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Old 03-05-2011, 08:48 AM
 
10,452 posts, read 10,224,950 times
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I just read an article that I felt I needed to share.

[quote]
Imperiled state program a lifeline for deaf and blind

Ona Stewart uses her hands to see and hear, and aides say she has a sense of touch so subtle she can read someone’s mood by the tension of their grip.

The 52-year-old, who makes pottery and weaves for a living, takes pride in her independence, and though deaf and blind, manages to live on her own in Cambridge, cook her meals, and navigate nearby streets and subways.






source

How can people seriously let a lack of money totally screw over a whole population of people? It's so unfair. If there's anyone living in the Boston, MA who can think of anything to do, such as writing a letter or going to the organization and donating money, please do. It kills me to know a bunch of people will be left unaided. A lot of deaf-blind people have significant others or relatives who can fill in the need for an SSP (interpreter-guide) but a lot of deaf-blind people don't, too! It's especially the deaf-blind people who live alone or far away from family or friends, or have emotionally absent friends and family, that really need these services to get by day-to-day. Please if there is any idea you have in mind to keep this program going, let me know!

Last edited by CaseyB; 03-06-2011 at 08:06 AM.. Reason: copyright
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Old 03-05-2011, 09:57 AM
miu
 
Location: MA/NH
16,469 posts, read 33,412,913 times
Reputation: 15197
If there is no money for this program, then I recommend forming a volunteer aides group. When there is no money available, then there are usually people willing to volunteer their time for FREE to help out those in need.

Basically, the budget cuts are cutting funding to pay for the aides that this woman needs. So people such as yourself should offer to do this sort of thing for free for just a few hours each week. It's time to stop thinking that the only solutions to these problems is throwing money at the programs.

Back in the 80's, there was a slogan to encourage everyone to help these good causes. It was something to the effect of asking everyone to donate 5%... whether it was their time or from their paycheck. And right now, most people don't think that they can spare 5% of their income to others. So why not instead give 5% of your time?

Giving money is akin to trying to solve problems without getting your own hands dirty. So roll up your sleeves and get involved with the causes you care about.

P.S. My personal cause is helping out unwanted dogs and cats in shelters.
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Old 03-05-2011, 10:37 AM
miu
 
Location: MA/NH
16,469 posts, read 33,412,913 times
Reputation: 15197
Also you could support Ona Stewart more directly by buying her pottery and weaving, and encouraging your friends to do the same. That way, she could afford to pay for her own aides.

Quote:
The 52-year-old, who makes pottery and weaves for a living, takes pride in her independence, and though deaf and blind, manages to live on her own in Cambridge, cook her meals, and navigate nearby streets and subways.
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Old 03-05-2011, 08:50 PM
 
10,452 posts, read 10,224,950 times
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Thanks for the idea. I'll look into doing that. I'm also worried about all the other deaf-blind people who are going to be left hanging cause of the program being shut down too, though. Any ideas for how to keep the program up and running?
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Old 03-05-2011, 09:01 PM
 
10,452 posts, read 10,224,950 times
Reputation: 12496
Quote:
Originally Posted by miu View Post
If there is no money for this program, then I recommend forming a volunteer aides group. When there is no money available, then there are usually people willing to volunteer their time for FREE to help out those in need.

Basically, the budget cuts are cutting funding to pay for the aides that this woman needs. So people such as yourself should offer to do this sort of thing for free for just a few hours each week. It's time to stop thinking that the only solutions to these problems is throwing money at the programs.

Back in the 80's, there was a slogan to encourage everyone to help these good causes. It was something to the effect of asking everyone to donate 5%... whether it was their time or from their paycheck. And right now, most people don't think that they can spare 5% of their income to others. So why not instead give 5% of your time?

Giving money is akin to trying to solve problems without getting your own hands dirty. So roll up your sleeves and get involved with the causes you care about.

P.S. My personal cause is helping out unwanted dogs and cats in shelters.
I hope a lot of people volunteer. Volunteering is hard because the hours are so much more limited though, cause those people have to work to live too. I really hope there's just a way to keep the program running. I plan on being an SSP in one way or another, whether it's paid or volunteer work. I'm starting my first class to become a certified sign language interpreter in 2 weeks and I'm planning on getting my braille certification soon too.

I just know how much it sucks to be deaf-blind and isolated, and how big a difference an SSP can make. I didn't have an SSP but I had friends who could help sometimes and it would have been great to have that help on a regular basis. But their help came with strings attached and the nice thing about paid SSP's is their help is with no strings attached. It got to a point where I felt like I couldn't be honest with my friends about any areas of conflict cause it meant no way to get around anymore, and then I started feeling like I'm using them.

Deaf-blind people can often rely on friends and family but it's often limited and with strings attached. SSP's really increase the quality of life for deaf-blind people. It's nice to have someone who can interpret your surroundings who isn't putting their personal spin on things as is often the case with friends and family. It's also just really nice to have people that know how to talk to you and get your attention because when you're deaf-blind, 99% of people you meet have no idea how to communicate with you and are too panicked to try to listen and understand when you give instructions. I really hope the program keeps running in one way or another.

That's great that you take in dogs. I want to take in animals but right now I live with my dad so it's not up to me. But when I was living with my ex-wife, we took in a dog. He was a great dog and I think about him a lot.
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Old 03-06-2011, 07:37 AM
miu
 
Location: MA/NH
16,469 posts, read 33,412,913 times
Reputation: 15197
How much do SSP's get paid? And currently, how much is spent in SSP aide hours per deaf-blind person? Then factor in the costs of having a program manager managing these SSP aides, plus all the other administrative costs in running that program, and that adds up to a lot of money. Sure, you say that having friends and family help a deaf-blind person comes with strings attached for their efforts, that a deaf-blind person loses their "independence" without having these SSP aides, but what about the high costs to the public who don't know these handicapped people personally. I think that in these rough economic times society can't afford to subsidize these programs. We can't just print up more money to fix this. And when the economy is bad, then their families and friends do have to step in and volunteer their services.

My only other suggestion is to have those people collecting UE benefits especially the 99ers having to donate 20 hours a week to work as aides to these programs losing their funding.

Also, until our economy turns around, count on your future SSP work to be only a volunteer effort and not for money, unless those you are helping can afford to pay you something, even if it's a barter transaction.

BTW how much do SSP workers get paid?
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Old 03-07-2011, 06:06 AM
miu
 
Location: MA/NH
16,469 posts, read 33,412,913 times
Reputation: 15197
One of the SSP aides duties is the help these 64 deaf-blind people shop for groceries. It seems to me that one solution for that is to have them use something like Stop and Shop's Pea Pod delivery service. And many other city markets offer delivery services.
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