SUFU’s Making a Difference!
I’m glad it’s Spring.  During the Winter when it’s cold, I can feel sad.  When I feel sad sometimes, I think, “Can people with disabilities really make a difference?”  Recently, I was feeling sad and I got an email from Kasey, who is a member of the Lincoln Chapter…
Kasey didn’t like where she was living for a bunch of reasons but she wasn’t sure what to do.  She had been on the list for a different apartment, but hadn’t heard anything in months.  With the support of her friends in the Chapter, and others, Kasey realized that there were other people who had been in the same situation and had learned what changes to make, to move to a new place.  When Kasey realized she had a choice in where to live, she started filling out applications for a new apartment.  She found a new place to live in just a few weeks! 😊  Kasey told me that she is much happier now and feels great!
Then I started thinking of other ways people with disabilities, like those of us in SUFU who make a difference!

The Portland Chapter helped serve lunch at Preble Street Homeless Shelter…

The Ellsworth Chapter volunteered at the Ellsworth SPCA (animal shelter)…

The Bangor Chapter made a donation to Brewer Congregational Church, where they hold meetings, so the Church can build a new roof...

I realized that by being ourselves, living our lives, and giving back to our communities, WE DO MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
The SUFU Board Wrote a Bill!

Ever since I was a kid, one thing that has always been pretty true is: If you have a disability, transportation is probably going to be a problem.  Most people mean well but scheduled rides do get forgotten, or rides run late. Sometimes disability equipment on transportation that we use, (like straps, so wheelchairs won’t move), don’t work right, and people can get hurt.   Even scheduling rides can be hard sometimes because it can get confusing or people might not be able to understand us.

The SUFU Board heard many members share these same experiences and decided to do something about it!  Together, they wrote a bill, which is going to be heard and voted on by the Maine Legislature (they help make laws for people in Maine), sometime later this year!

The bill (which is called LD 464) creates something called an “app,” that can be put on any computer, cell phone, tablet, etc. The app would allow people with disabilities to schedule rides themselves AND to offer feedback on how the ride went, without needing to talk to anybody.

SUFU will be updating you on the progress of the bill and there will probably come a day when SUFU Members will be able to go to the legislature and talk about their experiences with transportation and how an app like his could really help you.

If you think you would like to write something about what transportation has been like for you and how this app could help in your life, please contact Monique at or (207) 956-1004 / Extension 1.  (If you would like help with the letter, please feel free to call Avery at (207) 956-1004, Extension 4).  We will also be asking chapter members to contact their local legislators to support this bill.

No matter what happens, we should all be very proud of our SUFU Board because this is the first time that SUFU has submitted a bill to the Maine Legislature and I’m sure it won’t be the last! 😊

By Sarah Trites

You are there for me.
When I am sad,
You comfort me.
When I need to laugh,
You tell me a joke.
I can tell you anything,
And I know you wouldn’t judge me.
When I need help
You are there for me. 
And that makes me feel secure.
You are my friend
When I am feeling lonely.
You are there for me,
And that makes everything all right.
Painted Pictures

Would you paint me a picture
So that I may see
All the colors of the rainbows
From sea to glimmering sea?
Would you paint me a picture
Of the world you see,
From the snow-topped mountain majesty
To the fragile pumpkin seed?
Can you paint me a picture
So that I may know
The green of the grassy plains
To the frigid white of snow?
Through your painting,
The mighty eagle soars
On his crystal wings.
And for this moment,
This brief moment,
I can see.
Get to Know the SUFU Staff...
5 Questions With... Alex Merrill

What is your job at SUFU?
I’m advisor to SUFU’s Video Chapter, based out of Portland.

What do you do?
I put on Chapter meetings and I also help create videos that can help SUFU members, and other people with disabilities.  If you join the Video Chapter, you can learn all kinds of things from acting (performing) to how to work with cameras, in filming videos, working with lights, and sound, and how to put a great video together, which is called editing.  It’s a lot of fun, too!

Why did you want to join the SUFU Staff?
I work with people with disabilities as a Community Support Provider and I also love creating videos (I also do some work at Community Television Network, Channel 5, in Portland).  Together, it seemed like a perfect fit!

What do you like most about your job?
2 things, really:  I love creating the videos and I love getting to know the people who join the Video Chapter.  Hearing people’s stories is very interesting to me.

What do you like to do for fun?
I play in 3 rock bands!

The video Chapter meets the 1st and 3rd Monday of the month, from 1:30 - 3:00 PM at Portland's Community Television Network, Channel 5 (516 Congress Street, in Portland).

Everybody is Welcome, not just people from the Portland area.  :)

If you have questions, or would like to join the Video Chapter, Email Alex at I f you don't have email, call Avery (SUFU Communications Associate) at (207) 956-1004 Ext. 4.
The cold weather this winter didn’t keep everyone indoors!

Here are some wonderful pictures of the Sports Chapter, skiing recently at Pineland Farms!
Have an Idea for Something to be in the Next Issue of
The Connector?
Contact: Avery Olmstead  SUFU Communications Associate (207) 956-1004 Ext. 4
Facebook: Avery Olmstead SUFU Maine
Speaking Up For Us of Maine