vody/> RCM - Revitalizing Community Membership: Empowering Independence: RCM of Washington January 2020 Newsletter

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

RCM of Washington January 2020 Newsletter

See what RCM has been up to this January! And if you'd like to join our mailing list, please send us a private message with your email address. To send your email, click HERE

Hello RCM Supporters

We hope you enjoyed a wonderful holiday break and are looking forward to everything the new decade has to offer! Here are a few updates on what's been going on at RCM and something we'd love for you to help us with. 

Action Needed!

RCM's DSPs (Sean, Jason, Jade and Donyee from left to right) testifying in support of the DSP Rate Act 

The Direct Support Professional Rate Act just passed in the Human Services and Health Committee. It's going to the council at large for a vote on Tuesday February 4th. If we hope to get this bill passed, we need your help! 
Why is the DSP Rate Act Important?

In the District of Columbia, there are approximately 4,250 passionate, committed, and qualified DSPs who support approximately 2,150 individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. There is an ever-growing problem in DSP recruitment, retention and staffing. This is in large part due to the closing gap between the DSP living wage and the DC minimum wage. While in 2013 DSP’s were paid 62.4% more than the minimum wage, in July 2019 that level was only at 3.6% and in July 2020 the differential will be 0%, providing no incentive to take up a job or continue with a job in the direct support field. We’ve already seen that providing higher wages to DSPs greatly decreases turnover rates and job vacancy levels. Montgomery County, MD implemented a 125% DSP wage enhancement in 2017, leading to a vacancy rate of only 4% in 2018, the lowest of any Maryland county where the state’s average vacancy rate is 14%. We hope to emulate that progress here in the District through the DSP Rate Act. 

The DSP Rate Act will put Direct Support Professionals at rates of 110%, 120%, and 130% of the DC minimum wage in accordance to experience and competency, greatly decreasing vacancy rates and increasing retention in the District. 

How to Help!

Contact Councilmembers, specifically Brandon Todd and the representative from your own district to show your support for the DSP Rate Act! The best way to do this is through twitter and email. 

Twitter: Follow the CM’s, post content about the DSP Rate Act, use hashtags #SupportDSPRateAct #FairShot, and tag the councilmembers (e.g. (e.g.  Preserve disability services in DC, don’t let critical work in the DD field become a minimum wage job.  #SupportDSPRateAct #FairShot @cmdgrosso). Brandon Todd's twitter is @CMBrandonTodd and the contact info for all other members can be found at dccouncil.us/councilmembers https://dccouncil.us/councilmembers/.

For examples of what to tweet and retweet check out @CoalitionDC.
Email: Address (short!) emails expressing your support for the DSP rate act to your CMs. Contact info can be found at the website above. 

Please get to contacting NOW and ask your friends to help as well! This bill could make a huge difference in the lives of DSPs, family members, and those seeking support services in the District and we need your help to make it happen!

Featured Member   
Bernard Crawford

On Monday November 18th, Bernard Crawford was sworn in by Mayor Muriel Bowser as he joined the Developmental Disability Council. He’s worked very hard as a determined and passionate self-advocate and we could not be more proud of him. RCM had a great showing at his swearing in ceremony to show our support. Their mission statement says that the Developmental Disability Council, “Seeks to strengthen the voice of people with developmental disabilities and their families in DC in support of greater independence, inclusion, empowerment and the pursuit of life as they choose.” The diverse council comprised of 15 members make a concerted effort to uphold the values of equality and equal protection for all. They serve a culturally-diverse population, focusing on culturally competent care, and address the issues of routinely underserved populations, especially those with the most severe forms of developmental disability. We’re so excited to see what Bernard and the rest of the DDC are going to accomplish!

DSP Academy Covered by the BBC

We’re very thankful to the BBC for covering RCM’s highly successful DSP academy. Check out the amazing video here

The DSP academy is a six-week vocation training program tailored to all learning styles and accommodations. Participants learn all they need to know to get a job as a Direct Support Professional, a job which is currently in very high demand! DSP’s support those with intellectual and developmental disabilities to live their best lives. This can include; supporting community inclusion, personal care, employment goals, teaching new skills, relationship building, and many more!

For more information including testimonials from previous participants and additional news coverage check out the DSP page on our website.

Book Club!

We've been having a great time at our Next Chapter Book Club last Wednesday! 
The Next Chapter Book Club brings together adolescents and adults with Down syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy and other intellectual and developmental disabilities to enjoy in the wonderful world of reading. All reading levels welcome! We meet at 5 PM on the first and third Wednesday of each month at Peet’s Coffee (1275 First St NE). Come on down for great books and great friends!

                             Help Support RCM's Polar Plunge Team!

Please consider supporting team RCM for the polar plunge on February 1st by clicking HEREWe're just over $100 away from our $500 goal and every bit helps! If you're not able to make a donation please consider sharing this information with others so we can get the word out! All proceeds go to Special Olympics DC, an amazing organization that works towards ending stigma and achieving full social inclusion for those with intellectual disabilities through sports and education.

Annual Holiday Party

On December 6th, RCM held our 21st Annual Holiday Party at Martin's Crosswinds! We'd like to thank everyone who made it out and everyone who supported RCM in 2019. Here's to another amazing year ahead!

                            Check out our website and social media pages!

                   Main Website           RCM Twitter         Facebook Page


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