Every Wednesday at 1:00 pm meets our Speech Club! Each week our participants are given a new topic to discuss to help our clients practice their speaking skills! Speech Club is full of all sorts of fun and surprises! Each week the participants bring a punch card with them. With each attendance they get 1 hole punch and they get an additional hole punch if they decide to speak. Once the punch card is filled, that participant gets a surprise!
Speech Club isn’t just about speaking! It’s also a place for fun & games!! Here we can see our speech group learning about the fundamentals of volleyball! That weeks speech topic was all about SPORTS!
Some of the speech topics discussed in the past include:
- This is how you play my favorite sport
- If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?
- Who is your hero and why?
- What animal would you like to be for one day and why?
- What are your favorite things about fall?And so many more!!
Each week we have a guest speaker that joins us! Our guests can be anyone! We’ve had guests that were staff at MRI, family members of staff, other clients, just about anyone that would like to guest speak is more than welcome! Some of our guest speakers teach our participants how to be formal, what to wear and how to address a formal audience and then some of our other speakers are more relaxed and just sit down with us with a conversation or demonstration.
Each week we have about 10-12 individuals that participate in Speech Club.
Some of our weekly participants include..
- Andy Richards- soft spoken but very intelligent and creative.
- Angie Belue- very sweet and funny but isn’t afraid to tell you how it is
- Shawn Williams- the best listener in class! Always respectful to the individual speaking.
- Caleb Wagner- Caleb brings the laughter and stories to class.
- Brook Wells- without Brook, speech club wouldn’t be nearly as fun and lively. Brook is always there for someone if they’re struggling with a topic or having a hard time speaking about something.
- Tonya Hardison- always very excited about speech each week!
- Jill Bell- the bubbliest person you’ll ever meet. Always smiling and spreading a smile on other’s faces.
- Matt Gregory- also very excited about our weekly meetings, always willing to share a story or experience with the club.
- Lynn Heath- Lynn is very in tune with all safety precautions. She is very cautious and informative.
- Dorothy Reed- You can always count on Dorothy for a good laugh and a sweet compliment. She enjoys speech club and enjoys socializing with her peers.
Joining Speech Club is SUPER easy!
Contact Kelsie: (875-8800) Contact Melanie: (875-8850)
MRI’s CAPS program allows our day training individuals to learn more about the community they live in by volunteering and exploring local places. CAPS also allows members of the community to interact with individuals with developmental and physical disabilities and to see they are a person just like everyone else.
Today, our CAPS members took some time in between bowling and lunch to go visit Harley Davidson and check out some motorcycles!
Check that out!! Talk about an awesome day at Harley-Davidson!!
Look at that awesome CAPS group!! Thank you so much Harley-Davidson for having us today!!
At MRI we offer a vast array of fun and interesting programs for our clients to utilize and explore. This week we would like to take a look at our Creative Writing Class!
So what exactly is the Creative Writing Class? It is a special writing class available to any and all interested in the art of creative writing! The class currently consists of about 6 regular members, but any and all are always welcome! The class is typically given a topic or prompt and then given free rein to express themselves however they want!
This month our Creative Writing Class has taken on the theme of “Beneath the Mask” with their writings. The theme “Beneath the Mask” gives the members of the Creative Writing Class an opportunity to talk about the metaphorical “masks” that they wear to hide themselves from the world around them.
Meet Renee Krause! Reene Krause loves art, knitting and arts & crafts in general so it’s no wonder she would be apart of our Creative Writing team! Renee likes to write to express her feelings and to show everyone how she feels. Renee is a very creative individual with a large heart to show it!
Chris Batchelder is another one of our awesome Creative Writing team members! Chris is a 29 year old that enjoys spending his time blacksmithing, woodworking, and sewing! Wow!! Chris likes to write because he gets to put his feelings into words.
Another one of our AWESOME Creative Writing members is Katy Batchelder! Katy is 35 years old and loves to sing and dance and has also done her share of acting! Writing helps Katie with expressing herself when she’s having trouble elaborating on her feelings. She is a very unique individual and she has so much to be proud of!
Karina Hayes is another one of our talented Creative Writing team members! Karina is 22 years old and she loves music, dancing, working, and hanging out with her boyfriend. Karina likes to write because it allows her to relieve any stress she might when she’s under any sort of pressure. She loves using music as a means to calm herself down too! Karina is very nice and downright awesome!
We here at MRI are always excited to see what our Creative Writing Class is working on and we’re all very excited to see what’s next for them!
Each year, the Greater Decatur Chamber of Commerce holds an awards luncheon to celebrate local organizations making a positive impact in our community. This year, MRI was named Non-Profit of the Year. MRI’s Executive Director Amy Bliefnick and MRI Day Training participant Karina Hayes accepted the award on behalf of all staff and individuals served.
September 21st was a great day for MRI, and more specifically for everyone who makes this organization what it is. On that day, MRI was recognized by the Decatur Chamber of Commerce as the Non-Profit Organization of the Year.
While I was honored to publicly accept this award, I feel it’s important to note that I did so on behalf of countless individuals whose influence over many years has led us to where we are now.
MRI did not happen overnight. Years of strong leadership from former Executive Directors Kay Scrogin and Dreux Lewandowski, as well as many past and present Board members, have been the driving force behind the agency’s growth and excellence. Our staff – which is over 250 strong – takes each day as an opportunity to show compassion and inspire others to do the same.
And let’s not forget the support this organization receives from the businesses, civic and social organizations, and leaders of Decatur and Macon County. In my opinion, this is the greatest community anywhere, and we’re fortunate to call it home.
Finally, I have to acknowledge the most important contributor to MRI’s success – our clients, both past and present. I want to thank them, their parents, family, and guardians for allowing us the privilege of being a part of their lives. For myself, and every member of our staff, there is no greater joy than to play a role in their continued success. They are the reason for everything we do.
Again, September 21st was a great day for MRI. And, we can’t wait for many more!
MRI Executive Director
August Employee of the Month
Another month, another employee of the month! In August, MRI’s Case Management Administrative Aid Mia Jarrett went above and beyond the normal call of duty. Mia was nominated because, “she was asked to devote three hours of her day doing something that was crucial in keeping our clients safe and she was happy and willing to help. She volunteered with the best attitude and a smile on her face. Her every day attitude makes me proud to work at the same place as her.”
Mia’s nomination was unanimously chosen from a pool of over 50 nominations! Thanks for all your hard work, Mia. We appreciate all you do for MRI!
This month, we had nominations from employees, individuals and even parents! At least one person from each department was nominated. Thank you to everyone who went above and beyond this month AND a huge thank you to those who noticed!
It’s Tuesday, which means it’s time for tie dye! Sonya’s Day Training group spent Monday and Tuesday tie dying t shirts to wear to the client conference in September. First, we had to twist and wrap all the T shirts.
Next, Karina helped Sonya spray each shirt so it was damp. Then it was time for the fun part: dying them! Everyone got to choose their own colors. The trick is to soak them with dye so it dries really bright. Matt used so many colors, Karina had to step in the help.
Once the shirts were dyed, they went in a grocery bag to sit for 8 hours. Today, they will be washed, dried and, the best part, worn!
it’s National Joke Day and we are definitely celebrating at MRI! Check out some of our favorite jokes and jokesters below.
“Knock Knock” “Who’s there” “Who” “Who who?” “Who you!”- Tonya
“Why did he throw the alarm clock out the window?” “To see time fly!”
“Where does the vampire keep his money?” “The blood bank!”
“What kind of watch does a witch wear?” “A witch watch!”
“Knock knock” “Who’s there?” “Banana” “Banana who?” “Let’s split!” – Reene
“What did the cow say to the farmer?” “Mooooooooooooove it!”
“How come the alligator couldn’t see where to go?” “He had no glasses!”
“If the red house is on the left and the blue house is on the right, where is the white house?”
“Washington, DC!” – Becky
“Knock knock” “Who’s there?” “Hello” “Hello who?” “Hello my hairy leg!” – Greg
“Did you hear about the man who stole all the plumbing from the police department?”
“The police had nothing to go on!” – Noah
“Why is a bad joke like a pencil?” “Because it has no point!” – Morgan
“How do all the oceans say hello to each other?” “They wave!” – Janet
“Knock knock” “Who’s there?” “Apple” “Apple who?” “Do you want a candy apple?” – Chasidee
“Susie came home from school and her mom said, ‘what did you learn in school today?’
and Susie said, ‘not enough because they want me to come back tomorrow!'” – Amy
The Decatur Craft Beer Festival is back & bigger than ever! This year MRI and the Decatur Area Arts Council (DAAC) are teaming up to bring craft beer back to downtown Decatur.
This year, The Decatur Craft Beer Festival will be Saturday, September 30 from 1-5 pm on N. Water Street outside the DAAC. We’ll have over 100 unique craft beers & ciders, local breweries from across the state, live music and food trucks.
Festival tickets are $25 and include admission to the event, 8 tasting tickets, a souvenir glass, live music and access to the on-site food trucks.
2017’s VIP event ($100 tickets) will be held on Friday, September 29 from 7-10 pm inside the DAAC. At the VIP event, you will find rare and hard to find beers and ciders not available at the festival, delicious hors d’oeuvres, exclusive auction items, a VIP goodie bag and ticket holding lanyard, entrance into Saturday’s festival, double the tasting tickets, souvenir glass and more!
TICKETS ON SALE NOW AT www.decaturcraftbeerfestival.com.
All proceeds stay in the Decatur community by benefitting two local non-profits:
1. MRI (Macon Resources, Inc.) – provides programs and services for over 800 children and adults with disabilities each year
2. Decatur Area Arts Council – introduces and promotes the arts, enhances arts educational opportunities, and increases the impact of and access to the arts to improve the quality of life in the community
Thank you to our major sponsors:
Decatur Digital Solutions
Land of Lincoln Credit Union
Brechnitz Group of Raymond James
Decatur Earthmover Credit Union
Alan & Beth Frigy
Jerger Pediatric Dentistry
Brechnitz Group of Raymond James
First Mid-Illinois Bank & Trust Decatur North Water
R.V. Evans Company
Rodney is a MRI Day Training participant. This means he spends his weekdays at MRI learning new skills and participating in classes like Sign Language, Music and, his favorite, Bible Study. Rachel interviewed Rodney a few weeks ago and we got to know a few of his favorite things.
Rodney loves cats, in fact, they are his favorite animal! His best friend is fellow Day Training participant and Agency Greeter Lynn. He enjoys running outside and watching TV. Rodney’s favorite color is red, which he expresses through clothing.
When asked what makes him happy, Rodney answered, “going to church and eating, drinking Pepsi, listening to music and helping others.”
Something Rodney enjoys that he did not mention is his pen collection. Rodney collects all kinds of pens! He has thousands of working and non working pens in his collection. A few weeks ago, an MRI visitor even donated a large envelope of pens to him! (You can check out that story here.) His favorite pens are Papermates.
Read more Talk Time with Rachel interviews on the blog! Unsure what Talk Time with Rachel is? Check out our first segment.
MRI’s ECNO (Empowering Community Networking Opportunities) program gives our clients a chance to give back to the community through volunteer opportunities like delivering Thrive and Decatur Magazine and Meals on Wheels, cleaning MRI classrooms and vans, working at the Good Samaritan Inn, playing games with our SAT (Specialized Adult Services) individuals, stocking supplies at Northeast Community Fund and more.
Once a year ECNO tallies up the total hours each participant has volunteered that year and celebrates. Everyone who volunteers gets an award for their hard work and the top ten participants with the most volunteer hours receive an extra award and a special outing for just those ten members. This year’s special outing is an all day camping trip, complete with lunch cooked over the campfire and swimming at the beach.
This year, the top volunteer was Ryan with 109 hours! His favorite volunteer activity is Meals on Wheels. All together, ECNO volunteered for 1,466.5 hours from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017. That’s a lot of hours!
Since all of ECNO is already together, it’s also a great time to celebrate everyone’s birthdays! All ECNO participants vote on their six favorite cake flavors. Then, together they make a grocery list and purchase all the materials needed for the cakes. The day before the celebration, they bake the cakes in one of MRI’s apartment-style classrooms. After the award ceremony, everyone sings happy birthday and eats cake and ice cream! This year’s overwhelming favorite was chocolate lava fudge.
Check out all of our wonderful volunteers with their awards: