Newsletter | June 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

Vaccination Outreach Grant

Disability Network Mid-Michigan received funding from USAging’s Aging and Disability Vaccination Collaborative. This funding will allow us to conduct outreach and education to help people with disabilities and older adults get vaccinated against COVID-19 and the flu during the summer, fall and winter of 2023. Together with other Aging and Disability Vaccination Collaborative grantees, we will deliver vaccines and supportive services to more than 2 million older adults and people with disabilities. USAging’s Aging and Disability Vaccination Collaborative is funded by the U.S. Administration for Community Living. Look for more information in the coming weeks!

June is PTSD Awareness Month

There are currently about 12 million people in the United States with PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder), a psychiatric disorder that may occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event, series of events or set of circumstances. 

Even though PTSD treatments work, most people who have PTSD don't get the help they need. June is PTSD Awareness Month. Help us spread the word that effective PTSD treatments are available. Everyone with PTSD—whether they are Veterans or civilian survivors of sexual assault, serious accidents, natural disasters, or other traumatic events—needs to know that treatments really do work and can lead to a better quality of life.

During PTSD Awareness Month, and throughout the entire year, help raise awareness about the many different PTSD treatment options.

Take the Pledge

Complete 30 minutes of exercise at any time during the month of June in recognition of PTSD Awareness Month.

Register for the Virtual Walk

This 5-question self-screen can help you find out if your feelings and behaviors may be related to PTSD.

Take a PTSD self-screening
Learn More

LGBTQ+ Pride Month

June is Pride Month in the United States, a time to remember history, celebrate how far we’ve come in advancing the rights of LGBTQ+ people, but also to reinvigorate our efforts to continue the fight for equality and against discrimination and hatred. We celebrate this month because Pride promotes dignity, equal rights, and self-affirmation and helps to increase society's awareness of issues that the community may face. The disability community and the LGBTQ+ community share visions of inclusion, they are both mirrors of one another, and they are intertwined.

Societal norms pertaining to sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as norms around ability, often work to deny LGBTQ+ people and people with disabilities opportunities that others enjoy in their daily lives. People who live at the intersection of disability and LGBTQ+ face heightened discrimination and stigmatization, and it is important for those who serve, interact with, and love and care for those individuals to understand this complex dynamic.

Research shows that LGBTQ+ people are more likely than the general population to have a disability and face challenges finding employment, being bullied, having limited access to inclusive and fully accessible services and feeling invisible within both communities. 

Join Disability Network Mid-Michigan in celebrating Pride Month and advocating for the rights of the LGBTQ+ community.

Read the Full Article

Autistic Pride Day: June 18

Autistic Pride Day celebrates people with Autism Spectrum Disorder and their neurodiversity, but it’s also a day dedicated to inclusion and acknowledging the value of being different. It’s organized by people with autism, demonstrating their ability to advocate for themselves.

This day was started to celebrate Autistic ways of being and to encourage people with autism to connect with each other and embrace their identity. Much of the information we hear about Autism is based on inaccurate stereotypes, misrepresentations in the media and historically improper descriptions. It’s a day to be yourself, on your own terms, without being forced to comply with neurotypical standards; a day to counter the stigma of being Autistic and encourage each other to feel safe and to advocate for inclusion and acceptance.

Thank You Cheryl

Disability Network Mid-Michigan bids farewell to Cheryl Wade who is terming off the Board of Directors after 6 years of service. “I am truly grateful to Cheryl for her commitment to and passion for the disability movement. She has offered many wonderful ideas and insight over the years and has remained a strong advocate and representative for people who are blind,” said Kelly PeLong, Executive Director.

Disability Network Mid-Michigan Proudly Welcomes Two New Board Members

Kellie Courier

Kellie Courier has an A.A. Degree in Child Development and a B.S. Degree in Education. She is currently retired but worked for the CIL (Disability Network Mid-Michigan) in the late 90s and worked for the Bay Area Women’s Center for 16 years after that. Her positions afforded her opportunities to act as a Teacher, Leader/Role Model, Employment/Educational Advocate, and Support Staff/Life Skills advocate. She currently volunteers for the Disability Services Resource Center in Bay City and has volunteered for the Bay Area Women’s Center, the American Red Cross, and Bay County Habitat for Humanity. She was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis at the age of 10 and has learned not to be defined by what she can’t do but challenged and excited about what she can do! Her goal is to help others with disabilities find a path to healthy living and success that works for them. She enjoys spending time with friends and family, going to concerts, movies, and traveling, and especially loves spending time with my cat Joey. “Kellie has tremendous lived disability experience that will be an asset to our Board of Directors as we focus on what our future looks like,” said Kelly PeLong, Executive Director.

Katie Erikson

Katie Erikson is an Associate Director in Engineering and Process Sciences in Core R&D. In this role, she leads an organization that provides process research, process development, life cycle assessment, commercialization and scale up support for all businesses within Dow Inc. She is an effective change agent who creates a positive and inclusive environment. Katie resides in Midland with her husband, Davin, and two sons, Anders and Elias. Katie is also an active volunteer with the early childhood education community in Midland and the Midland County Inclusion Alliance. As a person with an unseen disability of Dyslexia, she is very invested in early childhood education and development. Her previous Board experience, prior to joining DNMM’s Board, was with St. John’s Episcopal Cooperative Preschool (now Learning Tree Preschool). She is an active member of several employee resource groups including Asian Diversity Network (ADN), Gays, Lesbians and Allies at Dow (GLAD), Disabilities Employee Network (DEN), and Women’s Inclusion Network (WIN). She loves to travel and explore new places. “I appreciate the willingness of people to disclose unseen disabilities as it’s a way to break down stigma and show those around us that disability is a natural part of the human condition and doesn’t have to be the barrier society often makes it,” said Kelly PeLong, Executive Director of DNMM. “I look forward to working with Katie as we focus on DNMM’s vision of accessible and inclusive communities.”

Disability Network Michigan Legislative Day

Disability Network Mid-Michigan (DNMM) staff and Peer Support mentors traveled to Lansing on 5/10/23 to take part in Disability Network Michigan Legislative Day. Representatives from 15 Michigan Centers for Independent Living (CILs) converged on the Capitol to meet with our legislators in order to share the important work we are doing for people with disabilities in our local communities. We educated them about our 5 Core Services of: Independent Living Skills Training, Peer Support, Information & Referral, Advocacy, and Community Transition while sharing stories of our direct impact on independent living opportunities for the disability community.

L to R: Chip Werner & Robert Winn – Disability Network Eastern Michigan, Kelly PeLong – Executive Director DNMM, Rep Bierlein, Sam PeLong – Community Connections Program Manager DNMM

The Americans With Disabilities Act Celebration Picnic: July 26th

Disability Network of Mid-Michigan and Personal Assistance Options invite you to join them for a community picnic celebrating the 33rd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). On this day, we’ll celebrate this important civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools and transportation – ensuring that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else.

• WHEN •

Wednesday, July 26, from 4 – 7 pm


Heritage Park, 601 Weiss Street in Frankenmuth


• WHAT •

Live Music, Food, Fun and Games, and Accessible Recreation

We'll also have partner tables for organizations throughout the area providing valuable resources and information.

While registration is not required, knowing how many people plan to attend helps in our event planning and budgeting. Please take a quick moment to let us know how many people will be attending with you by using the button below.

I'll Register!

Helen Keller DeafBlind Awareness Week: June 25 – July 1

In 1984, President Reagan issued a proclamation designating the last week of June as “Helen Keller DeafBlind Awareness Week,” in honor of leading humanitarian Helen Keller’s birthday on June 27. Being deaf and blind herself, Keller’s work made a big difference in the lives of deafblind people. 

The term “deafblindness” refers to a combination of visual and auditory impairments and is much more common than many people realize. Over 15 million people worldwide are estimated to be living with severe deafblindness. So, besides commemorating Kellen’s accomplishments, this week is a chance for us to raise awareness of the condition and make the world a more deafblind-friendly place.

Helen Keller is an example of how persistence and hard work can overcome adversity. Her accomplishments symbolize hope and courage for deafblind people. 

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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