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

Welcome to the combo February/March Newsletter - it's been a very busy and exciting time for MERGE and I am thrilled to bring you some great news! I have recently been introduced to a wonderfully dynamic and energetic UMASS student who is a LEND Fellow. We have been working together on a project that will increase accessibility for youth with diverse abilities to be able to successfully participate in recreational programming. Check out the lead story on a unique partnership that will provide a FREE 3-hr long MERGE Training for a local recreation provider. If you are a YMCA, Boys & Girls Club, JCC, or Town Recreation program provider, you don't want to miss this issue or the chance to apply for this FREE Training!

Lisa Drennan
MERGE  Founder
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COULD YOUR ORGANIZATION USE A FREE MERGE TRAINING?
A staff inclusion training is being made available at no cost to a Boston area recreation provider seeking to be more inclusive in their practices. This opportunity is made possible by a joint project between MERGE and the UMass Medical School-Shriver Center Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) program and the Moakley Center for Public Management at Suffolk University who have made funds available for a 3-hour accessibility training by MERGE. 
UMASS student Aisha Faulkner is leading this project, "As a LEND fellow, I am grateful for the opportunities the program has afforded me, such as collaborating with Lisa at MERGE Inclusion Consulting. Lisa has already taught me so many skills that I can apply to my career, and we are just getting started. I look forward to positively impacting a recreational program as we help them become more inclusive to children of all ability levels". Interested applicants must apply by March 20th. Click here to see a flyer with more details or email Aisha Faulkner for an application to apply. 

 
APPLY FOR THE MERGE/LEND TRAINING

HIGH SCHOOL INCLUSION PROJECT OFF TO A GREAT START

Thanks to the generosity and mission of The Andrew J Lawson Foundation, seven Hull High School student leaders are taking part in The Inclusion Project, created and taught by MERGE Founder, Lisa Drennan in an effort to raise awareness about inclusion in school settings. 
Together this group has been exploring how to create a more inclusive culture in their school where ALL students belong and are valued parts of all aspects of school life. Topics being covered include: 

  • What does Inclusion mean?
  • Disability "101" & Disability Etiquette
  • Words Matter - how to address the use of derogatory terms
  • Overcoming barriers and fears around interacting with people with disabilities
  • Creating a school culture where your peers with disabilities are valued & belong
  • Authentic friendships - yes it's possible!

 

TO DONATE TO THE LAWSON FOUNDATION

MASSACHUSETTS LIBRARIES COMMITTING TO INCLUSION

 

MERGE is thrilled to announce a partnership with Massachusetts Library System in offering workshops for library professionals. The Massachusetts Library System (MLS) provides services to 1,700 Massachusetts libraries of all types and sizes throughout the Commonwealth. Strategies and Techniques to Foster Inclusion of Patrons with Disabilities will be offered in different locations throughout the state this spring.

TRI-STATE: THE WORLD'S LARGEST CAMP CONFERENCE

 

With over 3,000 in attendance, the 2020 Conference took place in Atlantic City, from March 10th-12th and MERGE was there! "There's nothing like having a room full of camp professionals seeking to be more inclusive in their practices. The energy, the excitement, and engagement was incredible. Looking forward to returning to The World's Largest Camp Conference next year!", shared Lisa Drennan who offered the training Inclusion Strategies to Help ALL Campers be Successful this Summer to a packed room of camp directors and staff, providing them the tools and confidence to welcome, engage and support campers with diverse abilities.

 

 

MARCH SPOTLIGHT - SWIM ANGELFISH

Each month MERGE will be sharing about a resource, program or business in the community whose mission is aligned with ours in building more inclusive communities. "I had the pleasure of meeting Arlene and Cindy, the founders of SWIM ANGELFISH in 2015 and see them as dedicated pioneers in the field of adaptive swim therapy", shares MERGE Founder Lisa Drennan, "they are providing a valuable resource to our community that goes hand in hand with the services and mission of MERGE." 
Swim Angelfish offers Angelfish Aquatic Therapy and Swim Whisperers Swim School Lessons in multiple locations in Fairfield County, CT, Westchester County, NY, Middlesex County & Norfolk County, MA and Hillsborough County, NH. Check out their FREE resources on youtube and social media handles. Interested professionals or family members can contact  jessica@swimangelfish.com or log onto swimangelfish.com.

QUESTION: Who is the typical audience for a MERGE Training?

ANSWER: Great question and the answer is simple really: any community program, business, or entity that offers a service to the general community. A majority of our work focuses on recreation, sport and camp organizations (YMCA's, Boys & Girls Clubs, Town Recreation Programs) but also includes Library, Scouts, Churches and first responders/emergency preparedness teams. Trainings are good for anyone who can benefit from learning how to welcome, engage and support community members with diverse abilities into their existing offerings. 
Additionally, we work with Human Service Agencies who provide supports for individuals with disabilities and their families, giving them guidance on how to successful access recreational and community programs. 

*to bring a MERGE training to your group reach out to MERGE
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MERGE Diverse Abilities Inclusion Consultant · 3 Sandy Ln · Pembroke, MA 02359-3422 · USA

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