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Show Me!
 
Recently, member Lauren Harkness and I put together a presentation for a couple of virtual conferences. The first was for the ARC of Kalamazoo and the second was for Disability Advocates of Kent County’s Transition Fair.  My presentation went through a quick history of Oasis: how we are working toward independent housing and why. Lauren’s presentation was far more significant to those listening. She spoke about her own experiences – why she feels independence is important to her and how she’s gotten to the place where she is comfortable living in an apartment an hour away from family.

When I first joined Oasis my son was still in elementary school and I wasn’t completely convinced he could ever be independent enough to consider living on his own.  I wanted that for him – I wanted him to have as much free-will and choice in his life and everything involved in his future, but I wasn’t sure we’d ever really get there.  When I went with other board members for training at Center for Independent Futures in Evanston, Illinois, I was still trying to convince myself that he could do this.  He was 14, so I knew we had some time, but I really needed someone to convince me this would work.   
 
While we were in Evanston, we met some of the disabled adults in their program. They had a variety of disabilities and we met them in their apartments.  When I met a young man very much like my own son, who had worked for months to learn the bus route to get to his job in downtown Chicago, who others would have looked at and just assumed he should be in a group home – I was convinced.  He was living with a roommate and living the dream.  He was happy, he was in charge of his own life, he had friends, and he had a part-time job.  After an evening watching and learning from him and his roommates and the other two guys who lived in the apartment downstairs – I was ready to make this happen for my son.  

The most important thing about Lauren’s presentation – she was telling parents and others with disabilities that they could do this too.  They could become more independent – whatever that looks like for them.  They could expand their horizons to potentially include a job, volunteer work, college, friends, and a social life. This is what our kids need to see and hear.  This is what parents need to see and hear.  As Covid is controlled and we start to gather for spring and summer, always feel comfortable talking to our young adults who have transitioned to their own homes.  Introduce your child if they don’t know them already and let them ask questions.  It’s so much easier to believe that they can have this independence too if they can see it for themselves.  

They could expand their horizons to potentially include a job, volunteer work, college, friends, and a social life. This is what our kids need to see and hear. This is what parents need to see and hear. As COVID is controlled and we start to gather, join us and talk to our young adults who have transitioned to their own homes. Introduce your child if they don’t know them already and let them ask questions. It’s so much easier to believe that they can have this independence too if they can see it for themselves.
 
-Grace Smith, President
SAVE THE DATE - OASIS FUNDRAISER
APRIL 29th 5:00 - 8:00 pm
Come out and join in on the fun and help raise funds for Oasis!
OASIS EDUCATIONAL SERIES
Register for Educational Program
What's Going On With the Oasis Voyagers 
Who are the Oasis Voyagers?  They are our first community builder group of 9 young adults living on their own in Grand Rapids and working with Polly their community builder.  We fund half the community builder's salary with the donations we receive.  Voyagers are responsible for the remaining half. Some Voyagers participate in the Oasis Can and Bottle Returnable Drive where proceeds go toward's their individual cost for the community builder.

Last month the group resumed in-person events along with regular zoom chats.  They visited the Public Museum, and went bowling.
SAVE THE DATE TO CAMP!
DONOR RECOGNITION

 We are truly grateful for your donations and all you do to help Oasis move forward in our mission to secure a self-determined life for our disabled community members. 
Oasis Donor List
PROGRAMS IN OUR COMMUNITY
Open to ACT Students and Families

Join Artists Creating Together (ACT) in the ACT studio for their new (and free!) Lunch & Learn Series focused on Disability Education! Each session will focus on a different disability-related topic. They have invited expert guest speakers on each topic to both share their knowledge and deepen the conversation with the goal of becoming more informed about disabilities. ACT invites you to learn and grow with us as they strengthen inclusivity throughout the community! 

Please register through the link below if you are interested in attending any of the upcoming sessions, and feel free to reach out if you have any questions. 

Who is invited?
These sessions are intended for ACT volunteers, board members, students, families, and teaching artists; in addition to the staff, boards, and volunteers of other area organizations. Come ready to share your experiences, listen, ask questions, and learn together!

Where?
Every Lunch & Learn will be held at the ACT Studio:

1140 Monroe Ave NW
Suite 4101
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Free parking is available on site.

When?
Each session will be from 12:30-1:30pm on the dates below. The schedule of remaining topics and facilitators are as follows:

April Programs

April 12, 2022

Topic: Visual Impairments

Guest Facilitator: Marcus Manders, MHA. President of the Association for the Blind & Visually Impaired

April 26, 2022

Topic: Autism Spectrum Disorder

Guest Facilitator: Dr. Mira Jourdan (Krishnan), PhD, ABPP. Neuropsychologist & Autism/Neurological Differences Specialist

Link To Register for Presentations

FOR KENT COUNTY RESIDENTS:

As a thank you to Kent County for passing a millage to support the Grand Rapids Public Museum (GRPM)  the following admission and parking benefits are available to Kent County residents. A photo ID with an address will be required to take advantage of the benefits (for school groups and children: parent/guardian/teacher ID)

  • Reduced general admission for Kent County residents – $5 for adults and $3 for seniors
  • Free admission for Kent County children ages 17 and younger
  • Free parking to Kent County residents with the purchase of Museum admission
RESOURCES THAT HELP
For anyone who has a Bridge Card this is really cool. It keeps track of deposits and purchases so you know the current balance without having to make a phone call.

From their website:

What’s Providers Card?

To help you manage more of your money in one easy app, we created Providers Card, a free debit account. Providers Card is a Mastercard debit card that you can use for everyday shopping, bills, savings, online transactions, and more.

Featuring:

  • No hidden fees. No monthly, overdraft, minimum balance, open, close, or inactivity fees. Plus, access to 30,000+ free ATMs.
  • Earlier paydays. Paychecks up to 3 days early and eligible government benefits up to 5!
  • Control over spending. Instant transaction notifications and 1-tap card locking.
  • Safety and security. Virtual cards for safer online shopping, end-to-end encryption, and FDIC-insured funds.
Link to Providers App
There are many agencies and organizations that offer Michigan Bridge Card discounts. You’ll just need a valid card or award letter in order to get these deals!  Link below for an article for more details!
Bridge Card Discounts & Other Info
2022 Tax Guide from The Arc Michigan
OASIS YOUNG ADULT FAVORITE RECIPES!
Mama’s Mac and Cheese
Ingredients:

4 cups elbow noodles
16 ounces shredded cheddar cheese (or cheese of your choice, I used sharp cheese)
8 oz cream cheese (room temp)
4 Tbs butter
1 Tbs mustard
1 Tbs Worcestershire
1 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste

1. Cook noodles according to directions – I am bad at that, so I cook them until they look and feel done. Drain, and let noodles sit in the colander for a minute while you do the next step. 
2. In the same pot on medium heat, add your butter, cream cheese block, then noodles. Fold in the cheese. Add 16 ounces of cheese (mine was a block – I would highly recommend shredded cheese, as it cooks much easier) You just fold it in. 
3. Add in the milk, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce, and keep mixing until the cheese is completely melted! 
4. Salt and pepper to taste. 
5. Add in more milk if you like a runnier, creamier consistency. 
4. At this point, you can be done! But if you want it to be extra special, pour the mac and cheese into a 9x13 casserole dish, and add a layer of shredded cheddar! Bake at 375 degrees until the cheese is melted and starting to brown a little bit!! 
Are You a Member & Need Assistance?  
Oasis is proud to announce that one of our board members, Helayne Sherman, is  offering her services to help members navigate DHHS and Social Security systems.  

Finding answers can be time consuming and frustrating. Helayne has 10 years of experience working with the Social Security Administration and DHHS on behalf of several family members and friends.  Although not an attorney, she offers her experience, advice and help to Oasis members as a free service. 

Please don't hesitate to reach out -"You don't know what you don't know"     Helayne's email is: heartdoc18@gmail.com.
Want To Make A Difference?  Donate to Oasis of West Michigan!
Donate Here
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