vody/> RCM - Revitalizing Community Membership: Empowering Independence: April 2020

Friday, April 24, 2020

Vernita’s Artwork Is Just As Colorful And Vibrant As She Is!

Vernita sits at her dining room table. She is wearing a blue, teal, and white striped shirt, lots of blue beaded necklaces and she has a bright blue bow sitting on her short grey hair. In front of Vernita is a bowl of jewelry beads in a variety of colors. Vernita is smiling at the camera.

Image description: Vernita is sitting at her dining room table coloring a picture of a duck with a marker. Vernita is wearing a tie dye shirt that has a white heart and says “Virginia Beach”. She is wearing a purple bow in her shirt grey hair.

Image description: Vernita who is wearing a blue, teal and white stripped shirt, holds up a card that reads “get well soon” that she made for her friend.


Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Thank You For Your Support!

RCM is overwhelmed and so appreciative of the outpouring of support and messages of strength we have received from people all across the US following the Washington Post article. We are not alone in our struggles. We want to send gratitude and love to all our fellow providers, frontline DSP’s and nurses across the country who are working selflessly and tirelessly to provide the best care possible during these unimaginable times. ❤️ #weareessential #dspsrock #nursesrock #wearehealthcareproviders #iddvisability #whatweneed


Disability Covid-19 Healthcare Support Advocacy Hotline


RCM of Washington April 2020 Newsletter- COVID 19 Edition

See what RCM has been up to this April! 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 are all staying as safe and healthy as possible during these difficult times. We'd like to share with you some of the things our essential workers have been up to these past few weeks, and offer some helpful resources and advice. 

Supporting Folks during the Corona Virus- Stay Inside! 

Staying inside is not so bad – right? Our DSPs at RCM have been planning daily activities to keep people inside and safe. What are you doing inside? Take a picture of yourself and send it to us!  

Indoor bowling anyone?

Let's Get Crafty!

Let’s Hear it for our DSPs!

A special and heartfelt thank you to all of our DSPs and those on the front lines supporting people with disabilities. We salute and appreciate you. If it were not for you, your love, care, compassion and kindness, this work would not be done. Nominate a DSP doing great things during this time for a feature in the next newsletter!

What are you doing to stay safe?

Here are some tips from RCM!

Protecting Yourself and Others from Coronavirus 
Wash your Hands

One of the easiest and most important ways to prevent the spread of coronavirus is by simply washing your hands. According to the CDC, everyone should:

 • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds – especially after being in a public place and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.

 • If you do not have access to soap and water, use a hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them until completely dry.

 • Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.

Practice Social Distance

As human beings, staying away from others is one of the hardest things that we have to do. To protect ourselves and the people we love, we must stay away. Remember, this is temporary. If we all do our part, we will be back to hugging our family and friends soon. The CDC says:

• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

• Put distance between yourself and others if COVID-19 is spreading in your community.  It is recommended to keep about 6 feet between you and other people.  

•This is especially important for people at higher risk of getting very sick.
 •Do your part to keep yourself and others safe!

What does 6 feet look like?

Let's Keep Everyone Safe!

• If you are sick, stay home. Leave the house only to get medical care (if you are sick).

• Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. Use a tissue and throw it away immediately or cough or sneeze into the inside of your elbow.

• Throw used tissues in the trash

• After you cough and/or sneeze, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

• Wear a facemask anytime you are in a public space, including grocery stores, public transportation, pharmacies and ride-share vehicles.

• If you are taking care of someone who is sick, wear a mask when you are in the same space as the person.

• Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces - including tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.

• If surfaces are dirty, clean them: Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.

Quarantine – It is not a bad thing!

Quarantine means staying away from people if you are sick or if someone you know is sick. It is to protect yourself and others from getting sick. Remember, quarantine is temporary. Right now, the quarantine period is 14 days or two weeks. If you or someone you know is sick, it is important to stay away.

RCM Featured in the Washington Post and DSP Appreciation

Quotes from Danielle Darby, RCM's Chief Operating Officer, and stories from RCM employees were featured in a recent article in the Washington Post highlighting the struggles Direct Support workers have been facing during the COVID-19 outbreak. Read it 
here: A health care worker chose to quarantine with a disabled man who has covid-19. For that, he gets $4 more an hour and has to reuse masks and gowns.

On the RCM Facebook page, we having been sharing all the exceptional things our frontline workers have been doing in the midst of this pandemic. This article articulates perhaps the greatest sense of duty our DSP’s are facing, ensuring that some of our most vulnerable community members are receiving the supports they need despite personal risk. These DSP’s are undervalued, underpaid and not bound by a license. They are choosing to show up. People with disabilities and the people who support them need to be prioritized. We are so proud of all our frontline workers, both DSP’s and nurses, for their strength and commitment to the people they support. We will get through this together ❤️

Additional Resources:

DD Council COVID-19 Resource Page 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 

•  IRS – Economic Payments

Thank you so much for reading this month's newsletter!

If you have any suggestions or ideas for what to include in future emails please email RCM's social media/marketing coordinator Megan Spinella at mds282@georgetown.edu.

                                   Check out our website and social media pages!

            Main Website                      RCM Twitter                      Facebook Page

                       Copyright © 2019, RCM of Washington, All rights reserved.


Monday, April 20, 2020

Imagine If No One Could Explain To You Why The Pandemic Has Changed Your Life

At the end of her first day in online school, Sophie texted me from the living room:

I am sorry

? I replied.

How stupid I am

Followed a few seconds later by

About school

Damn, I thought. It had seemed like my younger daughter had nailed quarantine life better than anyone. But as my little family closed in on our third week of forced togetherness, Sophie was falling apart.

At almost 17, you’d think Sophie would have realized, like many of her peers, that the expectations around schooling have relaxed significantly. But she’s not so good at social cues. Sophie has Down syndrome. In a lot of important ways she’s almost an adult — she loves to shop at PINK and has crushes on boys. She’ll be a high school senior next year. Yet in other ways she is still a little girl. She sucks her thumb, drinks from a sippy cup and still wants me to cuddle her to sleep every night.

To read more on this story, click here: Imagine If No One Could Explain To You Why The Pandemic Has Changed Your Life


Jason McGaughey, Recipient of @TheRealANCOR’s 2020 DC DSP of the Year Award!

We are so proud of Jason McGaughey, who is being recognized today as the recipient of @TheRealANCOR’s 2020 DC DSP of the Year award! Chosen from nearly 300 nominees, Jason was selected for his exemplary dedication, creativity and innovation. We cannot wait to see Jason be honored in ANCOR’s virtual awards presentation on May 6! #RecognizingExcellence


Painting Flowers!

Back at it again! How cool is this paper towel roll method?

Image description: Jerome sits at his table while staff assists him in doing a painting of flowers. They are using a cut up cardboard paper towel roll almost as a stamp. Dipping it in paint to put on the paper. Jerome made a beautiful painting of blue and yellow flowers with green leaves on black paper.


The Unseen COVID-19 Crisis in Your Hometowns

“In the capital of one of the wealthiest countries, a man taking care of one of its most vulnerable residents is counting on a can of Lysol to keep him safe.” The Washington Post recently reported on the life or death battle that frontline health care staff who support people with intellectual / developmental disabilities (such as autism and Down syndrome) are fighting in Washington, DC. However, this is a story that is repeating everywhere in the United States — including your hometown — and will not improve unless we all speak up. Direct Support Professionals (DSPs), as this largely invisible health care workforce is known, have been largely overlooked in the national discussion about the COVID-19 outbreak. And the struggle to obtain protective gear and funding for this workforce is having devastating consequences for people with intellectual / developmental disabilities (I/DD).

To read more on this story, click here: The Unseen COVID-19 Crisis in Your Hometowns


Thursday, April 16, 2020

When Will Things Get Back To Normal Is A Life Or Death Question For Disability Community

Great article about the role of Direct Support Professionals! #dspsareessential #dspsrock

Just a few months ago, pre-pandemic, the focus for many people with intellectual or developmental disabilities and their caregivers was their community and their independence. There were a lot of bright spots on the horizon: New developments, like Cornerstone Village, a first-of-its-kind residential community integrating active seniors and adults with I/DD were top of mind and the acclaimed movie, CripCamp, was gaining wide public attention.

To read more on this story, click here: When Will Things Get Back To Normal Is A Life Or Death Question For Disability Community


Donation of Masks to Revitalizing Community Membership of Washington (RCM)

From: The administrator of this blog: 

I have made, donated and delivered 50 face masks to Revitalizing Community Membership of Washington (RCM) for their staff. As you know their mission is to provide services and supports to people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities.

My brother Robert Whiteing, born with special needs was a resident of RCM and spent many years under their care. They took very good care of him. Robert loved RCM.  I wanted to find a way to help at their time of need. Hubby was a big help in making these. Please everyone be safe.

From: RCM:

It takes a Community! A big thank you to Barona Whiteing-Green for delivering a bag of masks for staff! Every little bit helps. Be safe folks and stay home if you can! Homemade masks in individual sealed plastic bags with written instructions for washing and wearing!


Direct Care Workers Struggle To Find Protective Equipment

This is a problem everywhere. Are IDD workers the forgotten healthcare worker? At RCM we have been securing PPE any way we can, thanks to those who are helping us! Our DSP's and nurses appreciate it! We are happy to accept any donations.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — For a brief, happy moment, it appeared that a distributor of masks would come through with a shipment to a northeastern Ohio agency whose workers care for people with disabilities.

“And then it was diverted to a hospital,” said Pete Moore, president and CEO of the Ohio Provider Resource Association.

“We are essential, and we are part of the health-care community, too,” he said. “But we are kind of low on the PPE totem pole.”

To read more on this story, click here: Direct Care Workers Struggle To Find Protective Equipment


Thursday, April 2, 2020


World Health Organization Release Disability Considerations During The COVID-19 Outbreak

In March 2020 the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak of a COVID-19, to be a pandemic, due to the speed and scale of transmission.

In response to the outbreak WHO and public health authorities around the world are taking action to contain the virus. For certain groups of the population, such as those with disability, the impact of COVID-19 may be more significant. To support key stakeholders, to mitigate the impact of the virus on persons with disabilities, the WHO have released a document, with the simple actions and protective measures that should be taken by each group.

Released on the 19th March, the document explains why additional considerations are needed for people with disabilities during the COVID-19 outbreak and the actions stakeholders can take to minimize the risk the virus may have for persons with disabilities.

To read more on this story, click here: World Health Organization Release Disability Considerations During The COVID-19 Outbreak


Taking Care of Your Mental Health in the Face of Uncertainty

Reach out, communicate with people, maintain a positive attitude, start a new hobby!

Human beings like certainty.  We are hard-wired to want to know what is happening when and to notice things that feel threatening to us.  When things feel uncertain or when we don’t generally feel safe, it’s normal to feel stressed.  This very reaction, while there to protect us, can cause all sorts of havoc when there is a sense of uncertainty and conflicting information around us.

A large part of anxiety comes from a sense of what we think we should be able to control, but can’t.  Right now, many of us are worried about COVID-19, known as the “Coronavirus”.  We may feel helpless about what will happen or what we can do to prevent further stress.  The uncertainty might also connect to our uncertainty about other aspects of our lives, or remind us of past times when we didn’t feel safe and the immediate future was uncertain.

To read more on this story, click here: Taking Care of Your Mental Health in the Face of Uncertainty


FREE Online Inclusive Dance Starts 10 a.m. Monday, April 6th

Join us! #inclusion #creativeaging #dance #kids #IDD #homeschooling

Regardless of how much toilet paper you may have, I'm sure you're experiencing some ups and downs as we all adapt to social distancing. For the short-term, we're keeping our friends and communities safe by staying close to home.

So here's something fun: Starting Monday at 10 am EDT, join me weekday mornings for a FREE 30-minute dance blast . We’ll be warming up our bodies with fun music and easy-to-follow dances. This class is perfect for all ages and ability levels, so put on some comfy clothes and dance like no one’s watching.

To read more on this story, click here: FREE Online Inclusive Dance Starts 10 a.m. Monday, April 6th


Things To Do During COVID-19 - For The Disability Community Or Anyone!

We are regularly updating this spreadsheet of things to do during COVID-19. Email alison.whyte@dc.gov to request additions or changes!

To see the list of things to do during COVID-19, click here: Things To Do During COVID-19 - For The Disability Community Or Anyone!


HHS Warns States Not To Put People With Disabilities At The Back Of The Line For Care

This is a real concern!

With coronavirus cases continuing to climb and hospitals facing the prospect of having to decide how to allocate limited staff and resources, the Department of Health and Human Services is reminding states and health care providers that civil rights laws still apply in a pandemic.

States are preparing for a situation when there's not enough care to go around by issuing "crisis of care" standards.

But disability groups are worried that those standards will allow rationing decisions that exclude the elderly or people with disabilities.

To read more on this story, click here: HHS Warns States Not To Put People With Disabilities At The Back Of The Line For Care


ANCOR'S Hospital Bill Becomes Law

This is such good news and will help many when they are hospitalized!
ANCOR American Network of Community Options and Resources 
Want some good news to end the week? ANCOR's "Hospital Bill" just became law!

'At a time when things feel uncertain, confusing — scary, even — it’s important to remember just what we're capable of when we all come together.'

 Shannon McCracken, ANCOR's VP of Government Relations

To read more on this story, click here: ANCOR'S Hospital Bill Becomes Law


Making Hand Sanitizer For Our DSP’s On The Front Line

We are blessed to have such dedicated employees, Rhonda, our Training Coordinator, is spending her day making hand sanitizer so that we have enough supplies. Thank you Rhonda, and the rest of the dedicated employees at RCM that keep everything moving...especially to our DSP’s on the front line! We appreciate you! #DSPHeros #dspsrock


Disability Rights Film ‘Crip Camp’ Premieres On Netflix

Here is a great movie to check out while sheltering in place! Netflix!

An award-winning documentary produced by former President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama centering on the origins of the disability rights movement is making its debut.

“Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution” chronicles how in the early 1970s a summer camp for teenagers with disabilities brought together a group of people who would be pivotal in seeking civil rights protections for themselves and others like them.

To read more on this story, click here: Disability Rights Film ‘Crip Camp’ Premieres On Netflix


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