SAVE THE DATE! Erie Gives Day is Tuesday, August 11th!
From 8am-8pm on August 11th, you can help support us by visiting www.eriegives.org, selecting Voices for Independence as your nonprofit of choice, and donating easily and securely through the website! The Erie Community Foundation and their sponsors will enhance donors’ gifts by providing a prorated match to each gift made to a nonprofit. You will receive an email receipt of your gift to retain for tax purposes, and you can also choose to donate anonymously, if desired. If you would like a reminder to donate on Erie Gives Day, simply text REMIND to 814-580-5846!
All proceeds from our fundraising efforts go toward our Home Modification Program, so that we can further assist those in our community who require assistance with obtaining a wheelchair ramp, widening doorways in their home, or making a kitchen or bathroom accessible, so that they can live more independently in our community. Thank you all for your continued support of Voices for Independence! #ErieGives2020
There are exciting new things happening at Voices for Independence for the consumers we serve! As you may or may not know, VFI is currently working towards a merger with Transitional Paths to Independent Living (TRPIL). As with any joining of two, we are taking the best of both worlds and are now sharing them agency-wide, so that we can better service our community and you!
One idea that we would like to expand upon now is the MEMBERSHIP PROGRAM for consumers.
What is the Membership Program?
The Membership Program is designed to give consumers the ability to be directly involved and take an active role in the decision making of the agency as a whole. This is done by providing consumers the opportunity to nominate, elect, or possibly even serve on the Board of Directors.
What are the other benefits?
In addition to the possibility of becoming a Board Member, consumers will receive priority access to VFI group outings. Consumers who join will also be invited to attend two annual meetings to address topics and to socialize with other members.
How do I join?
All you have to do is fill out the Membership Form below (for this year only, the $2.00 Annual Fee will be waived for 1st time members, thanks to an anonymous donor). Once your application is received, your Membership Card will be sent to you in the mail.
If you are not interested in the Membership Program at this time, please understand that all weekly activities and events that take place at VFI’s buildings are still free and open to all consumers. Thank you so much for your consideration in joining us in this exciting new opportunity. We cannot wait to see you get involved and make a difference!
● If you are a new, 1st time member, click HERE to apply.
● If you are a renewing member, paying the $2.00 annual fee, click HERE.
For over 25 years, Voices for Independence has empowered people with disabilities and promoted independent living. Today, our in-home caregivers need your support. We would like to ask you to consider donating to our COVID-19 response with a monetary donation. If you are unable to do so at this time, please remember that VFI is also accepting donations of protective masks, vinyl gloves, hand sanitizer, and other equipment to help our in-home care providers protect themselves against this pandemic. Please take a moment to read “Quiet Heroes” by our CEO, Shona Eakin, and share your support at the #GivingTuesdayNow link below.
“The nation is justifiably proud of the work of our medical professionals. Their round-the-clock efforts are saving lives in our hospitals during this unprecedented medical emergency. But there’s another group, barely noticed, that quietly works as a lifeline to those with disabilities living in our communities. They are our direct care workers.
People with disabilities represent roughly 20% of our population nationally. An ever-increasing number of them have chosen to live in their homes, as opposed to a nursing facility. This is a group that is fiercely independent, and although things like mobility issues and/or weakened immune systems may characterize their disability, they are a relatively healthy segment of our population. Staying out of institutions and living in the community is the safest way for this group to cope with the current pandemic, and direct care workers make it possible.
Every day, these dedicated attendants leave their homes and provide necessary support and companionship to those in their care. They run errands to pharmacies and supermarkets, assist with medications, aide mobility, and provide general help around the home. They provide a lifeline for those they serve and they make it possible for them to stay safe and out of institutions. With the Coronavirus, we’ve seen that life in an institution presents real risk with life-and-death repercussions.
Clearly, this work has also become riskier during this outbreak, but these dedicated caregivers are motivated more by altruism than pay. The bond with those they assist is strong, and in many cases, has lasted for years.
There is help for the helpers. Centers for independent living are located throughout the country and are tasked with the responsibility of supporting this little-known workforce.
VFI is such a center, providing this service from Pittsburgh to Erie, in western PA. Voices for Independence recruits, trains, and coordinates assignments plus scheduling for over 1,200 Pennsylvania direct care workers. They support this important work 24 hours a day, providing ongoing guidance, information, and when necessary, emergency replacements. This is not an optional assignment. Someone must show up – the term “lifeline” truly applies here. In normal times, the job of direct care workers is necessary to safeguard the lives of those who are the most vulnerable in our community. It is work that takes place well below the radar screen of 80% of the population. During these difficult days, the work is more dangerous and ever more important. We need to salute these quiet heroes and recognize their contributions to our community.”
We sincerely thank you for your continued support of Voices for Independence. To donate, click HERE.
As you may have seen, Governor Wolf has asked that anyone leaving their home is wearing a mask. Secretary of Health, Dr. Rachel Levine, stated “Wearing a mask, or even a bandana across your nose and mouth, could be an extra layer of protection.”
We all know that there is a shortage of N95 masks available, but the PA Department of Health has offered guidelines on masks, including a variety of resources to review, including 3 PDFs (Guidance on Homemade Masks, Understanding the Difference Between Homemade Masks, and Homemade Mask Factsheet).
All three PDFs (along with two DOH infographics) have been uploaded to the Google Drive folder at bottom, for easy access. The two infographics also appear at the top of this page. All original information located via https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/coronavirus/Pages/Stop-the-Spread.aspx
GOOGLE DRIVE LINK to PDFs: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1xQt80ceOdBWhOW2zw-9M-bPaFyJ_9qCa
VFI CEO Shona Eakin was recently interviewed for an article* on PennLive.com, regarding coronavirus “rationing,” and the potential effects on PA residents with disabilities. Click HERE to read the article.
*While the article cites VFI as an agency that “advocates for people with cerebral palsy,” it should be noted that VFI is indeed a full-fledged Center for Independent Living (CIL), providing advocacy and many other services to individuals with all disabilities.
Did you miss the CHC Q&A sessions here at VFI on 10/9? Are you interested in getting more information about the Community HealthChoices rollout? Visit VFI (1432 Wilkins Rd Erie, PA 16505) on Tuesday, October 22nd, from 1pm-3pm, where we will be hosting an additional education session.
This event is offered by Pennsylvania Council on Independent Living (PCIL) and approved by the Office of Long-Term Living (OLTL). Light refreshments will be provided. For more information, call Kelly Barrett at (814) 874-0064.
ATTENTION: Consumers are receiving letters in the mail from Community HealthChoices (CHC) in regard to upcoming changes associated with waiver services. Please keep an eye on your mail for these notices. On Wednesday, October 9th, VFI will be hosting 2 Q&A sessions (morning & afternoon– registration required) with the Office of Long-Term Living (OLTL). Call Tabitha at (814) 874-0064 to register for your preferred session.
August is HERE, Erie friends! Check out our HUGE Erie activities calendar for the month– including some very special events, including our annual Consumer Pig Roast (must RSVP/bring invitation to attend)! Can’t wait to see everyone this month at VFI!