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Volume #6

September 2012

Realizing vision and future One person at a time

Mission Statement
Life Works provides comprehensive supports for persons with developmental disabilities to live real lives in homes of their own. The primary focus of Life Works is to support all people to create full rich lives that reflect personal choice across home and community environments.

Calendar of Events
September 21st
CSLN Regional Forum 10am-3pm City of Temple Community Room 9701 Las Tunas Temple, CA 91780

December 4th
IRA Education RedRock Financial Services Life Works Office 4648 30th Street, San Diego

www.lifeworks-sls.com

Beths Bulletin
Hello Team Life Works, I was going to spend some time writing a story about what I learned this summer in Toronto, Canada. While trying to find the words to describe it I realized that it hasnt completely sunk in yet. I cant write about what I dont yet know. It will come to me. In the mean time, I did want to take a moment to ask for some help. We are constantly trying to create a better foundation for the people we support. This agency has so much capacity to do incredible work. We have been in operation for 9 years this coming January. We have seen a great many changes and have accomplished so much in that amount of time. My hope is that we can acknowledge the wonderful milestones that we have met and also take time to figure out where we are going. The future of Life Works can literally look like anything we want it to. So I am asking for help. Feedback. We are preparing to send out a survey to you asking for feedback on things like Job Knowledge, Job Satisfaction, Supervision, and Support Services. There is also going to be a place at the end of the survey to elaborate about anything you feel like we need to know. The survey is anonymous so feel free to share whatever you would like. We want to know your concerns, your ideas, your desires, your wishes, your hopes, and hopefully your compliments. We promise to take the information we receive and use it wisely and mindfully. Thank you for everything you do

Beth

On My Mind
By Kirk Hinkleman

Only 3 percent? Its a start...


What I know about myself is that I am immersed in this search for connection, a feeling of true belonging to my community and neighborhood. In my everyday work, I teach of the values of connection, community and inclusion. Yet, in my own neighborhood, it is clear that I lack these things. So I suppose this will out myself a bit, but alas, this is a place of learning and sharing. Ive begun the process of getting to know my neighbors. This is an intentional shift in my thoughts and actions. It is the foundation for a practice of neighboring I hope to live everyday, the rest of my life. In these beginning days and weeks, I am being guided by a project called the Neighbor Challenge. Valisha Reber, an assistant with the Communities First Association, is facilitating this Neighbor Challenge via the Abundant Community website, http://www.abundantcommunity.com. Valishas Neighbor Challenge provides some guidance on how to get started with meeting your neighbors, as she is posting about her progress week to week. I am following along, and encourage you to do the same. My hope is that this becomes a strategy that can help all of us here at Life Works find ourselves more connected in our own neighborhoods. As I drew the surrounding blocks in my neighborhood (as per the Week 1 instructions) realizations bounced around my brain and anxiety crept in. Upon completing the grid, with all houses represented with boxes, I wrote in the name of the houses of neighbors I know. I then identified the households and people that I actually know well. The numbers are staggering. Out of 140 houses on the grid, about 5 blocks of intertwined streets and col de sacs, I know the people who occupy 11 households. Out of these 11 households, I would say that 5 of them I know very well. The outcome of this first week of the neighbor challenge is the realization that I only know 3 percent of the people who live in my neighborhood, very well. 3

After processing this activity, I was overwhelmed with a sense of excitement. You would think I would be depressed upon the realization that I hardly know my neighbors, but really, Im excited! Ive begun a process of learning and knowing what needs to be done. I already love my neighborhood. I say it almost daily, just ask my wife! I have a real sense of where I need to go, and its next door! And then, next door to them, and then next door to them. Rather than looking at it as daunting or impossible, Im choosing to simplify it. There is no timetable. It is simply going to be small invitations, conversations and sharing of stories, one household at a time. I cant wait to meet all the people who live in my neighborhood and connect with them in such a way that it is meaningful. I look forward to meeting people who may be just as excited as I am to turn our neighborhood into a place of abundant connection. Take a look at your own neighborhood and think about how many people you know. Perhaps you can begin this Neighbor Challenge as well? So I only really know well, 3 percent of the households in my neighborhood. Small number, sure...but its a start!

The Judging Specter


By Joy Boe
This summer I was lucky enough to join Life Works in attending the Toronto Summer Institute, which is a week long conference set in Canada. People from all over the world gather to collaborate on ideas surrounding the topics of community, inclusion and disability rights. Last year I saw the tremendous impact it had on Beth and Kirk when they returned glowing from the experience, but I really did not know what to expect. What happened to me there this July was exhausting and invigorating at the same time! Upon landing I was greeted by the most welcoming bunch of people Ive ever met. Their openness and generosity was a nice surprise after a long flight. I would call this group TSI Alumni, all of which had several years of attendance under their belt and who also had arrived early to help stage the place. I was initially feeling a little nervous about meeting so many established people outside of my comfort zone, but within an hour I felt like part of the family. I had the chance to hear their stories about what lead them there in the first place, and I felt connected to the basis of all of them. We shared a sort of unexpected loyalty to this type of work, and a definite appreciation for companionship with fellow subscribers. The official conference began a couple days later, and I was thrown into the deep of it right away. Following a native smudging ceremony, we were asked to respond to some writing prompts by sharing them with a gathering of people, all strangers to me. We were asked, What are some ways your family context has shaped your life and work? Describe a defining moment that has shaped who you are now? Where are you now and what is coming up for you? I felt a great sense of dread approaching the answers that first off, I was not expecting, and secondly, was unprepared to vocalize to others who I had just met. I wasnt even sure I had ever even asked myself to explore those things before now. We only had a couple minutes to gather our thoughts before sharing and to be quite honest, I couldnt come up with an answer that was lighter and more generalized than the truth. I had to face it, and explain it, and with that, TSI was off and running. The level of intense discovery within those questions set the tone for the entire week.

As a group we developed The Learning Marketplace: a calendar of sessions comprised of a variety of modules that offered opportunities to learn about everything from ABCD (Asset Based Community Development) to meditation and storytelling. Every morning you would approach the board and decide what sessions you wanted to attend, and although the topics were presented on the spot, coincidentally I felt a common thread between the modules I chose, including Theory U with John OBrien and one called Against the Silence with Peter Gilli. By the end of it I couldnt ignore the obvious: welcoming the soul of a community, one that is diverse and open, begins with accepting and owning yourself first. Peter Gilli said the judging specter is the greatest obstacle to people being able to improvise. This voice is usually there to protect you but it usually will suppress you instead Seeing within your own self the gifts you have to offer and getting over the fear and cynicism that we all have about ourselves unleashes an emerging future of possibility that is better for everyone. As John OBrien says [it] creates a culture of actors, not bystanders. When we want community members to be actively engaged in inclusion, we must remember the key word here is active.

A sense of belonging is a new experience to me. In my personal life I have a small circle of people I call friends, and an even smaller few who I believe fundamentally understand and support me. When I was little my family was really poor and although very resourceful, I felt the separation of socio-economic status at a very young age. This bit of division has lingered within me throughout my adult life, both emotionally and mentally. It wasnt until coming to TSI that I realized I have been responsible for placing barriers upon myself, and by unknowingly being slightly removed from people, I have not helped

myself establish a safety net but have actually hindered my own ability to trust in the interconnectedness of the world around me. Its made me less active in the things that make me uniquely who I am, and less willing to share those things with others. I know that labels create a new language, but I did not practice this mindfulness in my own consciousness. TSI challenged me to investigate my past with friendly intervention. It redirected my apprehensive mind set and encouraged me to experience a world that is waiting to be born, with my unique help.

It#Is#I#Who#Must#Begin#
~#Vaclav#Havel#~#

It#is#I#who#must#begin.# Once#I#begin,#once#I#try#55# here#and#now,# right#where#I#am,# not#excusing#myself# by#saying#things# would#be#easier#elsewhere,# without#grand#speeches#and# ostentatious#gestures,# but#all#the#more#persistently# 55#to#live#in#harmony# with#the#"voice#of#Being,"#as#I# understand#it#within#myself# 55#as#soon#as#I#begin#that,# I#suddenly#discover,# to#my#surprise,#that# I#am#neither#the#only#one,# nor#the#first,# nor#the#most#important#one# to#have#set#out# upon#that#road. ## Whether#all#is#really#lost# or#not#depends#entirely#on# whether#or#not#I#am#lost.#

Does Health And Fitness Benefit You?


Majority of society's attitude towards health and fitness has changed over the past few years and we are all much more aware of the need to be positive about our health and recognize the importance of physical fitness then ever before. We are encouraged to adopt a positive attitude to our health by taking better care of both our bodies and our minds - Positive health is about maintaining a minimum level of health and fitness to keep your body looking and feeling good, but also maintaining a level of physical fitness which will enable you to manage and enjoy your daily lifestyle. Health and fitness is determined by what we eat, how we live our lives, our choice of leisure pursuits and what we do to keep ourselves physically fit. Keeping fit is about how we as individuals choose to live our lives and the levels of fitness we aspire to. We all need a certain amount of the right type of exercise to keep us healthy, regardless of our lifestyle, age or physical ability. Remaining physically fit is important for the following reasons: Maintaining a good level of physical fitness will give you a feeling of better health through increased energy and vitality, making you feel better about yourself and about your life. Being fit helps the activities in your life easier to manage; it keeps your body in shape and keeps you looking good, which in turn provides 'the feel good factor' making you work more efficiently and effectively.

Keeping fit can help improve your quality of life and help maintain a good standard of health, preventing or delaying heart related diseases. Other benefits of keeping physically fit through exercise: Exercise helps reduce stress & improves personal performance. Exercise helps you control your weight and body shape.

~ By Traci S.~ (Tracy is our resident Fitness Guru on Team Joaquin. She is a personal trainer in her spare time and has her own clothing line that you can see at www.tracisathletics.com. Thank you so much Traci for inspiring Team Joaquin towards fitness.

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! ! Individual)Retirement)Accounts) ! Life!Works!is!interested!in!improving!the!benefits!that!we!can!provide!for!our!teams.!We!have! established!a!new!IRA!(Individual!Retirement!Account)!for!all!of!you!that!are!interested!that! will!be!managed!through!Red!Rock!Financial!Services!in!Northern!California.!! IRA!stands!for!Individual!Retirement!Account,!and!it's!basically!a!savings!account!with!big!tax! breaks,!making!it!an!ideal!way!to!sock!away!cash!for!your!retirement.!A!lot!of!people! mistakenly!think!an!IRA!itself!is!an!investment!G!but!it's!just!the!basket!in!which!you!keep! stocks,!bonds,!mutual!funds!and!other!assets.!!Life!Works!is!offering!a!3%!match!for!the!monies! that!you!contribute.!!! The!IRA!through!Life!Works!will!be!available!for!any!employee!who!works!a!minimum!of!20! hours!per!week!and!who!has!been!employed!for!a!minimum!of!3!months.!! On!December!4th!we!are!going!to!have!representatives!from!Red!Rock!Financial!here!at!our!office! to!help!us!navigate!this!new!benefit.!We!are!hosting!Kathy!Carpenter!and!Diane!Knight!here! during!two!short!informational!gatherings.!Kathy!and!Diane!will!explain!the!process,!answer!any! questions!and!get!you!started!if!you!choose.!Please!come!and!join!if!you!are!at!all!interested!in! beginning!a!new!retirement!savings!plan!for!yourself.!! December)4th,)2012) 1:00)am)or)3:00)pm) 4648)30th)Street,)San)Diego,)CA)92116) !

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Team Member Highlight


Kristina Johnston
We want to take the opportunity to recognize Kristina Johnston. She has been a part of the Life Works family, off and on, for coming up on 3 years. Kristina carries herself with great energy and positivity at all times. She supports 5 different people in our Life Works family and handles all the schedules well. Not to mention that she is a MOM also! Kristina is always willing to help in a pinch, juggle her schedule on the fly and is willing to think creatively on how she can help anywhere, anytime. Thank you for being such an amazing part of our team Kristinayou rock!!

Team Joaquin
We want to recognize an incredible team for their flexibility and dedicated support. Joaquin spent a significant amount of time in the hospital recently and this team stepped up to be sure they were constantly keeping each other informed and up to date with what was needed. When Joaquin needed a team from Life Works to support the hospital staff with a procedure, they jumped right in. Thank you so much for your unsurpassed collaboration.

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I Went to Work Today


Diana Pastora Carson, M.Ed. August 29, 2012 Today I went to work. Big deal? HUGE deal. Last Friday, my brother, Joaquin, had a seizure. During the seizure, he stopped breathing. He was air lifted to the intensive care unit of one of our citys finest hospitals. He is still there. And yet, I am at work today. When Joaquin lived in an institution, whenever he had a seizure requiring hospitalization, I drove 2 hours to be with him. And I stayed with him for days on end, missing work, sending sketchy sub plans each day by email, not eating, not showering, not resting, until he was released. I could not leave his side lest his unique communications be misunderstood; lest a subtle facial movement not be recognized as a sign of pain or seizure; lest he need a familiar touch, song, or snack food to help him through yet another blood draw; lest his head should tense up above his pillow and he not be able to get it to relax; or lest his doctors should arrive and make a decision without my feedback, advocacy, or consent. You might ask, Didnt the institution send anyone to be with him? Yes. They sent a sitter. Often times, the sitter on shift did not know Joaquin well. If we were lucky, they knew enough to answer basic questions like, Does he talk? Can he walk? Most often, they didnt ask or answer many questions at all. Joaquin was just one of the many people housed in their facility. They did not know him well enough to know what to ask or to answer when doctors or nursing staff came around. And they certainly didnt know him well enough to know that certain subtle lip movements are related to his seizures; or that Joaquin relaxes when he listens to his funk music; or that stroking his eyebrows and forehead helps his head to rest fully on his pillow; or that blood draws are easier when food distractions are available to him. The sitters were simply doing their jobas sittersbecause that was their assignment that day. They didnt have a personal relationship with Joaquin. I could not trust them to advocate for Joaquin. Now Joaquin lives in the community, in his own home, with hand-picked staff who are devoted only to getting to know Joaquin and building a trusting relationship with him, and supporting his health and well-being.

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So last Friday, my brother, Joaquin, had a seizure. During the seizure, he stopped breathing. He was air lifted to the intensive care unit of one our citys finest hospitals. And I was with him during the seizure at his home. And I was able to meet him at the hospital within 45 minutes. And I was able to be with him every day during his stay. Yet I was also able to eat healthy meals and take showers and go home to rest each night, until he was released. I thought hed be released before my work week began on Monday and Id be able to go to work. But he wasnt. I dreaded the thought of having a substitute teacher for my new kindergarteners. And I dreaded the idea of not being with Joaquin as he lay in the ICU, recovering in our citys finest hospitaland with the finest support team hes ever had in his life. What? Although I was aware of it already, I suddenly remembered that my brother has the best support team hes ever had in his life. He has staff who truly know him, who understand him, love him, and who are fully capable of supporting his success and being his advocates when I cannot. Joaquin has received supported living services for nearly a year. His staff members know and understand the most intimate details of his life. Time and experience have taught them (and Joaquin) the dance of personal support. And time and experience have built a trusting relationship between them and Joaquinand me. This was the perfect time to exercise that trust. So I went to work today. And my students learned. And Team Joaquin rocked. And we all survived.

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Community Events
By Pamela Barnard
October 20, 2012- United Cerebral Palsy no Limits Walk benefitting CP http://www.ucpsd.org/uploads/media_items/no-limits-2012-flyer.original.pdf

Seal tours- handicap accessible from seaport village tickets $36. No date on a first comes first serve basis. http://www.sealtours.com/san-diego/seal-tour-reservations-and-rates.asp

Goodwill Supported Employment Program. Call for more information (619) 2252200 http://sdgoodwill.org/sejobs.html

Malashock Dance Facilities Dance with This-Ability class. Call for more information (619) 260-1622 http://www.malashockdance.org/outreach-programs/dance-with-disability

San Diego Therapeutic Recreation Services sports, recreation, leisure & outreach services for anyone with disability. Call for more information (619) 525-8247 http://www.sandiego.gov/park-and -recreation/activities/trs/

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You Are Not Alone

My name is Lamika Winfree and I know many people see me as a Coordinator for Life Works. However, before anything I am a mother of a beautiful 3-year-old little girl named Malia. Beginning on June 11, 2012, my whole world was flipped upside down. I got a phone call from the daycare informing me that Malia was shaking very badly, drooling, and was not responding. OMG! I knew my little girl was having a seizure. I rushed to the daycare to find her not responding at all. There were so many mixed emotions: Lamika get ahold of yourself, you have seen seizures before with people you work with, you help to train people on how to deal with seizures. No!!! This is different. This is my little girl! For two months, Malia continued to have seizures. The doctors told me that she would grow out of them by the age of 5 and that she was fine. They said they were Febrile Seizures and not to worry. The doctors would not give Malia any medications because they said she was too young. There were sleepless nights because I was terrified that if I went to sleep than something would happen to my baby. On August 1, 2012, Malia had another seizure that lasted 47 minutes. I rushed from work again to pick Malia up. I walked into Sharp Hospital that day, with my daughter in my arms, she was still seizing, and I begged someone to please help me. My body was numb, my heart heavy, and I was mentally and physically exhausted. I was about to give up because I felt like such a failure to my daughter because I couldnt help her. Mommy, can you make my head feel better. I couldnt do anything. I had to lean on my friends at Life Works at that time for prayer and support because I was really down. On that day, Malia was admitted to the hospital. Upon discharge, the doctors finally agreed to put her on medication. The doctor looked at me and said that he is very happy that I documented her seizures as well as I did because that helped them to be better able to treat Malia. I cried at that moment. Did the doctor really just thank me? I felt like I was the cause, but he thanked me for helping him.

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Malia has been on medication now since August 2, 2012, and she has not had one seizure. She was formally diagnosed with epilepsy. I learned a valuable lesson this summer. My first lesson was that I am human. I may work in a profession where I am helping others, but there are times when I need support too. The support from my family and friends is what helped me and continues to help me get through this time. My second lesson was not giving up. There were many times I just wanted to give up because the doctors were not listening, but there was the one person that listened. I am thankful and appreciative for that one nurse. My third lesson is the most important one you are not alone. I work with individuals on a daily basis who have seizures, disabilities, etc. People may think that working with individuals is just my job, but its not my job, its my life. As I stated in the opening sentence, many people view me as a Coordinator for Life Works, but I am a mother first. I am a mother of a 3-year-old daughter who has Epilepsy.

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