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Spring 2010 Touchstone

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Project SEARCH
Introducing Stone Belt's Newest Internship Program

By Jenny Austin
Stone Belt Project SEARCH Coordinator

I feel like a dogwood among sequoias in the Project SEARCH classroom.  Four out of the five participants are six feet tall or close to it, and they tower over me as their instructor.  These are all very dedicated young men who are motivated to achieve their goals in this class.  Since most of the group have only been out of high school for a year or so, I’m sure spending seven hours a day sitting in a classroom was not high on the list of preferred activities.  That they did this nearly every day for close to a month demonstrates the drive that will push them toward success.  While very different in many ways, it’s been great to see where the guys have found similarities — sports of course, especially basketball, football and NASCAR, video games, food and television shows. 

We recently began the first round of internships through Project SEARCH.  Each participant went through an application, interview and selection process just like any new job. Three young men took positions at Cook, Inc. working in Janitorial, Cafeteria, and Boats and Bins.  Two other young men are working at Ivy Tech.  One works for the Facilities Department while the other works a split shift between the Word Processing Center and the Registrar’s Office.  Everyone was excited to begin work, and they are all doing very well in their placements, according to supervisors and co-workers.   

Not only are these five young men learning job skills they can take into this competitive work force, they are also learning how to become part of corporate culture.  One of the gentlemen at Cook, Inc. is so naturally friendly and cheerful that he is being recognized and greeted by people from other departments.  One of the young men at Ivy Tech greets his co-workers by assuring them, “You’re doing great!”  Who doesn’t want to hear that from time to time?  So not only are they learning about fitting into a workplace, they are also showing their co-workers that someone with a disability is not so different from anyone else — friendly, motivated and competent.

In a few weeks, they will go through the selection process again and begin a different rotation.  Each new position brings a new set of marketable skills, so that by the time they complete all three rotations, they will have some impressive experience to add to their resumes.  They will have relationships with supervisors to use for references.  And perhaps most importantly, they will have had a chance to change some perceptions and make some friends.  

About the Program

Candidates for Project SEARCH should:
• be between the ages of 18 and 24
• be willing to work at least 20 hours a week
• have applied and be found eligible for Vocational Rehabilitation Services in Indiana
• be able to meet the hiring requirements of their employer (drug screen, immunizations, etc)
• have met all high school certificate/diploma requirements
• There are a limited number of opportunities available. 
The next group of participants is scheduled to start in August 2010.

Modeled on a nationally recognized program developed at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, Project SEARCH provides participants with quality internships in the “real world.”  Working with teams of employment service providers and local businesses, participants develop a variety of skills including:
• specific job skills
• ability to respond to employer expectations
• workplace social skills
• interviewing skills
• Project SEARCH Indiana started in 2008
Currently there are eight programs in the State.

Project SEARCH is based on a partnership that includes: Cook, Inc; Ivy Tech; Stone Belt; Indiana Family & Social Services Administration, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation; and Indiana University Institute on Disability & Community.  The program occurs on-site at Ivy Tech in Bloomington and Cook, Inc.  The cornerstone of Project SEARCH is total immersion in a large business.  The Project's two host businesses, Cook, Inc and Ivy Tech, offer participants a unique hands on learning experience.

A typical day includes: Classroom instruction in:
• Employability and independent living skills (1 hour)
• Job Rotations (2 hours)
•  Lunch (30 minutes)
• Job Rotations (2 hours)
• Classroom instruction (1 hour). 
Participants have monthly progress meetings to define their career goal and plan necessary steps to achieve that goal. Participants spend their classroom time in the Ivy Tech Life Sciences building with an instructor.  There are occasionally guest speakers and trainers. 

Participants leave their Project SEARCH internships with a detailed portfolio of their work experiences including photos, recognitions and letters of recommendation that can be used to show potential employers.  All leave with either a job at their Project SEARCH host business, a job with a related business, or with a team to assist them in obtaining employment.  Employers value the dedication and the quality of work that individuals with disabilities often bring to their workplaces. 

Meet the Participants

Hello, my name is Jack Thrasher. I would just like to say it has been a privilege to be selected for the pilot test group of Project SEARCH in Bloomington. While not only helping me out in finding work, it has also helped me learn a few new teaching skills in helping out my fellow members. I hope this program is a success, and will help out others in the future.

Hi, I’m Justin Richardson, and I love to play video games. Some of my favorite games are Turok Evolution, Top Gun, and Kirby. I love to work. I split wood, sort clothes and empty trash for my Mom and Grandma. I like Project SEARCH. I’ve met some cool guys here. Project SEARCH will help me get a job. I’ll start my internship as a janitor at Cook, Inc.

I like interning at Project SEARCH. It helps me gain good work skills for the future.  I want to continue working here between now and the end of July.  If things go well for me between now and the end of the July, then I’m planning on starting up at a job somewhere close to home.  My first two priorities after the end of July are either working at the Indiana Memorial Union or Bloomington Hospital.

Hi, my name is Casey Mangum. I love airplanes. My favorite plane is the F-14 Tomcat. I like coming to Project SEARCH. I love to ride the bus. I like my new friends at Project SEARCH. My first internship will be in facilities at Ivy Tech. I like working with my Dad on construction sites. I hope Project SEARCH will help me find a good job when I am done.

My name is Brandon Ramos.  I am a student in Project SEARCH trying to get help to find a job.  My favorite hobbies are television, video games, watching movies and shopping.  I'm glad that Project SEARCH is helping me find a job with an internship at Ivy Tech.  It has helped me learn about new things I can use to help myself find work in the future.  I'm glad that it will help me become independent.

From the CEO:  Our Plans to Weather Through Tough Times

These are challenging times. We need look no farther than the newspaper or the television news to see the cuts being made by all sectors due to the poor economy. Naturally, Stone Belt is negatively affected by the economy as well, especially by the decline in available state revenues.

We have seen some cuts to specific programs, including the elimination of the State’s Direct Support Professionals training project, a program that held so much promise for upgrading the knowledge, skills and pay of our dedicated workforce.  Beginning April 1, we also saw a 3% reduction in funding for group homes, which has a significant impact on our revenues. 

Like many other organizations, including schools and other non-profits, we are examining our expenses and trying to determine what we can trim that has the least negative impact on services.  It is not an easy task.  However, Stone Belt, along with many of our colleagues throughout the state, supports the idea of finding cost savings in existing programs where possible.  We are actively encouraging clients to seek compatible housemates to reduce staffing costs and we are developing innovative practices to more efficiently provide services to people with the greatest challenges. 

We have taken a very active role with The Arc of Indiana and INARF (our trade association) to draft a proposal to Family and Social Services Administrative (FSSA) that will reduce the administrative burden on providers of Day Services and will eliminate current time limits on vocational programs while reducing costs to the State by 3.5%.  The estimated cost savings for implemention of these practices state-wide is over $50 million. 

We realize that reacting to cuts has the potential to permanently erode services and that we need to be innovative and forward thinking to cope with new economic realities that are likely to be with us for years to come. That is why Stone Belt joins with The Arc of Indiana in a new initiative, Building Pathways to Empowerment, to examine and redesign a support system that provides what people want and need in the most sensible way possible.  More information about this campaign is featured on page 3.  Families, clients, advocates, state funders and providers must all be willing to work together to look for new ways of doing things. 

With these hopes in mind, we firmly believe that Stone Belt will weather through these tough times.  We remain positively focused on providing the best possible services. The people we serve deserve our best efforts even though we are challenged with the impacts of the weak economy.  Your ongoing support is a tremendous asset and gives Stone Belt the best opportunity for continued success. 


Upcoming Events

APRIL 29 | 10:30 am – noon & 5:30 – 7 pm (offered twice)
Financial Planning Seminar for Families with Special Needs
IU Innovation Center • 2719 East 10th Street, Bloomington
• Have you created a will or trust which leaves funds to support a dependent with special needs?  Have you identified a guardian for the future needs of your dependents?  Have you named your beneficiary of a life insurance or a retirement plan?  Join Stone Belt for an informational session led by respected financial planner, Nancy Cunning.  To reserve your space contact Community Engagement Director, Amy Jackson at 812-332-2168, ext. 314 / or email her.

Quarterly Donors

Stone Belt extends appreciation to all our generous donors from December 1, 2009 through March 26, 2010.  We are grateful for their continued support.

PILLAR SOCIETY LEVEL GIFTS ($5,000 – $9,999): World Arts, Inc.

CORNERSTONE SOCIETY LEVEL GIFTS ($2,500 – $4,999): Evans Scholars Fraternity; Innovative Financial Solutions; George Langendorf & Katherine Taylor; VISA, Inc.

BUILDERS SOCIETY LEVEL GIFTS ($1,000 – $2,499): Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity; Bill C. Brown Associates; Crowder’s Super Drugs Stores; Arthur & Kay Dahlgren; Internal Medicine Associates; JA Benefits; PUSH America.

ADVOCATE LEVEL GIFTS ($500 – $999): Fraternal Order of Police, Bedford; Beth Gazley & Carl Weinberg; Bloomington Playwrights Project; IU Credit Union; Exxon Mobil Foundation; First Insurance Group; Monroe Bank; Ed & Mary Lou Otting; P.E.A.C.E. Meyer; SIHO; Smithville Telephone Company, Inc.; Southern Indiana Pediatrics, LLC; United Commerce Bank; Marion & Mary Young.

STEWARD LEVEL GIFTS ($100 – $499): James & Shirley Abbitt; Anonymous (3); Peggy Bachman; Vicki Baker; James & Carol Campbell; Sandi Cole; Maureen Gahan; Brad & Susanne Galin; Phil & Margaret Hathaway; Gary & Susan Hieftje; David & Mary Higgins; Rona Hokanson; Don & Carol Anne Hossler; Trish Ierino; David & Margaret Johnson; Kappa, Kappa, Kappa, Inc.; Jillian Kinzie & Jo Trockmoton; David & Alyson Lazerwitz; Jim & Kathie Lazerwitz; Timothy Lewis; Bryant Lucas & AmyMarie Travis Lucas; Edwin Cochran Marshall; Joanne Marshall; Randall & Michelle McAtee; Robert McAtee; Valerie & John Merriam; Jennifer & Scott Morgan; Larry & Peg Pejeau; Vicki & Mary Ellen Pierce; Nancy Rayfield; Jill Robinson;  Harold & Sandy Sabbagh; Curtis & Judith Simic; Cliff & Joan Travis; Al & Marie Vendel; Don & Beverly Warren.

FRIEND LEVEL GIFTS ($1 – $99):  Venus Abbitt; James & Susan Alling; John & Bonnie Baute; Kenneth & Barbara Beatty; Charles & Carol Bentley; James Billyeald; Steven Bonowski; Kathy Carter; Civic Leadership; Downtown Bloomington, Inc.; Michael Fox & Samantha Ezzo; Smith Higgins; Jeff & Pinky Hooley; Jason & Amy Jackson; James & Janice Lundy; P.A. Mack, Jr.; Randall & Michelle McAtee; Ron & Diana McGovern; Thomas Minehan; Ray & Marie Murphy; Leonard & Lou Newman; Michael & Melinda Riley; Catherine Simmons; Bonnie Smith; Michael Somin; Charles & Sue Stillions; Albert Velasquez.

IN KIND GIFTS: The Arc of Jackson County; Ward Brown & Amanda Denton; Fraternal Order of the Police, Bedford; John Bethell Title Company.

In Brief

East Region Offices Suffer Fire

Stone Belt’s services in Columbus are back up and running after a fire heavily damaged our offices in the United Way Building on Thursday, December 24. 

Day Programs, Supported Living, Employment Services and Milestones programs have reopened in the new Columbus United Way Center located in the Cummins Plant, Building #40 (pictured above).   Click here for a map, directions and new mailing address.

We greatly appreciate everyone’s patience as we move forward in light of the challenges posed by these losts.  We are dedicated to continuing and growing our services and programs in Columbus.  The Stone Belt community sends positive wishes to all the social service agencies in Columbus that were impacted by the fire and expresses its appreciation to Cummins for their kindness and generosity in sharing this new temporary space.

"Building Pathways Initiative" Unveiled

The State of Indiana is facing a budget crisis unlike anything that has been seen in many years.  Every program counted on by individuals with disabilities is facing huge challenges, at a time when more people than ever before need help.

At this critical time, it is important that we not simply react, but that we act.  That is why The Arc of Indiana has launched a new initiative, Building Pathways to Empowerment, to take a fresh look at Indiana’s system of programs and services for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families, and to begin to redesign and redefine that system to one that provides what people want and need in the most sensible way possible.

The Arc of Indiana – along with partners, including INARF and the Indiana Association of Behavioral Consultants – has already been working with the Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) to implement the following reforms that can save significant funds, rather than eliminating services and making across the board cuts:

Housemates:  Help individuals who receive Medicaid waiver funded residential services find housemates.  Potential Savings:  $20 million per year.

High Cost:  Implement proposals to reform Day Services.  Potential Savings and Better Services:  3.5% annually with more person-centered services.

Local Innovations:  Respond to just one of several ideas offered by local provider agencies.  Potential Savings:  Just one proposal could save $1.5 million per year.

These are just a few examples of the types of changes that can make a difference.  This new initiative will bring people together from many perspectives and is just a small start to the many good things to come.

Stone Belt is excited about this opportunity and what it can mean for individuals with developmental disabilities, their families, and communities throughout Indiana.  We’re going to need your help.  It is not just going to be the State that needs to change or providers that need to change; families and advocates will also need to change as we face these historic challenges.

We welcome you to join us in this important initiative as we work together – Building Pathways to Empowerment.

To learn more and join the conversation, visit or call 800-382-9100.  For quick updates become a fan of the Arc of Indiana on Facebook, follow them on Twitter and sign up for their e-newsletter.

Introducing the Community Engagement Department

There has recently been an exciting change to one of Stone Belt’s agency-wide departments.  Beginning with this new year, the Development Department is now known as the Community Engagement Department.  This change reflects the responsibilities already undertaken by the department, as well as the role that this department plays within the larger community.

The role of the Community Engagement Department is to facilitate the building of relationships between the agency and the community, and to oversee the many ways in which the agency and community intersect.  The Community Engagement Department is responsible for the overall strategy for community interaction, with a focus on positively impacting the agency through the building and strengthening of relationships and partnerships.  Work of the Community Engagement Department includes all aspects of fund-raising, public events, marketing, public relations, and volunteerism.

The Community Engagement Department consists of Amy Jackson as Community Engagement Director (a title change from Development Director), Cheryl Paul, the Communications Manager and Tom Vendel, Community Engagement Intern.

Larry Pejeau, Director of Business Development, has also joined this department.  His work directing the art programs throughout the agency and creating business opportunities for clients in manufacturing is a perfect compliment to the work already being done by the Community Engagement staff.  There will be continued and increased opportunities for community outreach through this change.

Stone Belt is honored to be one of 25 agencies in the Bloomington community to be assigned an ACE (Advocate for Community Engagement).  Each year we have an IU undergraduate who works for Stone Belt (paid by the university) to facilitate student service learners and volunteers.  The ACE is now supervised by the Community Engagement Department.  Stone Belt has a new ACE who began in January and will remain with the agency through the spring of 2012.  Stone Belt’s new ACE is Gwyn Vicars. 

The re-naming of this department to Community Engagement clearly defines work already being done in the agency, and sends a very positive and forward thinking message: Stone Belt plays a central role in our community.  We look forward to establishing and strengthening partnerships which will have far-reaching community benefits.

Partners in Policymaking Academy Recruiting Candidates

The Indiana Governor’s Council for People with Disabilities is recruiting candidates for the Partners in Policymaking Academy, a leadership training program for adults with disabilities and parents of children with disabilities. The class helps prepare disability advocates with the skills needed to become active partners in their communities and to influence public policy. The program is structured around advocacy topics that include disability history, civil rights, education, community living, employment, state and local policy, best practices in service delivery, federal and state legislative issues, media relations, community coalition building, and more. The application deadline is Friday, June 4.

Partners in Policymaking provides eight weekends of training from October to May at no cost to participants. Each month features a national expert along with presenters from state agencies and organizations. The sessions are held in Indianapolis and travel expenses are covered. Enrollment is limited.

For more information or an application, call 317-232-7770, or e-mail. Or, visit All applications must be postmarked by June 4.

2010 Arc of Indiana Forums

Last October, an important dialog began among self-advocates, family members and professionals at The Arc’s “Our Voice. Our Vision.  Our Future.” conference. The Arc of Indiana is committed to taking information learned at the conference and building on it through continued dialog and sharing of new, innovative information from experts throughout the country.

Throughout 2010 The Arc of Indiana will host four forums with this in mind.  The goal of each forum will be to further explore each area and provide important information and resources to individuals with developmental disabilities, their families and industry professionals. During each forum experts will address current trends and opportunities, answer questions and facilitate discussion.  The next scheduled forum is:

Wednesday, April 21
9 am to 12:30 pm
@ The American Red Cross (4411 E 10th Street, Indianapolis)
Registration:  $15 before April 15 / $25 after April 15
Register online @

Early Childhood & Education.  Empowering Parents.  Presented by Barb Kleist of the Arc Greater Twin Cities, Minnesota.  Learn strategies and actions you can take to influence policymakers and create systems change.

Future Topics Include:
• June:  Future Planning & Guardianship.  Family & Caregiver Training.  Self-Advocacy.
• August:  Cultural Competency.  Family Support.  Health Care.
• October:  Post High School Employment.  Community Living.

To find out more details about future forums, visit or call 800-382-9100. 


Kim Craig’s monologue sums up Stone Belt’s recent stage performance of I Am You: “How awesome is that?”  Craig and 13 other Stone Belt clients presented two performances of I Am You, dramatic monologues written and performed by individuals with disabilities.  The performers spent six months pulling together the thoughts, recollections and favorite parts of their lives and fashioned them into an inspiring series monologues, songs, dances and conversations that they shared with the audience.

Each performer brought something different to the stage.  Mike Collins shared the story of meeting his fiancé Gina Barger, and sang “Good Morning Beautiful” to her. Roommates Misty Lawyer, Melissa Abbitt and Krista Heard’s laughter spread to the audience as they guided one another through the process of talking about their favorite things. Dixie Chaney conveyed her love of music and dancing through the performance of three songs spread throughout the evening.  The night ended with her final song, “You Are My Sunshine” and the audience joined in as all the artists took the stage.

“I Am You” is a collaboration involving Stone Belt, the Bloomington Playwrights Project, Theatre of the People and a host of other volunteers.  The project was originally started by Michelle Davenport, an Indiana University student volunteer who worked with nine individuals to write and perform their own stories in 2008.  Now in its second year, “I Am You” conveys the stories of 14 different Stone Belt clients.  Volunteer Directors, Theatre of the People founders Hannah Moss and David Nosko, and IU students Jamie Patton and Sara Rebmann, spent many hours supporting the project.

One of the performers, Rebecca Zimmerman, said she was pleased with her performance that night, even if she was a bit nervous. “I was happy, glad, a little nervous, but overall I think I did pretty well,” she said.  Bloomington resident Annie Corrigan attended the Saturday night performance.  “I didn’t know what to expect, but it was a great evening,” she said.  “It was very touching, one of the more touching bits of theater that I’ve been to in a while.”

Meet the amazing performers and directors of I AM YOU below:

Kim is committed to living her life to the fullest.  She participates in her community and is passionate about giving to others.  She credits Stone Belt’s supports and her own self-determination as the reasons she is successful.

Crystal came to Stone Belt in 2002 after her mom passed away.  She holds three jobs and also volunteers at the Human Society.  She is proud of the many friends she has met through church and the community.

Although Richard has struggled with Type 1 Diabetes since childhood, he has not let that slow him down. He has flourished as a visual artist and skilled musician. He has sold his original artworks throughout the community.

Misty’s dedication and hard work do not go unnoticed as she is consistently recognized for her work achievements and during her many extracurricular activities. She is excited about her recent engagement to boyfriend, Brian.

Melissa can always put a smile on everyone’s face with her upbeat attitude and infectious laugh. Her favorite activities include working at Marsh, playing basketball, bowling and seeing her grandparents and friends at the skating rink.

Krista takes an active role in gaining independence for herself and others with disabilities.  She diligently attends annual conferences to further her knowledge and speak with legislators about her rights.


Gina started living independently in 2001 with Stone Belt supports.  She has a fiancé and lots of friends and family that she loves.  And they love her back!  Someday she would like to be a motivational speaker.

Mike is a resident at Simpson Home, which is a Stone Belt group residence in Bedford.  He enjoys watching wrestling and spending time with his girlfriend, Gina.  Mike also enjoys his community job at the Bedford Public Library.

Kimmi is determined to create an independent life for herself.  She takes an active role in the daily responsibilities of home life and her talents as an artist have recently flourished in Stone Belt’s art studio.  Kimmi is also active in Special Olympics.

Raised in the small town of Madison, Indiana, Angie moved out at age 25.  She displays her independence through her involvement in Self-Advocates of Indiana as president of her chapter and her part-time job with the Arc of Indiana.


Rebecca was born in Hong Kong, and now lives in Bloomington where she has worked at IU for three years.  She enjoys knitting.  In her spare time she also likes to watch television and talk with friends on Facebook.

Mark is a people-pleaser and gives his best no matter what situation is presented.  He joyously carries out daily responsibilities at home, at work and in the community and loves sharing his musical talent through playing the piano.

Since coming to Stone Belt Archie’s world has opened up.  He attends many community, church and sporting activities in his hometown of Hope, IN.  Recently, having purchased his own computer, his world continues to grow.

Seventeen years ago, Dixie went through a dramatic change, moving from her state home to a group home with Stone Belt.  In addition to her work with Cook Medical, she enjoys singing, dancing and beading.

David is co-artistic director of Theatre of the People, a theatre education organization that nurtures the “human value” of ensemble storytelling to benefit the greater public good. David is a playwright, director and scenic designer.

Hannah is co-artistic director of Theatre of the People, a theatre education organization that nurtures the “human value” of ensemble storytelling to benefit the public good. Hannah is an actor, director, costume designer and choreographer.  

Sara is a junior at IU studying Economics. She loves reading and working with people. Sara became connected to I AM YOU when she responded to an interview process in search of new directors.

Jamie is a junior at IU studying Elementary and Special Education.  She loves to stay involved in campus activities including Best Buddies, where she serves as the Philanthrophy Chair, and the Alpha Gamma Delta sorority.

Giving Matters:  Community Support Creates Excellence

Stone Belt Appreciates its Corporate Partners

Stone Belt’s friends in the business community impact the agency not only through their philanthropic gifts, but also by lending their voices as advocates for the accomplishments made when positive supports are provided to individuals with disabilities.  Stone Belt is pleased to recognize current sponsors (up to date at time of printing) for the 2010 event calendar: 

Bill C. Brown Associates
Bradley & Associates
Carlisle Brake & Friction
Crowders Pharmacy
Evans Scholars
First Insurance Group
Fraternal Order of Police, Bedford
Ikon Office Solutions
Indiana University Credit Union 
Internal Medicine Associates
Innovative Financial Solutions
JA Benefits
Lisa Baker, DDS
Monroe Bank
Mallor, Clendening, Grodner & Bohrer
Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity
SIHO Insurance Services
Smithville Telephone
Southern Indiana Pediatrics
United Commerce Bank
World Arts

Stone Belt’s 2010 event calendar provides a wonderful opportunity for area businesses to be connected to significant community celebrations.  Information on corporate sponsorship levels and marketing benefits can be found on Stone Belt’s website at

Your Gift to Stone Belt Touches Lives Each Day

Every gift to Stone Belt makes a huge difference.  Contributions go toward achieving excellence in client supports, innovation in staff training and development, and the creation of substantive programs that impact thousands of lives.  Our community is stronger when every individual experiences success.  Visionary donors help empower people with disabilities to form meaningful relationships, live independently, experience professional employment, contribute to the building of community, and develop new life skills. 

As we celebrate more than fifty years in the community, Stone Belt is stronger than ever.  However, we face regular cutbacks in federal and state funding, making it more challenging to provide programs of excellence.  We rely on generous contributors and recurring gifts to ensure we will remain at the forefront of our field for the next fifty years and beyond!

We invite you to partner with Stone Belt to make our community a better place for us all.  Each dollar helps Stone Belt advance its mission to prepare and empower individuals to fully participate in the life of the community.  Gifts can be made through the mail or through our secure website.  Please share a gift with our Annual Fund today. 

The Jewel Society -- Stone Belt's Planned Gift Program

Stone Belt’s Jewel Society is an honorary society that recognizes those who have named Stone Belt as a beneficiary in their estate plans.  The Jewel Society provides visionary donors with the opportunity to create a lasting legacy in support of individuals with disabilities.  Jewel Society members are listed in Stone Belt publications, according to the wishes of the donor. 

You can join the Jewel Society through several planned giving options, including: bequests, certificates of deposit, charitable gift annuities, private retirement plans, gifts of insurance, charitable lead trusts, and charitable remainder trusts.  Stone Belt encourages donors to speak with a professional estate advisor when making decisions about planned gifts.

For more information on corporate sponsorship opportunities and on the Jewel Society, to apprise Stone Belt of your planned gift arrangements, or to ask questions about Stone Belt’s Annual Campaign, please call Amy Jackson, Community Engagement Director, at 812-332-2168 ext. 314 or email her.

State Funding:  Changes Threaten Opportunities for Paid Work

On October 1, 2009 the State of Indiana renewed its Medicaid Waiver for Developmental Disabilities.  After months of gathering input from clients, family members, providers, and other stakeholders, the new waiver reflects some positive changes.

New services have been added, including In Home Electronic Supports and Workplace Assistance for people receiving Supported Employment.  In addition, documentation standards for Day Services have been revised, which may provide some relief from current over-burdensome requirements.  

However, two of the areas of critical concern in the waiver renewal are changes regarding Supported Employment Follow-Along (SEFA) and Pre-Vocational Services (paid facility based work programs). Both of these services will now have time limits that will go into effect upon the date of the individual’s annual plan renewal.  For Pre-Vocational services the time limit will be 12 months, and for SEFA the time limit will be 18 months.  After the time limits elapse, a client receiving these services will no longer be authorized to continue them and therefore alternative services will need to be chosen to replace them.  If these regulations remain as currently stated, clients whose services are funded by Medicaid waiver will soon not have many options available to them for work.  

Realizing the significance of these limitations, our advocacy groups, The Arc of Indiana and INARF, began immediately to address the concerns with state officials.  Upon an invitation from the state, a day services work group — headed by Stone Belt CEO Leslie Green, president of Indiana Arc Executives, and Patrick Cockrum, chair of INARF board of directors — met intensively over a four month period to provide alternatives for the State to consider.  The work of this group included engaging a national consultant to advise on preserving paid work within the waiver. An audit of other states was also conducted to see what has been acceptable to the federal government elsewhere. The final proposal was provided to representatives of Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) on January 24.  Officials at FSSA feel they have some limitations on what they can accept due to federal government requirements and funding limits; however, we are hopeful that this situation will be resolved to the benefit of the many individuals currently served by the waiver.  

The proposal represents a major change in policy, funding and structure.  The work group believes their proposal provides a person-centered approach focused on the needs of individuals, and that it eliminates any audit exceptions with the federal government while increasing administrative simplicity. In addition, the proposal maximizes federal revenue appropriately and saves over 3 percent of state Day Services dollars.
Stone Belt is evaluating actions it may be forced to take if the time limits are not eliminated from the state regulations.  It will likely cause some significant realignment of services and supports to comply with the rule to eliminate paid work opportunities (pre-vocational services) beyond the 12 month limit.  It will also cause an examination for each person receiving supported employment beyond the 18 month limit, possibly leading to the loss of that job.  Hopefully a decision will be forthcoming that will avert these objectionable actions.  As we learn more, we will make every effort to keep clients and families and the community informed of the possible resolution of these issues.  

For more information call Stone Belt CEO Leslie Green @ 812-332-2168 ext 249 or email her.

Fundraising:  Vote for Gladys & Stone Belt in Dancing With the Celebrities

Stone Belt is thrilled to have once again been selected as one of six agencies to participate in Dancing with the Celebrities – Bloomington’s local, charitable version of the hit television program, Dancing with the Stars.

Dancing on behalf of Stone Belt will be local celebrity Gladys DeVane.  Gladys is a recognizable figure in the Bloomington community.  She served for many years on the faculty of the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University, where she was beloved by students and faculty alike.  Always active as a volunteer in the community, since retiring Gladys has also become known as an acclaimed local actress and storyteller.  She regularly performs in productions of Cardinal Stage Company, a heralded professional theatre company.  She recently starred in two of their dramatic hits, “The Delaney Sisters: The First Hundred Years,” and “Inherit the Wind.”  Gladys also recently wrote, directed and performed in a presentation of women’s voices throughout history, as part of the City of Bloomington’s 2010 Women’s History Month luncheon.  Gladys is the mother of a long-time Stone Belt client.

Gladys is hard at work with her dance instructor/partner, Todd Leininger, mastering three dance performances for the big event on May 22 at the Buskirk-Chumley Theatre in Bloomington.

Now In its fourth season, Dancing with the Celebrities is organized by Arthur Murray Dance Studios in Bloomington.  The dance company originally designed the program as a way to both encourage dancing in the community and to help raise important dollars for non-profit agencies.  Not only will a celebrity be selected as the best dancer of the competition, but one of the six agencies will also win as the organization that was able to raise the most philanthropic dollars.

In 2009, during the third season of Dancing with the Celebrities (and Stone Belt’s first season as a participating agency), Stone Belt and its celebrity dancer Phil Meyer – Station Manager of WTIU – took the grand prize by raising more than $21,000 in a three month period!  All of these dollars went directly to support programs of excellence which provide opportunities for individuals with disabilities to fully participate in the life of the community.

You can cast your votes to help Gladys and Stone Belt take the grand prize for the second year in a row!  Every dollar equals a vote for Gladys.  Donations are 100% tax deductible, and can be made securely on line or through a mailed in donation.  All donations received by May 21 will count toward this fundraising effort.

Leading up to the special evening of dance, Stone Belt friends will host a series of parties throughout the community, during which their invited guests will be given a sneak peek at Gladys and her dance partner’s fancy footwork as a thank you for their contribution to Stone Belt.  In addition, Stone Belt will have special art items for sale to promote its participation in the event, and will be selling tickets to the always-sold-out show.  

For more information about how you can support Stone Belt’s participation in Dancing with the Celebrities, call Community Engagement Director Amy Jackson at 812-332-2168 ext. 314 or email her.

Cast Your Vote Today!

Contribute to Stone Belt’s Annual Campaign and cast your vote for Gladys DeVane in this year’s Dancing with the Celebrities competition.  Donations must be received by Friday, May 21 to be included in the final vote tally.

Online:  Click here to make your secure online gift.

Mail:  Complete the enclosed donation envelope.  Make checks payable to Stone Belt with DWTC clearly written in the Memo section of your check.

Education:  Milestones to be Waiver training Provider

Stone Belt is pleased to be partnering with the Arc of Indiana to provide new training opportunities to help parents, additional family members and non-paid caregivers receive much needed education for supporting children, adolescents and adults with developmental disabilities.

The Arc’s newly established Family and Caregiver Training Services Program will allow The Arc to pay the upfront costs of family and caregiver training used by parents, other family members and non-paid caregivers of recipients of the Developmental Disabilities, Autism and Support Services Medicaid waivers.  Training can be received through registered providers such as Milestones, Clinical & Health Resources, a division of Stone Belt.

How it Works

When an individual is approved to receive services from the DD, Autism or Support Services Medicaid Waiver, an Individual Support Plan (ISP) is established to outline what services will be provided under the waiver. Up to $2,000 can be allocated in the ISP for Family and Caregiver Training.

Family and Caregiver Training can provide training, education and other services in a variety of categories.  Milestones will specifically provide training opportunities in the following areas:  Community Integration; Behavioral Intervention Strategies; Stress Management; Mental Health; Parenting; Family Dynamics.

By utilizing The Arc of Indiana to receive training service, families and non-paid caregivers will have the flexibility to receive timely supports and education. In addition, there will be no out-of-pocket costs, as The Arc will pay the upfront costs and then seek Medicaid reimbursement.

Simple Enrollment Process

If an individual receives services from the Developmental Disabilities, Autism or Support Services Medicaid Waiver, it will be necessary for them to first designate a dollar amount – up to $2000 – in the Individual Support Plan (ISP) for use with the Family and Caregiver Training.  

Those interested in participating should then call the Arc of Indiana to enroll in the program.  The Arc of Indiana will set up individual accounts based on the amount allocated in the ISP, and will provide information and training over the telephone on how to utilize the program so that there will be no out-of-pocket expenses.

Milestones and the Arc of Indiana are Here to Help

Milestones is pleased to be a provider through this exciting new program, and to assist families and caregivers to receive much needed quality educational services.  

For more information on the Caregiver Training Program, please contact Milestones Director, Maureen Gahan, at 812-333-6324, ext. 284 / or Katie Russell-Sullivan at the Arc of Indiana at 317-977-2375, ext. 206 /

Make A Difference:  The Power of Words

Words have weight.
Words have power.
Words must be used with integrity.

Language is a reflection on how people see each other.  That is why the words we use to describe other people can hurt.  It’s also why responsible communicators are now choosing language which reflects the dignity of individuals with disabilities — words that put the person, rather than the disability first.

To ensure inclusion, freedom and respect for all, Stone Belt encourages everyone to embrace Person First Language.  Person First Language puts the person before the disability and describes WHAT a person has, not WHO a person is.  Old, inaccurate descriptors and the appropriate use of medical diagnoses perpetuate negative stereotypes and reinforce a significant and a powerful attitudinal barrier.  

The rationale behind person first language is that it recognizes that someone is a person, a human being or a citizen first and that the disability is a part but not all of them.  It asks for everyone to respect the disability community as, first and foremost, a community of people.  

Since the late 1980s, person first language has gained considerable acceptance among individuals with disabilities as well as professionals working with them.  Use these tips below in your everyday life to make everyone you connect with feel included in our community.

Employment:  Stone Belt Business Partners Honored at Event

For the past 15 years Stone Belt has hosted the Business Recognition Awards in March to recognize businesses for outstanding contributions in promoting employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities.  This year, for the first time, Stone Belt opened up the event to include other area service providers.  The result was a more inclusive partnership between organizations that are working towards the same goal: to increase employment opportunities in the community for individuals with disabilities.  This year’s event was officially hosted by the Diversity Works Steering Committee – a partnership between Stone Belt, Options, WorkOne and Vocational Rehabilitation.

Five Stone Belt business partners were honored at the event held March 9 at KRC Catering in Bloomington.  Meet them below:

Jeff Stillions (L) and Bobby Wall (R) are an integral part of the Babb’s team.  They excel at their jobs with the natural supports provided by supervisors like Gary Dickey (middle).

Retail Manager Nick Mitchell (L) and Assistant Manager Dora Pacific (R) represent the true ideals of diversifying their workforce.  They are joined by employees Lyle Freeman & Kathy Chadwick.

Andy Stancombe, Director of Environmental & Nutrition Services (third from L) & Pam Hoffman, Director of Human Resources have created an environment that allows diversity to shine with employees like (L to R) Phillip Wedell, Jeremy Kegebein, Matt Gann and Joel Donaldson.

Bill Georges (center back) and the rest of the Management Team excel at seeing the abilities of employees.  He is joined by (L to R) Nathan Buffie, Marie Brand and Rhonda Duzan.

James O’Donnell, Labor Coordinator (R) empowers his employees to achieve their professional goals.  He is joined by team members (L to R) Brad Gifford, Tom Brantley and Angela Otting.