This is the fourth part of TASH's six-part webinar series, Creative Solutions to the Community Living Crisis. To learn more or register for the complete series, click here.
1:00 PM Eastern, Friday, March 20, 2020
Ruthie-Marie Beckwith, Executive Director, TASH
Shay Bernard, Support Coordination Standards Specialist, Progressive Community Services
Hope Dittmeier, Executive Director, Mattingly Edge
Joe Wykowski, Executive Director, Community Vision
About this Episode
Despite the rising cost of housing, increasing numbers of people with disabilities are living in the community. A team of providers of different models of support will share how outside-of-the-box thinking and networking can create new and exciting opportunities for people with disabilities to live in their own homes in the community.
About the Presenters
Ruthie-Marie Beckwith, Ph.D. is the Executive Director at TASH, a non-profit that advocates for human rights and inclusion for people with significant disabilities. She is a national consultant who helps people with disabilities develop and implement strategies for greater autonomy in their daily lives. She was the the founder and principal partner of Blue Fire Consulting and provided consulting services across the United States in areas of self-determination, community organizing, leadership development, and self-employment. Committed to grassroots approaches to empowerment and resource mobilization, she has served as the founder and Executive Director of the two statewide non-profit organizations dedicated to helping people with disabilities; The Tennessee Association of Microboards and Cooperatives, Inc. and People First of Tennessee, Inc. She teaches advocacy and disability history at CUNY as Adjunct Faculty and has served as Adjunct Faculty at Vanderbilt University and Middle Tennessee State University. She received her Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in Special Education from George Peabody College and her B.S. degree from the State University of New York at Geneseo.
Shay Bernard is currently the Support Coordination Standards Specialist for Progressive Community Services in St. Joseph, Missouri. Progressive Community Services strives to think outside of the box to ensure people they support live their best lives. Shay began her career with the agency in 2002 as direct support staff and then returned in 2013 as a Support Coordinator and then Supervisor. Over the past 7 years, Shay has assisted people with obtaining supports they need to be as independent as possible. More recently, Progressive Community Services has focused on the use of technology to help counter-balance the lack of staffing available in Buchanan County and other statewide budget shortfalls. Shay has been on the forefront of connecting people with technology that has successfully improved their independence and safety. Shay has a personal investment that drives her commitment as well. Her uncle receives funded supports to live an independent life. It is this relationship that sparks her passion to ensure that all people have value and receive the support and care needed to live inclusive lives.
At a young age, Hope Dittmeier worked at an institution for people with disabilities. That experience fueled her PASSION to work the past 35 years to identify and create options for people with disabilities to enjoy a lifestyle and quality of life that matches that of other citizens. In 1986, Hope was introduced to Social Role Valorisation (SRV) and has been a student and teacher of this THEORY of practice since. Her primary focus is on the application of SRV to service design and implementation. Another major influence on Hope’s work has been her sister-in-law Ann, who despite dire predictions at birth, has enjoyed being an employee, homeowner, aunt, neighbor, honored volunteer, friend, and choir member. Ann, along with 21 people supported by Realizations, have given Hope practical EXPERIENCE designing and providing high quality, personalized supports.
Hope holds a Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling. She has served as family support specialist, regional planner, behavior specialist, Founder/CEO of Realizations, and international trainer/consultant. She is currently the Executive Director at Mattingly Edge in Louisville, Kentucky.
Joe Wykowski is the Executive Director of Community Vision in Portland Oregon, a person centered organization providing individual supports to over eighty individuals and families. For five consecutive years Community Vision has been recognized as one of the Best 100 Non-Profits to work for in the State of Oregon by Oregon Business Magazine. Joe also founded the Homeownership Independence Program in 1999, which assists 15 individuals or families a year to purchase a home and the Future Assets for Independence Program in 2011, which provides the opportunity for persons with disabilities to create asset-building accounts. Joe consults with various housing coalitions across the country concerning the creation of individual housing opportunities and personal supports for persons with disabilities.