Newsletter | September 2023

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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

Over 140 Attend Community ADA Anniversary Picnic

Despite the rain, Disability Network Mid-Michigan (DNMM) welcomed a crowd of over 140 people at the community event celebrating the 33rd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The event was held July 26th at Heritage Park in Frankenmuth and featured activities, food and accessible recreation like wheelchair basketball demonstrations, hand cycling, accessible putt-putt golf and an accessible art project. Many local organizations and vendors participated with information tables detailing resources available in the region.

“When I see so many people with disabilities out here today, the word that comes to mind for me is Resilience. Educating our community about the impact of the Americans with Disabilities Act is so important, today and every day. Keep being resilient.”

 –Representative Amos O'Neal, 94th House District

“The ADA guaranteed access to transportation, communications technology, employment, government buildings, and public spaces for people with disabilities,” said Kelly PeLong, DNMM Executive Director. “It was sweeping civil rights legislation – the first of its kind in the world – that sought to make our communities accessible and inclusive to all. At DNMM, we are committed to advancing that vision and to promoting independence for all people with disabilities.”

Direct Support Professionals Week

September 10–16 is National Direct Support Professionals Recognition Week, an opportunity to thank and recognize the hardworking individuals who act as first responders for the state’s most vulnerable residents and their families.

Direct Care Workers provide much-needed personal care, training, emotional support, and respite to an estimated 100,000 Michigan individuals with intellectual and/or physical disabilities.

“The quality care provided by Direct Care workers often goes unnoticed but is literally the lifeline for so many Michiganders with disabilities,” said Todd Culver of Incompass Michigan. “We owe our Direct Care Workers a tremendous amount of gratitude for all they do for those they care for, this week and all year round.”

In an effort to address the fact that Michigan’s Direct Care Workers are severely underpaid, Governor Whitmer’s 2024 budget recommendation includes a plan for $210.1 million to increase wage support for direct care professionals serving in nursing homes and extended care facilities.

Catch the Spirit! 

Disability Network Mid-Michigan is proud to once again be a part of the return of hockey to our region as a sponsor of accessible seating at the Dow Event Center. We look forward to working with the center and the Saginaw Spirit to make hockey games and other events fully accessible.

  • Throughout the season, we'll have a resource table on the main concourse. We'd love to see you. Come on out and enjoy a game with us and “Catch the Spirit!”

Literacy Program

Disability Network Mid-Michigan and Bay Area Community Foundation have partnered together to provide an interactive reading program, the Disability Awareness Literacy Program (DALP), to foster awareness and education, and help break the stigmas about people with disabilities.

“Our goal is to start conversations about disabilities

with children at a young age,” said Kelly PeLong, Executive Director of DNMM. “We hope to get students thinking about disability as a natural part of the human condition, to teach acceptance and inclusion, and to increase thinking about diversity.”

Each child and classroom will receive a book with their choice of disability topic, a packet of activities related to the book, and a volunteer to read to the class. 

The Disability Awareness Literacy Program will distribute books at the start of the 2023-2024 school year. If you have questions about the program, or want to sign up, please email

FAA Reauthorization Act Improves Air Travel Accessibility

The U.S. House recently passed a bill to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Act (FAA), which includes the most transformative air travel accessibility reforms since the 1980’s!

This bill includes provisions that will:

  • Mandate training for airline or airport personnel who assist passengers and/or handle wheelchairs 
  • Strengthen the complaints process when airlines violate civil rights 
  • Update Department of Transportation standards for responding to complaints about lost, broken, or damaged wheelchairs 
  • Set a concrete timeline and plan to finally allow people to fly in their wheelchairs  

It now moves to the U.S. Senate, which is debating its own bill. If you haven’t already, please urge your senators to make air travel accessible!

Disability Network Mid-Michigan Staff Member Appointed to Michigan Council for Rehabilitation Services

Kelsey Hockaday, the Quality Assurance Manager at Disability Network Mid-Michigan, was appointed to the Michigan Council for Rehabilitation Services by Governor Whitmer. She will represent business, industry or labor for a term commencing July 27, 2023, and expiring December 31, 2024.

The Michigan Council for Rehabilitation Services reviews, analyzes, and advises Michigan’s rehabilitation programs and services, and advises the department director and Governor. The Council works in partnership with Michigan Rehabilitation Services and the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs’ Bureau of Services for Blind Persons.

Gift Card Give-Away! 

Multiple $25 Gift Card Give-Aways Each Month! If you are an older adult or person with a disability and get a shingles, influenza or pneumococcal 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

While most people with disabilities are not more likely to become infected with or have severe illness from COVID-19, some might be more at risk because of underlying medical conditions or group living conditions.

And people with disabilities are three times more likely to have an underlying chronic medical condition, which increases the likelihood of getting severely ill from COVID-19.

COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective at preventing severe illness, and limit the spread of the virus that causes it. Get vaccinated and stay boosted!

Make Your Voice Heard for Web and Mobile App Accessibility

The Justice Department is looking to improve web and mobile app access for people with disabilities in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, particularly at the state and local government level as many of their activities shift online.

Across the United States, people routinely rely on web and mobile apps to access a variety of vital public programs and services like employment and educational resources, voting information, health and emergency services, parking, and transit schedules. It is critical for these technologies to be accessible for people with disabilities.

“This marks the first time in the history of the Americans with Disabilities Act that the Justice Department has issued a proposed rule on website accessibility,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “This proposed rule seeks to ensure that Americans with disabilities have equal access to the websites and apps that connect them to essential services provided by state and local governments.”

“This proposed rule, which is the culmination of years of work and collaboration, is a historic moment for the Justice Department,” said Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta. “It will help enshrine the right of Americans with disabilities to access critical information needed to lead safe, productive, and prosperous lives.”

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Online Renewals Available for Disability Parking Placards

Secretary of State Joceyln Benson announced that some accessible parking placard transactions can now be done online.

  • Michigan residents with permanent disability placards can now renew them online, as well as requesting renewal by mail or in person at a Secretary of State’s office. Those with a temporary disability placard will still need to submit a new application in person, or by mail, for an extension. 
  • Anyone with a permanent or temporary placard has been lost, stolen or destroyed can now request a replacement online.
  • There are now additional online services for organizations with permanent or temporary disability placards for transportation vehicles.

“Every Michigan resident should have choices for conducting Secretary of State transactions that meet their individual needs,” Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said. “We’ll continue to ensure that government works for everyone by offering more convenient ways to do business with us.”

Michigan issued about 250,000 accessible parking placards in the past 12 months, and processes about 100,000 renewals and replacements each year that are now eligible for online completion.

For more information, or to apply for or renew a disability parking placard

September Events

Join us throughout the month of September at the following events and meet new people, be a part of the community and learn about what Disability Network Mid-Michigan offers!

Project Community Connect

Trinity Lutheran Church, Midland

September 7, 2023 10am – 2pm

International Peace Day/Peace Walk 2023

Montague Inn Bed & Breakfast, Saginaw

September 21, 2023 Expo 4pm, Speech 5pm, Walk 5:30pm

Central Michigan HIV/AIDS 5k Run/Walk

Island Park, West Pavilion, Mt. Pleasant

September 23, 2023 Registration Opens 8:30am, Race Start 9:30am

See Our Full Event List

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 |

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