing opportunity and I wouldn’t give it up for anything. I hope someday everyone who wants the chance to come out and be a part of camp will be able to join us!

I want to take a minute to say THANK YOU to all our staff. You are all truly amazing individuals and I know that I, personally, am honored to have had the opportunity to work alongside all of you, especially with this wonderful group of clients. Without all of you, this would not have even been possible. Thanks so much for everything that each and every one of you gave. Thanks so much to our amazing activities staff, Lynny, Savannah, Sean and Rich and Laura. Thanks so much to Hailey, Rachel, Becky and BRIAN for leading the singing at the camp fire. Thank you Ian for the quick save on the camp fire s’mores night and helping us get those last few s’mores made. Thank you, Sarah, for always being there to help someone in the pool who usually would not have the chance to get in and enjoy the cool water on such hot days. Thank you to all the amazing staff for the help in taking care of all the clients and NEVER a care to whose group they were in. Thanks for all the help with cleaning up and helping it all go as well as it did. I am so grateful to know all of you and so happy that I get to have all of you in my life.

I don’t know about you all but I can’t wait for next year. I know next year will be EVEN MORE AMAZING!!!

ARRRRRRRGH you READY?! AYE AYE Captain’ Camp Kelley 2013 comes to port next June… Hope to see you all there….

Take Me Out to the BALL GAME

Repost – Original Post on Jul 11, 2012

Hi ALL, it’s Mandy! I am back! Been SUPER CRAZY BUSY here at UCP with all our planning for UCP Camp Kelley Creek this Month in June!! SO Excited!

Well here is the story on the fun stuff we did LAST month. Last month we took a group of 21 people to the Dodgers game on May 19th. We spent a wonderful morning shopping at and walking around Venice Beach in Los Angeles. The clients really had a great time going into the shops and getting things they really wanted. We all saved a few dollars for the game though.. If you are a Dodgers fan you always want to show it off! So we did some much anticipated souvenir shopping at the game park as well. The game was against the AZ Cardinals… AS IF THEY HAD A CHANCE!!! Anyway.. one of the really amazing things about attending this game was FanFest! This year is the 50th year anniversary for Dodgers Stadium. So in celebration they had a lot going on at their Fan appreciation event like, autograph sessions with current and former Dodger players, Q&A sessions with Dodger players and coaches and games and dancing and so much more! Everyone along had an amazing time.. and we were all super PUMPED by the time the game started.. We ate Dodger Dogs and did the wave! All of us got up to sing and dance in the 7th inning stretch!

Needless to say I am sure, the Dodgers won the game.. It was awesome!

GO DODGERS!

M I C K E Y M O U S E

Repost – Apr 16, 2012

UCP CIP Tour at Disneyland

♫ ♪ Who’s the leader of the club that’s made for you and me…? ♪ M-I-C-K-E-Y .♫.♪. M-O-U-S-E! ♪ ♫

Rain, rain go away! Friday the 13th was a rainy day and a long drive down to Anaheim, but that didn’t stop us! We went on down to the Happiest place on Earth, Disneyland! We took a smaller group than usual this Disney trip. We missed everyone who usually comes along. But with clear skies and warmer weather it was still awesome. Thankfully the park was not too busy in spite of the fact that it was Spring Break!! When I heard that spring break was going on that week I thought to myself, OH NO! It is gonna be packed! Well, it actually was not too bad. Not too bad at all. Nice sunny day and the clients got to go on quite a few more rides than we thought we would have time for. Highlight of the day for some was BIG THUNDER MOUNTAIN! A few guys got on that one and LOVED it! I was so happy to hear all about it when we all met up again for our late lunch before shopping at Downtown Disney! All in all everyone had a blast at the park and then we all got to go out shopping and it was a beautiful, fun-filled Saturday at the park! I am really sorry for those of you who missed it. Hopefully we will see you next time.

Next trip is next month, in May. I can’t wait to see everyone who was able to sign up for this trip. Dodgers Stadium, here we come! Until next time…. ♥ Mandy