UPARC staff and consumers ventured north to Tallahassee to join
other self advocates for Legislative Day, recognizing the needs of
individuals with developmental disabilities. Approximately 800 persons
were present making their voices heard to advise Legislators that
potential budgets cuts would not be tolerated. Governor Scott
addressed the group and they responded with chants of “No more
Cuts”. On the following day, March 24th, UPARC parent Jackie Stinson
gave testimony to the Senate Health and Human Services
Appropriations Committe as to the critical nature of the services she
receives from UPARC and the devastating impact it would have have
on her and the rest of her family if services were discontinued.
This sub-committee has the responsibility for determining the level of funding
for the Agency for Persons with Disabilies in conjunction with their
counterpart in the House of Representatives. Currently the Senate has
recommended a 5% budget reduction while the House has a zero
reduction in funding. Both of these recommendations are in stark
contrast to the Governor’s recommendation of a 17% reduction in
Below are some of the articles from the rally.
Advocates rally for awareness of developmental disabilities
Tallahassee Democrat (blog) © 03/24/2011
Mrs. Florida, Kelli Lightbourn, urged advocates to continue fighting. “Let them hear our voices,” she yelled, as the crowd cheered and chanted, “No more cuts.” Hundreds gathered for the annual Developmental Disabilities Awareness Day on Wednesday.
Reneé Valletutti: A matter of compassion (March 24)
Florida Today © 03/24/2011
As Florida looks for ways to balance the state budget while meeting the basic needs of its citizens, we must make choices that protect the quality of life for our most vulnerable populations, including those with developmental disabilities. .
Disability advocates rally against cuts
WFSU Newsroom © 03/24/2011
Hundreds of people, many of them with disabilities, gathered in the space between the two Florida Capitol Buildings today Wednesday. Tom Flanigan reports they heard from many speakers and one of them…
Scott heckled at the capitol
WTXL ABC Channel 27 Tallahassee © 03/23/2011
As soon as Governor Scott finished speaking at the Develop-mental Disabilities Awareness Day event hundreds started shouting “no more cuts.” Some even booed. Their main concern over 19,000 disabled Floridians are on a waiting list for help because of a lack of funding.
Senator Fasano’s Resolution Honoring Developmental Disability Awareness Day
East Lake Blister © 03/23/2011
The Florida Senate adopted a resolution proclaiming March 23, 2011 as Developmental Disability Awareness Day in the State of Florida. Senator Mike Fasano was the sponsor of the resolution. He has long been a supporter of the developmental disability community. At 11:00 AM on this sunny and breezy morning in the Capitol Courtyard, individuals and advocates from around the state gathered for lunch, music and some comments and presentations.
“Developmental Disabilities Awareness Day” coming to Capitol
WTXL ABC Channel 27 Tallahassee © 03/22/2011
DD Awareness Day will provide a setting where agencies, organizations, and individuals with developmental disabilities and families can share information about services for persons with disabilities and promote understanding about the challenges and obstacles in the everyday lives of persons with disabilities…
Balance budget, quality of life for individuals with developmental disabilities
Gainesville Sun © 3/21/2011
As Florida looks for ways to balance the state budget while meeting the basic needs of its citizens, we must make choices that protect the quality of life for our most vulnerable populations, including those with developmental disabilities.]]>
UPARC’s Waterfall Apartment is a truly unique program that provides an opportunity for individuals with Developmental Disabilities to live in an apartment setting with non-intrusive supports. The Apartment Complex has the capcity to house 25 individuals , in a combination of studio apartments, one bedroom and two bedroom apartments. The program provides the support for individuals to transition into independent living.
The program focuses on teaching skills of daily living, leisure planning, meal planning, shopping skills, money management and transportation and travel training. Inherent in the program is the fostering of a community environment and peer networks. For many participants the pride of independence and the friendships that are created are the true successes of the Waterfall Program .
For more information on those interested in living at the Waterfall Apartments, please contact Anita Dooley at 727-799-3330 or Anita@uparc.com]]>
Lee Jordan, a 42-year-old Dunedin resident who has Down’s syndrome, wanted to run toward the sound of tambourines, maracas and drums echoing down the hall, but he hadn’t finished his school work. He smiled at Malloch and in a deep baritone voice shouted, “Drum!”
It was the first word he had ever spoken.
“I didn’t expect that,” said Malloch, 49. “My assistant and I stood there with tears in our eyes. …
“Drumming has become an inspiration to him. We’ve all discovered he has a fantastic sense of rhythm.”
That sense of rhythm has been drawn out of Jordan thanks to a program that started 18 months ago at the Upper Pinellas Association for Retarded Citizens at the Long Center.
The Rhythmic Arts Project, known as TRAP, was introduced to UPARC administrators by Polly and John Stannard, owners of Hammerax, a Clearwater company that hand-hammers bronze into hybrid cymbals that create nontraditional sounds.
While attending a California music convention in 2006, the couple saw drummer Eddie Tuduri, who had toured and recorded with the Beach Boys and Rick Nelson among others, demonstrate the fun and functional qualities of TRAP.
“John was smitten with the program,” Polly Stannard said. “We were at the right booth at the right moment.”
Tuduri, 60, understands serendipity. He founded TRAP in 1997 after breaking his neck in a body-surfing accident at Carpinteria Beach, Calif. He was initially paralyzed from the neck down.
“Being a professional drummer all my life, I didn’t know what else to do,” Tuduri said by phone from his home in Carpinteria, Calif. “I had no idea to what extent I’d come back.”
When he could move his right arm a little, Tuduri requested drumsticks and a practice pad. He visualized the TRAP concept in the hospital as he struggled through rehabilitation.
He found solace as he tapped on his pad, bedrails, even his dishes. Other patients clapped, tapped and drummed with him. Soon Tuduri had a rhythm session that doubled as physical therapy.
Today, Tuduri walks with a cane and has some residual paralysis. But he doesn’t allow anything to keep him down.
“I thank God for my broken neck now,” Tuduri said. “TRAP has been a gift every day of my life.”
The program also has been a help to thousands of others. TRAP is taught all over the United States and in six other countries. Shortly after discovering the program, the Stannards brought Tuduri to Clearwater to teach a TRAP training class at UPARC. It’s been going strong since.
“The Stannards, UPARC staff and students have taken the program to new heights,” said Tuduri. “I can meet with agency people, but if the staff changes, a program can go by the wayside. It takes people like John and Polly to champion a cause.”
Polly Stannard volunteers and teaches four 40-minute classes each Wednesday to about 40 adults through the Long Center UPARC adult day-training center.
The drumming session is healing and helpful for people with conditions ranging from Aspergers and Down’s syndrome to Alzheimer’s and cerebral palsy.
Fledgling musicians thump on drums, tap bongos, and shake maracas and tambourines and often conquer physical and social challenges.
“I’ve watched people blossom,” said UPARC volunteer coordinator Deborah Simeone. “They come out of their shells. It’s a phenomenon to see.”
In August, the UPARC Tarpon Center began a TRAP program for 60 students with a grant from the Young Lawyer’s Division of the Clearwater Bar Association.
Polly Stannard encourages people to find their passion and volunteer in such programs, especially in these difficult economic times.
“The return far exceeds what we give,” she said. “TRAP gives people choices. UPARC constantly strives to foster independent thought, and gives its consumers parameters to learn. TRAP is part of that, and Lee’s one of our biggest success stories.”
About the program
The Rhythmic Arts Project is not a drumming circle or music therapy. According to the TRAP Web site, the program empowers people with various disabilities to succeed in the world. The program integrates drums and percussion instruments as creative learning tools that address life skills and enhance the mind, body and spirit.
• Helps students with developmental disabilities learn to focus.
• Increases physical strength and coordination.
• Can help improve short-term memory.
• Increases many participants’ abilities to listen and follow directions.
• Provides people who cannot speak or have difficulty connecting with others a form of self-expression.
John and Polly Stannard own Hammerax, a Clearwater company that makes hybrid cymbals. They have chosen the Upper Pinellas Association for Retarded Citizens and The Rhythmic Arts Project or TRAP as their charity of choice, but declined to disclose how much they donate each year.]]>
On May 20, 2010 the Gear up Florida Team visited UPARC’s Long Center Day program. Since 1997, almost 300 Pi Kappa Phis have participated in Gear Up Florida. Each year, the team raises over $80,000 to benefit people with disabilities. Gear Up Florida was created with one mission in mind. To reach out to as many people as possible across the State of Florida, spreading a message of acceptance and understanding on behalf of people with disabilities.
This 800-mile cycling event kicks off on the shores of Miami, travels through the Florida orange fields, reaches the Gulf coast, passes through Orlando, comes back to the Atlantic coast and culminates at the State Capitol in Tallahassee. The team spreads a message of acceptance and understanding to communities in Florida through newspapers, radio and television, civic groups and community leaders, reaching millions of people annually.
UPARC has been fortunate that the Gear Up Florida Team has chosen to make UPARC part of their annual itinerary. The Gear up Florida Team shared a light breakfast with our consumers. It is a great event as you can see the mutual sharing and respect that takes place with two totally different groups. The enthusiasm of the riders is clearly a motivation to our consumers, equally the openess and acceptance of our people validates the purpose of their Gear Up Florida Team mission.
If anyone is aware of any sororities , fraternities or service organizations that would like to link up with UPARC, please pass it on to us.]]>