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September 2022

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Creating Accessible and

Inclusive Communities

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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.


young child with disability awareness book

A new partnership between Dow, Disability Network of Mid-Michigan (DNMM) and the Saginaw ISD seeks to promote disability awareness by providing books to elementary students.


Through an interactive reading program, the Disability Awareness Literacy Program (DALP) intends to foster awareness and education, helping 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.”

The Saginaw ISD was selected as the first partner for this initiative because its Special Education Department provides academic and functional achievement programming for more than 5,500 students with exceptionalities. Other school districts in the region will later have the opportunity to participate. 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. Dow will also donate books to the school library so students can continue to explore these critical topics on their own.


“We are excited to be a part of this collaboration,” said Bart Maxon, Senior Scientist for Dow’s Home & Personal Care business and North American Disability Employee Network (DEN) Leader. DEN is one of ten employee resource groups (ERG) at the company. “The goal is to distribute books throughout the Great Lakes Bay Region that depict people with disabilities in a positive light so children with disabilities can see themselves represented and that children without disabilities see disabilities as part of their normal world.”


The literacy program is funded through Dow’s ALL IN ERG Fund, which aims to help Dow become the most inclusive materials science company in the world by harnessing the passion and expertise of our ERGs. Through this Fund, ERG participants are encouraged to apply for funding to support external partnerships with organizations that help build more inclusive communities where Dow people live and work. Since the ALL IN ERG Fund launched in 2019, it has supported 37 projects in 20 different countries totaling $800K in investments.


The Disability Awareness Literacy Program will distribute books at the start of the 2022-2023 school year. If you have questions about the program, or want to sign up, please email bookprogram@dnmm.org.

clip art image of several children with book bags, one child is a wheelchair user



Your Vote Matters!

DNMM is partnering with the Arnold Center, Personal Assistance Options, and Disability Rights of Michigan to bring a voter education and rights event to our area. The event is scheduled for Wednesday, September 21 from 6:00 - 8:00pm at the Blessed Sacrament Gymnasium.

Why Should You Attend?

  • Get the chance to meet local candidates
  • Learn about your rights as a voter
  • Register to vote
  • Learn how to use the Voter Assist Terminal
  • Get the chance to practice using Voter Assistant Machines

Election day is Tuesday, November 8th. Make sure your voice is heard. Make sure you know your rights.

Join Us September 21st in Midland!


support worker smiles and embraces young man with disabilities

September 11–17 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.”

“The Direct Care industry is in crisis and Michigan’s most vulnerable are the ones paying the price,” said Robert Stein of the Michigan Assisted Living Association. “We must remember just how critical the support of Direct Care Workers is to Michigan families and work with our leaders to keep them on the job.”

Michigan’s Direct Care Workers are severely underpaid, making less money than many fast-food workers, but with significantly greater responsibility.

“The stakes are high for Michigan families who rely on Direct Care support,” said Sherri Boyd of The Arc—Michigan. “Time is long overdue to actually recognize these essential support staff by properly paying them. Some progress has been made but prioritizing funding to pay for care of those in need is the way to truly honor this valuable workforce.”

thank you to our independent living assistants during national direct support workers recognition week


young girl talks with woman at an expo information table

Over the next few months, Michigan residents in nearly every county will have opportunities to get connected with community resources for childcare, education, employment, heath, housing, food, and utilities. Most Projects also offer a free brunch, hygiene products, and groceries from a food distribution truck.

Project Community Connects are sponsored by each county's Local Planning Body, formerly known as the Continuum of Care.

Each Project Community Connect shares the same motto: One Day - One Stop - One Goal - Linking Neighbors To Resources And Services In Our Community.

Here are the times and dates of September Project Community Connects in DNMM's service area:


Wednesday, September 7, 10am - 2pm

Trinity Lutheran Church, 3701 Jefferson Ave.


Wednesday, September 21, 3:00 - 6:00pm

Arenac Community Center - 583 E. Cedar St., Standish


DNMM is proud to once again 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 2022-2023 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!

Click Here For A Game Schedule


large crowd gathered outside new office space in bay city

In order to better serve the needs of mid-Michigan area residents, DNMM has recently opened offices in Alma, Bay City, Gladwin, and Saginaw.

“We are excited and eager for this new opportunity to serve our communities, said DNMM Executive Director Kelly PeLong. "The pandemic has demonstrated that the need for services is greater than ever as people with disabilities face isolation in addition to challenges finding employment and accessible, affordable housing, and accessing transportation, education, and community resources."

“As we seek to address these needs, we have increased staff in several key program areas and we have expanded our outreach efforts to more isolated communities. Opening office spaces in these cities affords us the opportunity to meet, locally and in-person, with individuals and families from Bay, Gladwin, Gratiot, and Saginaw counties, as well as the surrounding area.

The new offices are located at:

BAY - 266 Uptown, Bay City 48708

GLADWIN - 490 Industrial Dr., Gladwin 48624

GRATIOT - 525 N. State St., Suite 219, Alma 48801

SAGINAW - 1605 Concentric Blvd., Suite 1, Saginaw 48604

Please call 989-835-4041 for office hours or to schedule an appointment. We look forward to meeting you!


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


989-835-4041 | dnmm.org

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