Join MRI as we Spread the Word the End the Word!
Spread the Word the End the Word is a national campaign created by Special Olympics and Best Buddies. MRI is joining the campaign and spreading the word about how hurtful the R-word (retard or retarded) can be to individuals with disabilities.
On Wednesday, March 7 from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm, MRI will set up booths at MRI’s main campus (2121 Hubbard Ave.), Eisenhower High School and Millikin University’s new student union. We will have easily accessible ways to pledge, giveaways and the opportunity to hear first hand accounts about how the R-word affects from individuals with disabilities. Join us at any location to help spread the word!
Can’t make it out? You can pledge online too: https://www.r-word.org/r-word-pledge.aspx.
Karina, a Day Training participant, is fairly new at MRI; however, she has made friends quickly. To be specific, she has made two best friends. Matt, who she loves because he is so unique, and Colleen, who she lives with. Karina is a MRI Ambassador and just recently represented MRI at Texas Roadhouse for a Special Olympics fundraiser.
When she is not hard at work at MRI, Karina enjoys talking on her cell phone.
She also collects bracelets of all kinds, ranging from homemade to gifts to store bought.
She loves any kind of chicken, but especially fried chicken. Her favorite food to cook at home is chicken noodle soup.
Read more “Talk Time with Rachel” interviews on the blog! Unsure what Talk Time with Rachel is? Check out our first segment.
Meet Janet Smith
Janet Smith is an employee here at MRI.
What Janet likes best about herself is her strength, independence, and happiness because it takes a strong person to be able to appreciate a lot things in life.
Janet is a big fan of the arts! Some of her favorite movies are Precious and Pursuit of Happiness. Her favorite singers are Keyshia Cole and Mary J. Blige. When she’s in the car she loves to listen to Hip Hop and Rap because it puts her in a good mood. She’s also quite creative herself. Janet also enjoys making key chains!
Janet considers her daughter her best friend and she loves spending time with her. One of Janet’s favorite things to do with her daughter is to play games. She loves how it adds to their quality time. When Janet is with her daughter, she is ensured knowing they are having fun and creating quality memories!
What Janet likes best about her job are the clients and the daily challenges. Each day is different and you just never know what’s going to happen. It keeps the job exciting!
If Janet could go anywhere in the world, she would love to see Africa. She would love to see the difference of how she lives versus the way people in Africa live and see if it’s really how people describe it.
Read more Talk Time with Rachel interviews on the blog! Unsure what Talk Time with Rachel is? Check out our first segment.
Every Wednesday at 1:00 pm our Speech Club gathers together. Each week our participants are given a new discussion topic to help our clients practice their speaking skills. Speech Club is full of all sorts of fun and surprises! Along with their sense of humor, the participants bring a punch card with them every week. With each attendance, they get 1 hole punch and an additional hole punch if they decide to speak. Once the punch card is filled, that participant earns 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 during that week’s speech topic, 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!!
Every 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; while other speakers are more relaxed and just sit down for a conversation or demonstration.
Speech Club consists of about 10-12 individuals. Some of our weekly participants include..
- Andy- soft spoken but very intelligent and creative.
- Angie- very sweet and funny, but isn’t afraid to tell you how it is.
- Shawn- the best listener in class! Always respectful to the individual speaking.
- Caleb- Caleb brings the
- laughter and stories to class.
- Brook- 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- always very excited about speech each week!
- Jill- the bubbliest person you’ll ever meet. Always smiling and spreading a smile on other’s faces.
- Matt- also very excited about our weekly meetings, always willing to share a story or experience with the club.
- Lynn- Lynn is very in tune with all safety precautions. She is very cautious and informative.
- Dorothy- You can always count on Dorothy for a good laugh and a sweet compliment. She enjoys speech club and enjoys socializing with her peers.
MRI’s CAPS (Community Awareness Possibilities & Supports) program allows our day training individuals to learn more about the community they live in by volunteering and exploring local businesses. CAPS also allows members of the community to interact with individuals with developmental and physical disabilities.
Today, our CAPS members took some time in between bowling and lunch to go visit Harley Davidson and check out some motorcycles!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 Reene! Reene loves art, knitting and arts & crafts in general so it’s no wonder she would be apart of our Creative Writing team. Renee enjoys writing 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 is another one of our awesome Creative Writing team members. Chris 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. Katy loves to sing and dance and has also done her share of acting. Writing helps Katie express 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 is another one of our talented Creative Writing team members. Karina loves music, dancing, working, and hanging out with her boyfriend. Karina likes to write because it allows her to relieve any stress she might have. 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 are all very excited to see what is 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!