Baltimore County Now
Annual Commission on Disabilities Luncheon Marks 25th Year
It was a full house at the 25th annual Baltimore County Commission on Disabilities Awards Ceremony yesterday afternoon where Executive Kevin Kamenetz helped to recognize the achievements of Baltimore County citizens with disabilities, their families, employers, advocates and organizations.
More than 300 people attended the ceremony and luncheon hosted by the Baltimore County Commission on Disabilities. The Commission provides support and advocacy for County residents with disabilities and works to assure that County programs, buildings and services are open equally to all persons, regardless of their disabilities. In addition, the Commission provides resources and referrals on obtaining services not only from the County but through programs offered by the state and federal government.
“This year’s extraordinary honorees have made a difference in so many lives, whether by providing employment and education opportunities to people with disabilities, or by serving as an example of people living with disabilities who are making outstanding contributions to our communities every single day,” said Kamenetz.
This year’s honorees include:
- Jerry Easterly, Principal of Battle Monument School, winner of the Education Advocate Award
- BCPS Special Education Specialists Sara Egorin-Hooper and Susie Swindell won the Outstanding Commitment to the Arts Award for their annual Very Special Arts Festival at Oregon Ridge Park
- Ryan Henderson, UMBC student and Freeland resident, won the Student of the Year Award
- Mr. Ryan Guimont of Kenwood High School, winner of the Teacher of the Year Award
- Valari Dorsey and Granny’s Restaurant in Owings Mills, winner of the Employer of the Year Award
- Robert Zerance, employee of Graul’s Market and Freeland resident, winner of the Employee of the Year Award
- Dianna Morgan of the Arc Baltimore, winner of the Disability Support Award
- Ed Slattery of Lutherville, winner of the Family Support Award
- Club 1111, The League for People with Disabilities, winner of the Innovative Community Program Award
- Ronald Day of the League for People with Disabilities and Towson resident, winner of the Volunteer of the Year Award
- Boy Scout Troop 730 of Towson-Parkville, winner of this year’s Special Chairperson’s Award
Opening a World of Recreation for People with Disabilities
One of the greatest joys of my job is to watch the expression on the face of a parent or grandparent of a child or young adult with disabilities when they learn about the programs offered by the Office of Therapeutic Recreation (TR).
It’s like watching a light go off or separating the clouds to reveal a bright beam of sunshine. “I didn’t know” is often what we hear.
Specifically Designed Programs
The Department of Recreation and Parks is quite proud of the services offered through our “TR” programs. Under the superb leadership and advocacy of an exceptional staff and dedicated volunteers, TR offers a wide variety of programs designed specifically for individuals with disabilities, their family members and friends.
Imagine opening up a world of adaptive sports and fitness programming as an option in the life of an individual with disabilities. There is the Therapeutic Horseback Riding Program offered as a cooperative effort between TR and the Maryland Council for Special Equestrians. Individuals with special needs can participate in “Barn Buddies,” “Meet the Horse” field trips, and two summer camps “Ride with Pride” and “Everything Horses.”
“The Sky is the Limit” community theatre in Dundalk offers people with disabilities the chance to shine on stage and behind the scenes in various productions through the year, including a summer performing arts camp.
TR options also include arts and crafts, adaptive aquatics through the League for People with Disabilities, Inc., and adaptive water-skiing in cooperation with Baltimore Adapted Recreation and Sports at Rocky Point Park in Essex.
TR operates 10 summer day camps that run for five weeks throughout the county with swimming, nature, crafts, sports, games and field trips as only a part of the fun and well supervised programs.
Social dances, social programs, sign language classes and horticultural therapy (TALMAR – Therapeutic Alternatives of Maryland) are a part of the vast, impressive and valued services offered through TR.
Details of the TR program are readily available through the office of Therapeutic Recreation by simply calling for your copy the bi-annual newsletter “Leisure Resources” (PDF) at 410-887-5370 (410-887-5319 TTY/Deaf).
Please help us deliver the message of this service by shouting from the rooftops; TR’s a true point of pride in that Baltimore County crown; don’t let it be a secret…let this hidden jewel shine!
Lynn McCamie, Baltimore County Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program Manager
Choosing a nursing home or assisting living facility for our parents can be a daunting task. The Department of Aging Long-Term Care Ombudsman office offers the following tips:
· Tour several facilities, visiting each one twice. First, schedule a formal tour; then make an unannounced visit at a different day and time. If possible, visit during evening and/or weekend hours.
· Observe the entire facility carefully, using your senses – sight, sound, touch and smell.
· Keep a notebook of your observations and contact people.
· Review the state survey reports. These are inspection reports made by the Office of Health Care Quality, the State licensing agency. Facilities are required to post or have available the most recent survey report. If you do not see the survey, ask someone to get it for you. Note any deficiencies found in the long-term care facility and what they may mean for you or your loved one.
· Use the Internet to compare facilities. Medicare’s website offers a comparison for nursing homes throughout the United States at www.medicare.gov/NHCompare. To compare assisted living facilities in Maryland, visit http://mhcc.maryland.gov/consumerinfo/longtermcare/assistedliving.aspx /.
· If possible, eat a meal prepared by the facility. Notice the appearance and presentation of the food. Does the food smell good and taste satisfying? Are alternatives offered? Meals for special diets? Is a current menu posted throughout the facility? Observe the dining room. Are most of the residents eating there, rather than in their rooms? Are residents who need assistance with eating receiving that help?
· Read the activities calendar, which should be posted throughout the facility. Do the activities listed actually occur? Do the scheduled activities seem appropriate and varied? Do the residents seem to be enjoying the activities?
· Inquire whether there is a special unit or wing for dementia or Alzheimer’s residents. If so, tour the unit. Notice what safety precautions and activities are in place.
· Contact your local Ombudsman’s office for more details or questions call 410-887-2880 or email Ombudsman@baltimorecountymd.gov.