Friday, December 30, 2011

Progress Inc.'s Top 5 Stories of 2011

2011 was a full year in the disability and senior communities. Progress Inc.'s senior care division grew by 300 percent, offering our quality, compassionate in-home care to more than 80 homes and counting. We also were able to keep serving more than 100 adults with developmental disabilities with day activities, employment and residential support. The hope is that with more support from the community and some exciting additions to our services 2012 will bring about even more great news for Progress Inc.

We shared our own stories and other stories via our blog, Pressing Forward with Progress, and our Facebook page, this year. Here are the top viewed and discussed stories of this year. Enjoy! And don't forget to like our Facebook page and check out our blog each week for news about the wonderful people we serve. Happy New Year!

#5 Women with Special Needs Honored at Miss Fabulous Pageant

Photo Credit: WKRN
We first heard of this Cookeville story from local newspaper Herald Citizen. A local teenager organized the pageant for young ladies with intellectual disabilities. Very heartwarming story.

#4 Aging Americans Can Stay Home with Aid of Villages

Photo Credit: Associated Press

Several Progress Inc. supporters found this Fox News story interesting. Villages, service-based communities for the elderly, are a gradually growing phenomenon to keep elderly citizens in their homes. Hopefully, there will be more of these opening up in coming years, considering the rapidly growing number of Americans over 65.

#3 Donna Goodaker featured in the Tennessean

Donna Goodaker, Progress Inc. executive director, shared her views in honor of International Day for Persons with Disabilities in the Tennessean earlier this month. Several readers recommended her letter to the editor on Twitter and Facebook. We were honored to share pertinent news on the disability community in Tennessee. Check out the letter at this link:

#2 Randy and Karen Ingraham's Home Makeover

Randy and Progress Inc. senior care attendant Judy.

The story of this Progress Inc. couple moved local and state agencies to donate labor and funds to renovating a Madison home. Though more work will be needed to truly transform the Ingrahams' home, the work done by the Greater Nashville Regional Council, Tennessee Housing and Development Agency and Area Air and Heating Control had a big impact in 2011 for this family.

#1 Team Progress Beats All Odds in Mayor's 5K Run/Walk

From left to right: Meika, Crystal, Mayor Karl Dean, Emily, Donna, Annelise, Anita (bottom) Paula and Brittany.

Updates on Progress Inc's employees training for the November run/walk drew much attention and support. All 10 members of the team finished the 3.1-mile run in under 50 minutes. This group of Progress Inc. runners displayed their dedication to one of Progress Inc.'s mottos -  "happy, healthy and safe" lives. Expect to see more 5K training and run participation from this crew in 2012.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

UPDATE: Progress Inc. family will have heat this Christmas

John Steele of Area Air and Heating Control working on the breaker box at the Ingrahams home.

After weeks of fighting rain and other work holdups, subcontractors have nearly completed electrical work on the home of Randy and Karen Ingraham, a Madison couple supported by Progesss Inc.

Greater Nashville Regional Council subcontractors Area Heating and Air Control have worked to upgrade the electrical and heating and air system, put in a new meter and replace the damaged fuse box that led to a fire hazard at the home. The contractors also repaired plumbing and upgraded the Ingrahams' bathroom with a new commode, flooring and vanity.


John Steele, electrician on the project, said the home was in a dangerous condition when he began work two weeks ago.
"We see a lot of home like this, and they are a danger to the families," he said.

Randy and his wife Karen both have disabilities that require they receive daily staff support from Progress Inc. in-home care workers. Senior Care Attendant Judy helped get them help from other organizations when she began working for them in September.

The Ingrahams are excited to see all the work that's going on. They have lived without a sufficient heating and air system for the last year. There is still work to be done,  for now, Randy said he will look forward to a comfortable home for Christmas.

Flooring has been donated by friends of Progress, and Progress staff will be replacing the floors that are currently damaged and inhibiting to Randy, who uses a wheelchair. Volunteers are needed to make that part of the renovation possible. The family also still needs new doors.

The hope is that the additional work can be completed through the help of other donors and those who would like to donate labor. To help or for more information, please contact Stephanie at Progress.

The Ingrahams and Progress Inc. appreciate all the support and hardwork that has been devoted to the home.

Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 12, 2011

USA Today covers "aging in place;" senior care needs continue to grow

Aging in place has become a topic that news media organizations are covering more and more. USA Today recently ran a great story looking at the significance of the elderly finding support systems and innovative ways to remain at home.

Tennessee and other states have developed programs such as CHOICES to allow more options for seniors that do not require nursing home level care. Thanks to that program, Progress Inc.'s Senior Care Program enrollment grew by 300 percent in the last year, and there are evovling plans to provide even more living and care options for the elderly soon.

Here's part of the article on how cities across America are handling the growing senior care needs. There's also a link to the USA Today article.

VERONA, N.J. – Retirement communities may have their perks, but Beryl O'Connor says it would be tough to match the birthday surprise she got in her own backyard when she turned 80 this year.

She was tending her garden when two little girls from next door — "my buddies," she calls them — brought her a strawberry shortcake. It underscored why she wants to stay put in the house that she and her husband, who died 18 years ago, purchased in the late 1970s.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Progress Inc. executive director published in The Tennessean

The Tennessean featured Progress Inc. Executive Director Donna Goodaker's letter to the editor in the Wednesday edition. The piece sheds light on the recently celebrated International Day for Persons with Disabilities. Several readers recommended the Op-ed piece on Facebook and Twitter.
On Dec. 3, more than 650 million people with disabilities were recognized on the International Day for Persons with Disabilities. This observance has taken place for nearly 20 years, and the mission of achieving equality for people with disabilities remains a message that must be elevated locally and abroad.

There are more than 610,000 adults with disabilities living in Tennessee, but approximately 7,000 adults with intellectual disabilities do not have access to services that could ensure their participation in the community because of limited state funds.

For people like Felicia, a Nashville woman with an intellectual disability and epilepsy, state and federally funded programs have allowed her to fulfill a longtime goal of becoming employed.
Read the rest of Donna's piece on the importance of providing programs to adults with developmental disabilities at the link below.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Disability Advocates pan Clooney film for using R-word

George Clooney plays a father and husband to a woman on life support in "The Descendants." (Fox Searchlight)

Pressing Forward with Progress looks at the local and national news that affects all seniors and adults with disabilities. One such national hot button issue has arose with the George Clooney drama "The Descendants." Oscar buzz surrounds the family drama about Clooney's character coping with his wife's pending death. But disability advocates are buzzing about the film's derogatory language not the actor's portrayal.

Clooney's character uses the word "retarded" in the film, and the word is used more than once throughout the whole film. Representatives with Special Olympics refer to the usage as disappointing and "gratuitous" in a Disability Scoop article published on Dec. 2.

Disability advocates have made strides in removing that word from the common American vernacular. As recently as this fall, South Carolina legislators removed the word "retarded" from its legislation concerning individuals with intellectual disabilities. Still, changing the language and viewpoints of popular media are also a significant change needed when sending messages about individuals with developmental disabilities.

Many will choose not to see the film due to the use of such language. Will the "R-word"deter you from catching "The Descendants" in theaters?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Community grants Progress Inc. couple their greatest wish

Randy Ingraham and Judy at his Madison home.

A simple wish will soon come true for Randy and Karen Ingraham.
For the last year, Randy, who has cerebral palsy, and his wife Karen, who is fundamentally bed-ridden due to having Lupus, Fibromyalgia and serious back injuries from a car crash, have had to deal with a home that has no heat, no insulation and damaged flooring that make it difficult for Randy to get around in his wheelchair. They have longed for help, but it was out of reach due to their physical and financial limitations.
The Tennessee Housing and Development Agency, Greater Nashville Regional Council and community donors have helped forever change the Ingrahams' home. THDA granted the GNRC a $6,200 Elderly Emergency Home Repair grant to help re-wire the electricity, improve plumbing and lay linoleum at the Madison home. Anonymous donors offered an additional $3,100 to help support the work that will be done by the Area Control and Heating Air. THDA gives out only $230,000 toward those sorts of repairs in 13 counties every year.

The help is more than Randy said he could ever imagine. Over the last year, the lack of heat, problems running electrical appliances and the conditions of his home had worried him.

“It’s a major fire hazard. My home could burn down at any time,” Randy Ingraham said. “The main thing I need for my home is electricity upgraded, winterizing and flooring.”
Judy, the Ingrahams' Progress Inc. DSP, started caring for the couple in September, and immediately saw the need for getting help. She scrubbed the house from top to bottom, asked for flooring from local businesses and reached out to as many people as she could.

"I wanted to get this house in shape- more than what we can do by cleaning," she said. "We didn't have the money to do the electric and the flooring."

She eventually contacted the Aging and Disability Hotline, which led to GNRC acquiring the grant and jumpstarting the renovation process. Area Control and Heating Air will begin the work next week. 

Randy and Karen still need a new dryer, additional flooring material and upgraded doors to keep in the heat. However, the help from GNRC, THDA and the community have already made their dreams come true.
A testament to the power of giving back.

Before photos of the floors and doors at the Ingrahams' home. Check back here at Pressing Forward with Progress for photos of  the "extreme" home makeover.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Goodwill Industries recognizes Progress Inc. as "Employer Partner of the Year"

David Lifsey, President and CEO of Goodwill Industries, Anita Spatz, Progress Inc. Director of Development, Crystal Martin, Progress Inc. Associate Director of Senior Services, and Arnold Roach, Goodwill Health Care Initiatives trainer. 

Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee recognized Progress Inc. Thursday as an Employer Partner of the Year at the 2011 Impact Awards Luncheon. Kudos to Progress staff who made an effort to connect with Goodwill's Career Solutions Training Center earlier this year.

Progress staff hired workers through Goodwill's Career Solutions Training Center, provided recommendations on how the training program could be improved and took part in CPR and First Aid training during the healthcare class. Progress Inc.'s Anita Spatz and Crystal Martin were instrumental in creating this partnership.

Here's what Matt Gloster, Senior Director of Career Solutions at Goodwill, had to say about Progress at the luncheon last week.

"It takes teamwork to make a partnership work...and that is what happened between our health care initiatives trainer, Arnold Roach, and the staff at Progress Inc...Arnold was contacted by the staff at Progress, who wanted to plan an interview session for our trainees. Not only did the interview session take place, but three candidates were hired...This has been a tremendous partnership."

Progress holds the Employer Partner of The Year title along with SMS Holdings this year. The Impact Awards luncheon also honored other recipients for their work to help adults with disabilities receive job opportunities and career sustaining skills.
Progress' goal daily is to bridge the gap between those with limited abilities and the realization of the best life possible. We hope we've helped Goodwill's clients accomplish that.