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March 2022

clipart images of people with disabilities in celebration

Promoting and Encouraging Independence for All People with Disabilities

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version of this newsletter.

Feathers and Fedoras Highlights video
virtual peer group events
group of peers


Peer Group events are being held both

in-person and virtually. A complete list of all peer group events can be found at www.dnmm.org/virtualpeer.

Click here to view the peer group event calendar.


Thank You To All Who Supported Us!

four people in roaring 20s attire in front of red carpet logo board

Disability Network of Mid-Michigan recently hosted its annual fundraiser, Feathers and Fedoras at Horizons Conference Center in Saginaw. We are truly grateful for the support of those who attended and we were able to connect with many new faces. The challenges of 2021 led us to a virtual event, but when COVID numbers began to decline, we cautiously moved forward for this year’s event. Although attendance was down from 2020, everyone had a roaring good time! 

Classic gaming, music, and dancing consumed the evening, as we celebrated some great successes in our community with the help of our honorary chairs, Senator Ken and Veronica Horn. To add to the fun, we even added a few twists like a selfie contest, red-carpet photo booths, and 1920s era dance demonstrations.

event host ken horn shakes hands with attendee

Part of what made the evening so special is the overwhelming support received by the business community.

We’d like to acknowledge the following businesses: Event Sponsor – Dow, Entertainment Sponsors – Garber Management Group, the Saginaw Spirit, Fabiano Brothers, and WSGW 100.5FM & &790AM, Auction Sponsors – Amigo Mobility Centers, DuPont, Michigan Sugar, Wildfire Credit Union, and Table Sponsors – BHS Insurance, Blasy Electric, Bill G. Schuette For State Representative, Chalgian & Tripp Law Offices, Gambrell & Associates, Gavin & Associates, the Great Lakes Loons, Horizon Bank, McCann Property Management, Servinski Sod Service, Shaheen Development, Three Rivers Corporation, and Warner Norcross & Judd.

man and woman sitting at blackjack table

Thank you to the following businesses for their in-kind contributions: Furlo Auction Service, Art Sample, Aster Michigan, Bavarian Inn Lodge, Bieri Hearing, Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland, Bucks Run Golf Course, Creative 360, Dance By Angela, Dow Gardens, Eastman Party Store, Greater Midland Community Centers, Grove Tea Lounge, The H Hotel, Ieuter Insurance Group, Maple Grille, Downtown Midland, Midland Center for the Arts, Midland Daily News, Northwood University, Outlyr Marketing, ReCreative Elements, Robert Spears Photography, Scientific Anglers, Tullymore and St. Ives Golf Clubs, Timbers Bar & Grill, University of Michigan Athletics, and Wines For Humanity.

As we plan for our spring and summer events, Disability Network will continue navigating the ever-changing landscape in the hopes we can get back to where we were pre-pandemic. We will continue working to create accessible and inclusive communities and we thank each of you who have supported these efforts.

two women in roaring 20s attire smiling and talking

If you would like to help us realize that vision and to make an impact in the lives of people with disabilities, you can make a donation by texting “DNMM” to 56651 or by visiting www.dnmm.org/donate.


Thank you again for supporting Disability Network of Mid-Michigan. We look forward to seeing you!

highlight video of feathers and fedoras fundraiser
Bradley, a young man, wearing purple shirt and cowboy hat


Bradley began working with Nora at DNMM two years ago. Among others, Bradley's goals were to finish high school and find a job so he began working on interviewing and other job-related skills. "He wanted to find his confidence and he wanted experience," said Nora. "He had the motivation to achieve the goals he set out for himself, he just needed a few supports along the way."

"He's discovered a passion for cooking," said Nora. "Bradley has gained experience through the Arenac Skills Center's Culinary Arts program and also his school's cafeteria. He even volunteered at a local restaurant just for the hands-on experience."

Bradley recently had a job interview with Meridian Public Schools. They offered him a co-op position and after finishing high school this spring, he'll be hired to work during the summer and for next school year.

"I've really seen Bradley come into his own these past two years," said Nora. "He is confident in himself, and has even taken on leadership roles by helping other students in his class. I look forward to seeing him on the job this summer."


Working American's making $64,000 or less are leaving money on the table every year during tax season. Many are unaware that they qualify for free tax preparation through United Way's MyFreeTaxes program.

"Only four in ten surveyed were aware of the Child Tax Credit (CTC)," shared a United Way official. "Fewer than six in ten know about the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and nearly 20% were not aware of any tax credits."

MyFreeTaxes is a free, safe, and easy way for anyone earning $64,000 or less to file their state and federal taxes.

Video link on how does My Free Taxes dot com help?

Tax refunds help working Americans pay for everyday needs like food, housing and utilities along with providing a way to save for the future.


United Way also funds a tax assistance program at the Midland Community Center. They partner with AARP volunteers who provide on-site tax preparation for moderate- to low-income seniors and low-income individuals.

A free tax preparation program for local seniors and those with low to moderate-income.

  • Basic returns for seniors and those with low to moderate income.
  • Call to make an appointment. Leave your name and phone number and someone will call you back to schedule. No Walk-ins.
  • IRS trained volunteers will walk you through the process in two easy appointments


Greater Midland Community Center

(989) 832-7937 ext. 6

Click here to email GMCC for Tax Assistance

Greater Midland Coleman Family Center

(989) 465-2079

United Way of Saginaw County is once again offering free tax preparation services to individuals and families through its IRS-certified Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. Saginaw County residents can visit a VITA site to have their taxes prepared for free. Sites include Frankenmuth Credit Union (544 N. Main St., Frankenmuth) and at United Way's office (100 S. Jefferson Ave, Saginaw). The United Way of Saginaw County wants all individuals and families to move towards long term financial stability and independence. 

VITA allows Saginaw County residents to process their returns efficiently and accurately at no cost to the taxpayer. Appointments are required. Call 2-1-1- to schedule. The United Way tax program is completely free of charge and returns will be e-filed with the IRS to provide a prompt refund without any fees.

Tax preparation assistance is offered through MidMichigan Community Action Agency in Clare and Gladwin Counties. Please call the office nearest you to schedule an appointment: Farwell: 989-386-3805 or Gladwin: 989-426-2801. Click here to view MMCAA Tax Assistance website.

The United Way of Bay County Tax Assistance and Filing for Low-Income Individuals, Families, Senior-Citizens, and Persons with Disabilities through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program.  The program runs through April 15th. Call 2-1-1 to schedule an appointment.


"Embracing Life On Wheels" by Jessica Grono

March is important and exciting for those of us with cerebral palsy because it’s Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month.

Embracing Life On Wheels by Jessica Grono

In March, we can educate, volunteer, and get to know others with CP. Green is the color for cerebral palsy awareness, so you should wear green on more than St. Patrick’s Day.

For the uninitiated, let’s shed some light on cerebral palsy. It’s a condition that affects movements of the limbs and overall body. With cerebral palsy, moving can appear to be stiff, jagged, or very active and sporadic. Moving in the right way, or right direction, can be challenging and take patience.

I like to compare having cerebral palsy with faulty wiring in a computer. You might hit Enter, but the computer thinks you’re hitting the Delete key. As you can guess, this is frustrating, but people with cerebral palsy can learn to adapt and lead normal lives.

There’s no cure for cerebral palsy yet. Some of those who have it use medications to help control muscles and relax. Physical, occupational, speech and water therapy are used to gain strength, be able to stretch, and improve overall quality of life.

Click here to read the full article.

I'm More than Just a Disability - Cerebral Palsy Awareness Video


March is Women's History Month. As we celebrate this month, we wanted to highlight significant contributions by women with disabilities. The following article was written as a slideshow for www.sheknows.com by contributor Melissa Young. It has been republished here for accessibility reasons. To view the slideshow as originally presented, please click here.

Jillian Mercado a wheelchair user on the cover of teen vogue magazine

Jillian Mercado is one of the first-ever signed models with a physical disability. When she started to consider modeling as her chosen career, she tried to find other models who used wheelchairs, but had no luck. There were barely any models with physical disabilities of any kind.

About six years ago, Mercado went to an open casting call that ended up changing her life and the modeling industry. She got hired for a Diesel Jeans ad campaign and was signed by IMG Models a year later. Since then, she has appeared in Beyoncé’s merchandise campaign for her Formation tour and starred in Target commercials.

stella young a wheelchair user with red hair

Stella Young took over the media trying to normalize disability — she wrote articles, edited an online magazine, had her own comedy show and hosted Australia’s first disability culture TV show, No Limits. She even did a TEDx talk in 2014 called “I’m Not Your Inspiration, Thank You Very Much.”

With her TEDx talk, she opened up millions of people’s eyes and introduced the concept of “inspiration porn.” It’s when people see others with disabilities as “living, breathing feel-good memes” and as weird as it sounds, it’s not uncommon for someone with a disability to be told they’re an inspiration while they’re doing their daily routine.

Claudia Gordon, a black woman smiling in front of the american flag

Claudia Gordon is making changes in Washington, D.C., and is working with former President Obama to solve national disability issues. She has advocated for the deaf and disabled communities through all her work; Gordon has worked at the National Council on Disability, the National Coalition for Disability Rights and Homeland Security (where she worked on making sure the government has emergency preparedness plans in place for people with disabilities.) She currently works in the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs.

Claudia is the first black deaf lawyer in America and the first deaf student to graduate from American University’s law school.

Judy Heumann wearing red, smiling

When Judy Heumann was sent home for being a “fire hazard” in elementary school, she realized how unfair the world can be and knew she needed to make a change. She ended up becoming the first wheelchair user to teach in New York City after the board of education initially denied her license. Heumann sued for discrimination when she found out she was only denied because of doubts she could help a student in an emergency or go to the bathroom by herself — she won and went on to teach for three years.

Judy became the U.S. assistant secretary of education for special education and rehabilitative services after teaching and now works for the State Department as a special advisor for international disability rights.

Dr. Maya Angelou

Dr. Maya Angelou

You may know her name, but what you probably didn’t know is that she grew up with a disability. That’s right! Dr. Maya Angelou, the author all of your favorite poems, had a hidden disability.

When she was a child, she was abused and sexually assaulted by her mother’s boyfriend. When she told someone about it, he was convicted, released and found dead. The trauma of being raped and thinking she caused her abuser’s death after she spoke up caused her to develop selective mutism (an anxiety disorder that causes a child to barely speak in certain situations.) For Angelou, this meant being completely silent for five years.

She was one of the most influential black women in history and turned her struggles into powerful life lessons. As a woman with a disability, I can’t thank Angelou and the rest of these women enough. They have impacted the life I now have and shown us that no matter what obstacles life may throw at you, you can’t give up. These women fought for the life they wanted and won. Now, let’s all follow their example and make our mark on the world.

Here are some other interesting articles about women with disabilities who’ve made significant impacts over the years.

“10 Badass Women With Disabilities You Should Know” - by www.autostraddle.com

“Top 10 Awesome Women With Disabilities” - by www.disabilityhorizons.com

Click here to view The Women's Disability Activism Timeline.


mother and daughter going over emergency plan

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

After the devastating floods in May of 2020, many Michigan residents faced the difficult challenge of trying to put the pieces of their lives back together. Many found themselves in the position of not having a plan for dealing with such an emergency. 

DNMM 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.

Upcoming session dates and topics are:

March 16 - 1:00-2:00pm

"Advanced Care Directives"

All sessions are FREE of charge 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.

Click Here to Register
my 3 p  personal protection plan logo with green checkmark


a covid 19 home test kit

On January 14, the White House announced a new initiative to help ensure Americans have COVID-19 tests on hand in case they are needed. The website to order at-home testing kits - at no cost - is now live and accepting orders. People who do not have internet access or who need additional assistance with ordering can call 1-800-232-0233 

(TTY 1-888-720-7489) to place their orders. 

The Eldercare Locator and the Disability Information and Assistance Line (DIAL) also can assist older adults and people with disabilities with placing orders if they need additional help, connect people to accessible instructions, and help with administering the tests. Both phone lines are staffed Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Eastern). 

Older adults can call the Eldercare Locator at 800-677-1116 Monday-Friday or visit the website to chat live or browse resources.  

People with disabilities can contact DIAL by calling 888-677-1199 or by emailing DIAL@usaginganddisability.org. The DIAL information specialists are trained to work with people of various communications abilities, including spending as much time as needed to understand callers. Deaf and hard-of-hearing people can reach DIAL using the 711/Video Relay Service (VRS). To use this free service, simply dial 711 to be connected via text with a communications assistant. (For people who do not communicate through speech, sign language or VRS, email is the best option to communicate with DIAL.)


case worker talking to couple about low income subsidy

Do you need extra help paying for your Medicare Part D prescription plan?


Call us to see if you are eligible for the Low Income Subsidy for Medicare Prescription Drug coverage. We can help you with screening questions and do the application over the phone in as little as 15 minutes!

older black man using wheelchair looking concerned

Do you need help paying your Medicare premiums? Call us today to see if you qualify for the Medicare Savings Program. Our certified MMAP Specialists can assist you with checking your eligibility and doing the application over the phone.

blue marker writing the word prevention

Did you know there are many preventative health and screening services included with your Medicare coverage?


Some of the things you may be eligible for include:


  • Diabetes
  • Depression
  • Lung cancer
  • Prostate cancer

Testing and services:

  • Nutrition Therapy
  • Glaucoma
  • Mammograms
  • Tobacco use cessation counseling

These are just some of the many services you could access. Call today for more information and a full list of preventative health benefits!





DNMM is proud to be a small 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 toward making hockey games and other events fully accessible.

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

Banner above access ramp
long banner promoting independence and inclusion
Click Here For A Game Schedule


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


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.

Please click here to contact us.

Disability symbols for blind, deaf, cognitive, and physical disabilities
map of michigan with service area counties selected: alcona, arenac, bay, clare, gladwin, gratiot, iosco, isabella, midland, ogemaw, roscommon, and saginaw


800-782-4160 | www.dnmm.org

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