In This Issue:


Letter from Our Executive Director


Important

Dates


Staff Spotlights: Jenell

Sloane


Welcome

New Staff


Congratulations, Nashe!


Golf Tournament Thank Yous


Community Updates


Legislative

Wrap Up


And More

Thank you all for your unwavering support of the Harford Center. It is hard to believe that three years ago the Harford Center was in a state of lock down where congregate care facilities were closed, people rarely left their homes, fear was over riding feeling for most families, and the future was uncertain. Three years later, we are starting to feel the joys of this Spring season. Flowers seem a little bit more colorful, the warm weather feels more comforting, and the community is more engaging. At the Harford Center, we are truly back to the way we were before the pandemic. Most participants are enjoying their communities every day, parties and group celebrations have resumed, and masks are optional. However, we continue to be cautious and not lose the lessons of the past. When staff are ill, they stay home. The culture that has existed of pushing through illness seems to be a global lesson that many of us no longer practice. We continue to sanitize and be mindful of the spread of germs. Please join us in these continued efforts by keeping your loved ones home when they are sick. Also, please know that when they are in our care, we are doing our best to mitigate the spread of germs while returning to our new “normal.”

Other challenges that we are overcoming are the increasing cost of fuel, prices in general, and the reduction in donations that many nonprofits have experienced since COVID. We are actively fundraising, writing grants, and seeking donations. If the Harford Center has a special place in your heart or the heart of someone you love, please consider a donation to us. All donations are used to benefit the participants and our mission to provide everyone with a meaningful day every day.

I wish you a beautiful Summer.

Sherry Nolte, MSW, LCSW-C

Executive Director

Jenell Kronick, Case Manager

Jenell has gone above and beyond in her role as Case Manager. She has taken the time to personally reach out to each new person's entire team to keep them informed about the supported person's goals, progress, and general well-being. Her personal attention to each person supported is so remarkable that FOUR different family members contacted us to compliment her in ONE WEK! One man's mother said that Jenell "taking the time to communicate...means the world to me." One woman's sister said, "She loves it there...our family is truly blessed." Jenell helped one individual find virtual therapy, which gave him the support he needed to attend programs and work and volunteer in the community. She has truly helped to grow our employment program. According to Program Supervisor Kelly Warnagiris, "Jenell has been so much more than a Case Manager at Highland. She is an incredible advocate, a phenomenal communicator, and an outstanding motivator who constantly pushes everyone to be better."

Sloane Young, One-to-One Direct Support Professional

Sloane supports Ryan every day. One-to-One work can be challenging, but Sloane is patient, kind, and dedicated. Ryan's progress is a testament to the quality of her support. According to Ryan's mom, he never really liked going anywhere until Sloane was his DSP. Other staff members reported challenging behavior and general unhappiness. He wouldn't ride the bus, and alternate transportation had to be arranged for him every day. Since Sloane has taken over his support, Ryan has enjoyed coming to the center. He has taken a new interest in arts and crafts, and he has begun happily riding the bus. His mother reports that he has never been happier. Gillian Miller, staff, points out that Ryan's progress is largely due to the individualized nature of Harford Center programming and Sloane's commitment to providing a personalized meaningful day every day. Ms. Miller states, "Sloane is the most patient and kind person, and a perfect fit to create a meaningful day for Ryan every day. Everyone deserves to be treated how THEY want to be treated. Sloane captures the essence of The Harford Center spirit daily."

Thank you to the sponsors, players, and volunteers who made our 3rd Annual Golf Tournament a huge success!

Nancy Brugh

Debbie Chapman

Ryan Dee and

the Dee Family

Torri Dietrich

Harford County is gearing up for a busy Summer! Here are some cool things to do when it starts getting hot! Click the links for more information.


May 30 (and every Tuesday) is Senior Day at Fiore Winery. Select wines are $2 per glass.

June 1 is open mic night at the State Theatre in Havre de Grace.

June 1 - The Pride of Baltimore will visit Havre de Grace at Hutchins Park.

June 2 - First Friday in Havre de Grace

June 2 - First Friday in Bel Air

June 3 - Wade In Festival at Anita C. Leight Estuary Center

June 3 - Summer Blues and Rock Concert at the STAR Centre of Havre de Grace

June 7 - Meet the Author - Jennifer S. Kelly at the Havre de Grace Library

June 7 and 21 - Jazz Wednesdays at Pairings Bistro

June 11 - 6th Annual Wine and Music Festival at the Harford County Equestrian Center

June 16 - Branch Out Music Festival at Falling Branch Brewery

June 17 - Car Cruise at Harford Vineyard


June 9, 10, 11, 16, 17 - Cabaret at Harford Community College

June 16, July 21, August 18 - Summer Movie Nights at Shamrock Park

Winds of Leadership (the philanthropic branch of Harford Leadership Academy) is holding a 50/50 raffle during the month of May to raise funds for its grant program. The program, which will star in 2024, will offer grants to Harford County nonprofits. Please consider supporting this worthwhile initiative (and maybe winning some money!). Tickets can be purchased using the QR code below or by clicking here. They are 3 for $5, 10 for $10, or 25 for $20. Winner will be drawn on June 1st and notified by 8:00 PM that night.

Hi everyone! Thanks for following along this legislative session. Here's where we ended up with the bills we were following:


The following bills passed:


HB9/SB19. This law will require the MD Department of Transportation to consider equity and accessibility when developing their plans and goals. This is a victory for people with disabilities because lack of access to safe and affordable transportation is one of the most significant barriers to independence and autonomy.


HB354/SB343. This law will allow Maryland to raise the age limit for setting up an ABLE account, and expand who can help an individual set up an ABLE account. ABLE accounts allow people with disabilities to save money for expenses related to their disabilities without losing access to Social Security and Medical Assistance. Raising the age limit for setting up these accounts is important because it allows people who are not disabled from birth (for example, people who become disabled due to military service, accidents, or illnesses) to participate in the program.


HB 456/SB940. This law will require the state Board of Pharmacies to provide alternate prescription labels or clear explanations to people who are blind, have low sight, or are otherwise impaired or prevented from reading the standard labels on prescription drugs.


HB726/SB231.This law will allow children in military families who are on the autism waiver to remain on the registry while the family is out of state for military service. This is a victory because children with autism will no longer have to "go to the end of the line" in waiting for services every time their parent is required to move for military service.


HB870. This law will require DORS (Division of Rehabilitation Services) and DDA (Developmental Disabilities Administration) to develop a "memorandum of understanding," in order to safely and efficiently share data regarding individuals who are served by both, including medical and psychiatric records, in order to expedite the DORS eligibility process.


HB1149/SB622. This law will require that all Medicaid waiver services are included in the Waitlist Reduction Act, which set aside $30 million to be used to reduce waitlists ($10 million will be for the Autism Waiver specifically).The hope is that this will move things along more quickly for the thousands of people waiting for services.


The following bills did not pass:


HB41. This bill would have allowed for curbside voting for wheelchair users and other people with mobility challenges. Many polling locations do not have ramps, which creates a significant barrier to voting for people with disabilities. This bill was an attempt to remove those barriers until accessibility is more widely addressed.


HB95. This bill was another attempt to make voting easier for people with disabilities. It required voting judges to provide clear signage and provide assistance to elderly and disabled voters who need it.


HB294/SB926.This bill would have shifted the burden of proof in special education due process hearings to the school. Currently, if a parent asks for a due process hearing because they believe their child did not receive a "free, appropriate education," the family must prove that the requirements were not met. The bill would have required schools to prove that they did meet the requirements.


HB621. This bill would have require DORS (Division of Rehabilitation Services) to post their number of open cases on their website, and update the information monthly. This bill was read by the Ways and Means Committee, but did not progress.


HB657. This bill would have required the Health Department to provide Medical Assistance for people in the Employed Individuals with Disabilities Program. This bill had a first reading in the Health and Government Operations Committee, but did not progress.


HB1176. This bill would have required counties to set up voluntary registries for people with disabilities (and other behaviors, mental health diagnoses, etc.) so that the information could be provided to first responders prior to their arrival at the home of someone who may be in crisis. Supporters of this bill argued that if first responders had this information in advance, they would be better able and more likely to de-escalate volatile situations. Detractors worried about the ramifications of a government held list of people with disabilities and mental illnesses.


Thank you all for following along. Reminder: you can find any bill, read a summary or the full text, track its progress, see its sponsors, and check the sponsor's funding sources on legiscan.com. You can find your representative's contact information on this website.

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