Last week, March 3rd, was Spread the Word: Inclusion Day. Spread the Word to End the Word is a campaign with the belief that “the world would be better if ALL people were valued, respected, embraced, and included.” However, the group that lacks inclusion most are individuals with developmental disabilities. This is why each year MRI takes the entire day to spread awareness of inclusion throughout our community and prepare Spread the Word themed activities for our persons served.
The theme for 2021 was Connection. This theme focused on the relationship between individuals who make one another feel seen, heard, and valued. To kick off the day, our persons served created and performed skits that demonstrated how practicing inclusion can build connection. Afterwards, they learned about inclusion and diversity in a Spread the Word themed bingo game. Additionally, colorful Spread the Word cups filled with goodies were passed out as everyone finished filling out their Inclusion pledge.
To promote and spread awareness of this campaign in our community, we invited community members and organizations to also make pledges to spread the word of inclusion and to build connection throughout the community. Based on the theme of connection, all of the gathered pledges were written on colorful pieces of paper that were connected based on group home, MRI department, and community organizations.
For the finale, all the inclusion pledge chains from persons served, MRI staff, and several community organizations were all connected to form one long paper chain. The inclusion paper chain was hung throughout our Community Day Services building to represent how we are all staying connected despite being apart. Each piece of the paper chain had either a person’s pledge on how they will demonstrate inclusion this year or a kind and uplifting commitment to see, hear, and value others.
Although this past year has created much disconnection in our community, it was a powerful reminder and physical representation of how connection can be maintained, renewed, and formed when we all pledge to stand for inclusion!
Each year MRI hosts a Christmas luncheon for the people we serve and their family/guardians. The lunch is a wonderful event to welcome families into our building and have an opportunity to interact with friends and family and our staff .
Prior to the lunch we had a prayer provided by individuals served at MRI. Shortly after the prayer there was a special message from MRI President/CEO Amy Bliefnick. Amy welcomed the guests and announced an exciting event coming up in February.
February 8th marks the date of Night To Shine, a prom for individuals with special needs ages 14+. The Tim Tebow foundation proudly sponsors the event and helps to make this evening as extravagant as possible. More information on the event is to come shortly so be sure to keep your eye out for more information on how to be a part of this event.
MRI is proud to announce that we are now producing an e-newsletter each month!
After many months, nearly 2 years, it dawned on us that a regular newsletter was not being published and sent out. We believe it is very important for our friends, families and donors to keep up to date on what is going on at MRI. We have tons of events and activities taking place each month and simply getting information from our social media outlets doesn’t do it’s justice. We hope you enjoy our newsletter and if there are aspects that you would like to see added or if things aren’t working for you please let us know.
MRI Drama Club & Millikin University students have been working hard to learn the ins and outs of show biz. Come check out their hard work as they present William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
WHO: The Superior Thespians of MRI WHAT: “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” by William Shakespeare WHEN: Friday, May 4 @ 1:00 pm WHERE: MRI Gymnasium, 2121 Hubbard Ave., Decatur, IL 62526 WHY: Come support the hard work of the Millikin students and MRI drama club in this amazing opening/closing night one-time spectacular show! COST:FREE!
A note from our thespians:
‘The MRI Drama Club and theatre students from Millikin University, will present “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” on May 4, 2018 at 1:00 pm. The students enrolled in a ‘Shakespeare Corrected” course elected to produce a dramatic presentation with our individuals served. Entertaining practices guarantee an interesting and comical production. Don’t miss this fantastic show!!”
CHECK OUT OUR ALL STAR CAST
Oberon: Robert “Stretch”
Fairies: Chassidee, Judy, Roger J., Vicki
Snout: Michael D.
Other “Knuckleheads”: Ryan C, Joseph
Narrators: Lorraine, Caleb, Jason, and Tony
Cameron participates in the Discovery Depot child care center at Independence Pointe. At only two years old, he is a rambunctious ball of energy! When we went to visit Cameron to get a few photos for our Impact Story he was a bit shy. Granted, we arrived as he and his classmates were just waking up from their afternoon naps (Oops!). With the help of his teachers we were able to get him to crack a few smiles for the camera.
How has Discovery Depot helped?
When Cameron joined Discovery Depot, he was having both physical and developmental issues. Aside from the services provided by MRI he also visits a therapist to aid in developing his skills. After working with Cameron it was apparent that his poor vision was impacting his developmental abilities. Once he received his adorable glasses and began working in the classroom, he began to show great improvement.
In his classroom he and his classmates work on social and emotional learning. Some of the learning includes;
How is he doing now?
After speaking with his grandmother about Cameron’s progress, she had this to say,“Through Discovery Depot he has developed greatly.” She has noticed a big improvement in his social skills and his memory. When he enters the building at Independence Pointe he recognizes all of the staff and even knows everyone’s names!
If you were to visit MRI (Macon Resources, inc.) out on Hubbard Avenue, there is a good chance you would be welcomed by a big smile from Angie. Angie has been with MRI for over 33 years, and has witnessed many changes throughout those years! She has held multiple employment positions around the building; however, working as an Agency Greeter is her most recent achievement!
Growing up, Angie faced bullying throughout school. It was difficult for her to find a place to fit in, and as a result she moved from school to school. As she progressed through school, the bullying intensified and all of the harassment took a toll on her. Eventually she shut herself off from everyone to avoid the negativity. At the age of 17 Angie was able to utilize the services provided by MRI and she finally found a place of belonging. She slowly began to open up and become the kind and caring person she is today.
“I want to be more independent. I want to try stuff on my own.” -Angie
We sat down with Angie one afternoon and had a wonderful time listening to her describe the events of her past that have led her to where she is now. Her early years with MRI were highly supervised. Angie received an escort to help her into, and throughout the building. Once she warmed up to the atmosphere and the people, Angie soon noticed she was receiving more attention from staff than she needed. One night Angie expressed to her mother, “I want to be more independent. I want to try stuff on my own.” and the next day Angie escorted herself into the building. This moment was the first step Angie had taken towards becoming more independent for herself!
As more time passed and confidence in herself grew, Angie wanted to push her sense of independence even further. She wanted to get a job and start earning money on her own. Angie recalls her first job at MRI as stuffing newspapers. During that job she learned valuable skills such as work ethic and money management. With the help of MRI’s employment staff, Angie has held multiple jobs both within MRI and in the community.
Aside from working, Angie also is involved with volunteering! A few years ago Angie was informed that McKinley Court Care Center had multiple opportunities for volunteers at their building in Decatur. Angie took it upon herself to find them in the phone book and give them a call to see where she could help. After receiving the Volunteer of the Year award for three years in a row at McKinley Court, Angie was offered a job there! Her duties consist of; participating in bingo with the residents, socializing and completing paperwork.
Angie is very thankful for the services MRI provides and the skills she has learned along the way. She looks forward to what lies ahead of her and the places she will go.
Ryan is a MRI Day Training Participant. He loves coming to Macon Resources and spending time with his best friend Robert. (Ryan wanted us to add, “Yes, we hug.”) Ryan also enjoys spending time with his group leader and case manager. He likes that they are, “helpful and trustworthy,” and above all, they are nice!
Ryan also likes sports! He enjoys football, basketball and, most of all, baseball. His favorite professional baseball team is the Chicago Cubs. During Ryan’s interview, when asked why they were his favorite team he simply replied, “Because Cubbies rule!” He enjoys taking walks in the park to see what activities are going on and to see the ducks at the pond.
All in all, Ryan sees himself as respectful, trust worthy and friendly. He is sure to put a smile on your face!
Read more “Talk Time with Rachel” interviews on the Blog.
December’s employee of the month was Joy Pullium! Joy is a life skills coach for people in the community. She truly enjoys her job and her passion for helping others is apparent.
Recently, Joy was seeking out the history of someone on her caseload, searching for a better understanding of the significant life issue that person was facing. In the reports she received, the doctor overseeing the individual stated, “that’s just who she is and how things are.” Unsatisfied with the diagnosis, Joy set out on her own to discover how that person’s circumstance came about. Joy also sought to predict negative circumstances in that individual’s future with hopes of avoiding dangerous situations, and correcting current behaviors.
Joy has earned employee of the month in December for her care for others. Her express for concern and treating everyone as equals is why we are proud to have Joy here at MRI. Congratulations Joy!!
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.
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 dowith her daughter is toplay 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.