Newsletter | October 2023

Download a text-only version of this newsletter

Peer Group Events

Peer groups provide an organized environment for people to encourage, advocate and educate one another. Peer Group events are being held both in-person and virtually.

Peer Group Calendar

Disability Network Mid-Michigan Hosting Event Series Celebrating National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Disability Network Mid-Michigan (DNMM) is joining the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy in recognizing National Disability Employment Awareness Month, an annual awareness campaign that takes place each October. 

The purpose of National Disability Employment Awareness Month is to educate about disability employment issues and celebrate the many and varied contributions of America's workers with disabilities. This year's theme is "Advancing Access and Equity."

The history of NDEAM traces back to 1945, when it started as a week and focused only on people with physical disabilities. Later, it expanded to a full month, and its name and scope evolved to acknowledge the importance of increasing the workforce inclusion of people with all nature of disabilities.

“Our communities and economy are strengthened by the inclusion of all people, including people with disabilities,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy Taryn M. Williams. “Their contributions have historically been vital to our nation’s success and are more important today than ever. We must build an accessible, equitable economy that fully includes the talent and drive of those with disabilities.”

“A strong workforce is the sum of many parts, and disability has always been a key part of the equation,” said DNMM Executive Director Kelly PeLong. “People with disabilities make up a wonderfully multifaceted group. By recognizing the full complexion of our community, we can ensure our efforts to achieve disability inclusion are, in fact, truly inclusive.”

Employers and employees in all industries can learn more about how to participate in National Disability Employment Awareness Month and ways they can promote its messages—during October and throughout the year—by visiting

Throughout October, DNMM will be hosting a series of events that promote community awareness on disability employment issues. Details to come!

Disability Deep Dive Podcast

This October, Disability Network Mid-Michigan (DNMM) invites you to celebrate Global Diversity Awareness Month and pay tribute to the diverse minds and beliefs held by all cultures around the world. We live in a multicultural society and embracing the values of various cultures only strengthens our understanding and appreciation of the world. Open your mind to new views and ideas, appreciate cultural differences, and enjoy a fresh perspective you may have been missing. It helps you become a true citizen of the world.

Each Monday in October, DNMM will feature a podcast episode from Alice Wong’s Disability Visibility Project, along with a reading recommendation, to increase awareness of cultural issues:


October 2nd: Americans With Disabilities Act: the early years of the ADA, the influence the ADA had on Alice Wong’s life and her thoughts on the future of accessibility.


Reading: About Us, Essays from the Disability Series of the New York Times


October 9th: Intersectionality: This episode discusses what Intersectionality is and its importance. 


Reading: Crip Kinship: The Disability Justice & Art Activism of Sins Invalid by Shayda Kafai


October 16th: Disability Justice & Community Organizing: activism and disability justice discussion with guest Sarah Jama, an organizer focused on disability justice and anti-racism. 


Reading: Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha


October 23rd: Activism and the Disability Community: highlights activism in the disability community especially surrounding voting and what the disability community has done to protect Medicaid. 


Reading: Being Heumann: An Unrepentant Memoir of a Disability Rights Activist by Judith Heumann 


October 30th: Self-Advocacy: discussions from Noor Pervez and Finn Gardiner, two people identifying as self-advocates. 


Reading: Year of the Tiger: An Activist’s Life by Alice Wong 

Gratiot County Lunch & Learn 

Disability Network Mid-Michigan is hosting a lunch & learn session along with the Gratiot Area Chamber of Commerce on October 25th. It will be held at Child Advocacy, 515 North State Street in Alma. Please join us at 11:45am to sign in, grab your lunch and get seated for the program to begin at noon. We will be discussing ways to accommodate employees with disabilities, how employers can grow their workforce by hiring people with disabilities and answering questions the group might have.

Midland Community Garden

For the first year, the DNMM Peer Group chose to participate in Midland’s Community Garden. Together they planted flowers and made a watering schedule for everyone involved. Group participants loved this experience and the freedom to independently plan and participate throughout the growing season. Oftentimes, members of the group who live closer to the gardens would stop by even on days when they weren’t scheduled to water, weed and take care of the plot. 

When the flowers were grown, the Peer group picked them and delivered them to the hospital and local nursing homes for residents to enjoy. To finish the season the peer group went back to plant some fall vegetables, including carrots and lettuce. 

The group is already planning their next garden. They have decided next year to plant vegetables and work on creating recipes to cook together at the DNMM Cooking Lab.

It’s a great example of how the Peer Group provides an organized environment for people to encourage, advocate and educate one another. To learn more about Peer Group activities, visit

Parent/Caregiver Support Group

Disability Network Mid-Michigan is hosting a Parent/Caregiver Support Group for people to come together, share experiences, and learn from each other.

The group will meet:

1st Tuesday of the month from 10 – 11:30am

3rd Tuesday of the month from 5:30 – 7pm

Visit our caregiver support page or call LaraBeth for location or more information 989-835-4041.

Dyslexia Awareness Month

Dyslexia is one of the most common language-based learning disabilities. Between 5-10% of the population is estimated to have dyslexia while 70-80% of those with reading difficulties are likely to have some form of dyslexia. This month, students and educators across the nation are raising awareness about the struggles associated with dyslexia.

Here are some ways you can embrace dyslexia awareness this month:

  1. Learn to spot dyslexia signs and symptoms. Early detection is important because intervention is most effective when it happens early.
  2. Read books that talk about dyslexia. People with dyslexia can feel alone in their struggle, and seeing characters similar to themselves represented can help. And, it encourages compassion and understanding.
  3. Help someone with dyslexia be a self-advocate, which improves the likelihood of better education, employment and independent living.
  4. Share information. Research dyslexia resources and materials, and share them on social media.

Multiple $25 Gift Card Give-Aways

Each Month!

If you are an older adult or person with a disability and get an influenza vaccine or a COVID-19 vaccine or booster, you can enter to win. Contact us to learn how to enter at or (989) 835-4041, or to learn about our vaccine support services:

  • Help scheduling a vaccine
  • Transportation to a vaccine appointment
  • Access to an in-home vaccine or booster
  • Companion support during your vaccine appointment

Each year, millions of people suffer from seasonal influenza, also known as the flu. While it is a mild illness for some, for other – including older adults and those with chronic health conditions – the flu can be very serious and even life-threatening.

Flu vaccination has been shown to reduce the risk of flu illness and more serious outcomes from the flu, which is especially important for people 65 or older, who have certain medical conditions, or who live in a nursing home or other long-term care facility. Learn more at

Disability Network Mid-Michigan is a

Toys For Tots Drop-Off Location!

Disability Network Mid-Michigan will be a drop-off location for Toys For Tots donations again this year. Spread some holiday joy to the children in our community and help fill the Toys For Tots box with new, unwrapped toys. Collection begins on October 1st, and goes through mid-December in the lobby at 1705 S. Saginaw Road in Midland.

If you would like to request a toy this year, simply visit Toys For Tots and enter your state and county.

Planning for an Emergency

Are you prepared to handle an emergency situation? Do you have a plan?

Disability Network Mid-Michigan is excited to once again offer MY3P (My Personal Protection Plan) - an emergency preparedness series that will help you Make a Plan, Build a Kit, and Be Informed.

Session dates and topics are:

November 6 | 4 – 6pm

Part One: Creating My Action Plans and Support Network

November 13 | 4 – 6pm

Part Two: Creating My Go Kit and Evacuation Plan and Assistive Technology For Your Go Kit

November 20 | 4 – 6pm

Part Three: Advanced Care Directives and Personal Safety

All sessions are FREE and will be conducted virtually on Zoom. Participants will be given flash drives with all the essential resources to customize their plan. Class size is limited so register now!

Register Now

Action Begins with Awareness and Understanding

United Way of Midland County is partnering with Disability Network Mid-Michigan and Senior Services to offer a 10-Day Virtual Equity Challenge from October 16 - 27.

The community challenge will raise awareness, increase understanding, and shift perspectives about the financial, social and accessibility inequities faced by our neighbors across a variety of demographics including age, race and abilities.

Every weekday during the challenge, participants will receive an email with links for recommended articles, videos, podcasts and more. Daily topics include:

  • Who is ALICE?
  • Race Disparities
  • Employment, Health Income Constraints for Seniors
  • Intro to Albeism
  • Basic Needs Access

Discuss what you've learned with fellow community members during the Virtual Summit on Friday, October 27th from 12 – 1pm.  

Register Now

Do you need food?

Find Resources Near You

Statement of Inclusion

Inclusion is a universal human right for all people, regardless of race, age, gender, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or any other discernible quality. To be inclusive is to promote a sense of belonging, respect, and value for who you are as a person. It is about equal access and opportunities for everyone. Inclusion is an integral part of our Independent Living philosophy and of our agency's vision of accessible and inclusive communities.

DNMM offices have been, and continue to be, places of solace, understanding, and information for all. We are committed to promoting and protecting diversity and inclusion, within our offices, among our community partners, and throughout the 15 Centers for Independent Living in Michigan.

people of various ethnicities and abilities

Accessibility Statement

DNMM advocates for the removal of barriers to independence and full inclusion of people with disabilities throughout the Mid-Michigan area. DNMM pledges to ensure accessibility. Each year, DNMM conducts a review of its own architectural, environmental, attitudinal, employment, communication, transportation, and other barriers that may exist which prohibit full access to our services.

If you have any issues of concern regarding the accessibility of DNMM services and facilities, we encourage you to share that information with us.

Contact Us

Disability Network Mid-Michigan

989-835-4041 |

Facebook      Instagram      LinkedIn      YouTube