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10.19 NEWSLETTER
CONSULTATION | TRAINING | IMPLEMENTATION
BUILDING STRONGER COMMUNITIES BY PROVIDING EXPERT GUIDANCE ON INCLUSION OF PERSONS WITH DIVERSE ABILITIES
Hello <<First Name>>,

Here we are at the end of October, which is National Down Syndrome Awareness Month. Having a designated time to raise awareness and perhaps collectively using our platforms to educate our followers can help with overall acceptance of persons with Down syndrome or other diverse abilities to be a valued part of our communities.

I challenge us, however, to take this a step further, not just be aware and accepting. Let's look past the disability, look past the differences and get to know someone's strengths, talents, passions and what brings them joy. Then, perhaps, we are more in a reciprocal and equitable position to engage with that person as a peer, teammate, co-worker or friend.

A few years back my friend Shannon (who worked with me at the Y) and I were driving into Boston to take part in a Best Buddies event as panelists to lead a discussion on women and leadership. She was sharing with me about living with Down syndrome and she said to me "Lisa to be honest, there's nothing down about it, I prefer to call it UP syndrome!" Yes Shannon, I agree 100%, there is #nothingdownaboutit.

Enjoy this month's newsletter and I welcome you to share with me your thoughts on how you help to create more inclusive communities. 


Lisa Drennan

MERGE  
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A MERGE WORKSHOP FOCUSED ON ENGAGING VOLUNTEERS
In May 2019, Lisa Drennan presented at the Mass Conference on Volunteerism, put on by the Massachusetts Service Alliance. The session was well received by participants, leading to an inquiry to offer a stand alone training. "It was clear that Lisa's was a very successful session, her workshop definitely added to the success of the conference!" stated Lisl Hacker, Director of Training and Technical Assistance, Massachusetts Service Alliance. 
For those of you who missed that opportunity, don't fear........ you'll have another chance to take part in Welcoming, Engaging and Supporting Volunteers with Diverse Abilities on December 12th. There are a limited number of spots available so be sure to register today!
REGISTER TODAY FOR THIS MERGE WORKSHOP

MERGE TO AUTHOR A RESOURCE BOOK ON FRIENDSHIPS

Widening the Circle, is a collaborative initiative on social inclusion between the Department of Developmental Services (DDS), The Arc of Massachusetts, and several organizations providing residential supports to persons served by DDS. Since 2012, the Pathways to Friendship program has been creating resources to help individuals and organizations support friendships between people with and without disabilities. One of these initiatives is the development of a series of toolkits that reflect the strong belief that friendships between people with and without disabilities can be found wherever people live, learn, work, and play. We are proud to announce that Lisa Drennan of MERGE has been engaged by the Arc of Massachusetts to author the 5th Edition of The Making Friends Tool Kit.
The intended audience for this version will be organizations providing recreation, wellness and enrichment offerings for the general community such as: YMCA’s, Boys & Girls Clubs, Churches, Camps, JJC’s, Libraries, Town Park & Recreation Programs, Scouts and other civic or community organizations.  Stay tuned for more information on this exciting project.

EVERYONE'S HAVING A GREAT TIME LEARNING ABOUT INCLUSION 

MERGE recently had the pleasure of taking part in two dynamic conferences: National Inclusion Project's Annual Power Of Play Conference and The 76th Annual Vermont Conference on Recreation
Attendees learned about The Principles of Inclusion and using Preventative Inclusion Strategies as well as an advanced session on Creating Your Roadmap a workshop geared toward taking your organization's inclusion initiative from good to great. 
Attendee Melissa Pasquale, Sr Recreation Supervisor at Chico Area Recreation shares, " I met Lisa at the 2019 Power of Play conference.The amount of information she provided and the usefulness of it will be very beneficial to the organization I work for. She has provided the tools we were looking for to move forward. Thank you!"
LEARN MORE ABOUT UPCOMING MERGE PRESENTATIONS

EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS TRAININGS - BRINGING IT HOME 

The Town of Pembroke (hometown to MERGE founder Lisa Drennan), was the next in line to receive the Effective Engagement Techniques for Citizens with Diverse Abilities training as part of a series offered to cities and towns in Plymouth County. Offered by the Department of Public Health's Region 5C Emergency Preparedness Coalition this training is ideal for health agents, emergency preparedness team members, first responders, COA, Commission on Disability, Town Hall, Library, School Personnel & any other town employees, providing the tools and confidence to successfully engage with citizens with diverse abilities during emergencies or day to day situations.
On Monday, October 28th, town employees involved with emergency management planning, took part in this informative and interactive training held at Pembroke High School.  As a testimony to the effectiveness of the training, attendee Mike Hill, Fire Chief Pembroke Fire Department shared, "As a First Responder who must deal with diverse individuals in emergency settings often, Lisa's program on dealing with persons with diverse abilities creates a great base of core values and information that can help maintain safe environments for both the individual and other 
responders."
To learn more email: lisadrennan@mergeconsulting.org

QUESTION: Why should we as an organization commit to inclusion?

ANSWER: MERGE believes there are so many benefits to not only an organization but to our community as a whole when we all make a commitment to utilizing inclusive practices that help us to better welcome, engage and support persons with diverse abilities. We understand that recreation, sport, camp or community based organizations can sometimes feel concerned that an inclusion initiative might be a challenge. Most fears can be alleviated through education and training. 
But......... don't take our word for it. See the list below highlighting many of the benefits an organization can experience when committing to be more inclusive in their practices. 

RAISING UP THE DIALOGUE OF THE IMPORTANCE OF INCLUSION

Thanks to the Healthy Hanover Show for inviting MERGE founder, Lisa Drennan to be a guest of their show. This is a fantastic way to raise awareness about the importance and benefits of creating more inclusive communities. Thanks to Hosts, Susan Glover, Audrey Barresi and Kim Howard for the thoughtful conversation and for the opportunity to spread the word that #inclusionmattersLook for more information soon on when Episode #29 will be aired.
 
READ OTHER TESTIMONIALS ABOUT MERGE!






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MERGE Diverse Abilities Inclusion Consultant · 3 Sandy Ln · Pembroke, MA 02359-3422 · USA

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