Winter Wonderland Dance

Meet your friends for a night of  music with DJ Enygma, dancing, snacks and a photo booth.  Warm up at the hot cocoa bar and be sure to dress to impress.  Our Winter Wonderland Dance is Free and appropriate for adults with disabilities and special needs 18 and over.  All participants must be accompanied by a guardian or caregiver and dont need to be receiving services from Venture to attend – all are welcome.

Please RSVP to:  Paige Mador / pmador@venturecs.org

The dance will be held in the Venture Sturbridge Day Program.  The program is located at 1 Picker Rd, Sturbridge and the entrance is in the lower level.

Free Adaptive Paint Night

Join us for a night of instructor-led painting and fun and create your own masterpiece!  This event is FREE and  appropriate for adults with disabilities and special needs over the age of 18.  No experience is necessary, just come and have a fun, creative night out. All materials will be supplied.  The class will be led by Brush it Off Paint & Sip Bar.

Date:  Thursday, October 10, 2019

Time: 6pm – 8pm (painting starts promptly at 6pm)

Location:  Venture Sturbridge Day Program, 1 Picker Road, Sturbridge, MA (lower level)

 

Each participant must be accompanied by a guardian or caregiver.

Please RSVP by October  7th with number of people attending to: Paige Mador / 774-922-1135

Space is limited to 25 painters, so register early!

Sculpture for Kids (clay monsters)

Join us for an afternoon of clay art with Colleen McFarlin, owner of Beyond the Bolt  and make your very own clay monster. All materials and  supplies will be provided.

This class is FREE and appropriate for most people with special needs ages 6ys – 17ys. Participants don’t need to be receiving any services from Venture – all are welcome.

Date:  Wednesday, September 18

Time:  4:30pm – 6pm

Location:  Venture Uxbridge Day Program, 670 Douglas St, Uxbridge, MA (back of building entrance)

Each participant must be accompanied by a parent or caregiver . (ABA therapists welcome to bring people they work with.) 

Please RSVP with number of people attending to: Paige Mador / 774-922-1135

Sensory-Friendly Spring Fling

Following the success of our Sensory-Friendly Halloween Party in October, we have decided to host another free community event for families of children with autism in the Blackstone Valley area.

We will be hosting our first Sensory-Friendly Spring Fling on Thursday, April 19th from 4:00 pm until 7:00 pm at our Community Day Program and 670 Douglas Street in Uxbridge.  Join us for fun spring-themed sensory activities, gardening projects, adaptive yoga designed especially for kids, musical entertainment featuring drum circles, and more!

Entertainment and drum circles will be provided by Mike Leo Drum Circles and Rhythm-Based Entertainment.  Mike is a great performer with many years of experience working with individuals with disabilities.  He gets everyone involved in making music however they feel comfortable!  He has tons of different percussion instruments available for kids to experiment with.

Adaptive yoga sessions will be held at 4:30, 5:00, and 5:30 with Lisa Irvine, an occupational therapist and certified yoga instructor.  Lisa is also certified through our partnership with Shri Yoga, which provides training to lead evidence-based adaptive classes for many different populations, including children, individuals with developmental disabilities, and individuals with autism and other sensory disorders.

Other activities will be facilitated by Venture’s own experienced clinicians and trained staff members, such as sensory exploration, gardening projects, crafts, and make-your-own snacks.  Kids will also have access to our two state-of-the-art sensory rooms for quiet space if needed.

We hope you’ll be able to join us!  Click here for more information about our Sensory-Friendly Spring Fling.  Please RSVP to Paige Mador at 774-922-1135 or pmador@venturecs.org with the number of children and adults attending.

Sensory-Friendly Halloween

For many children, Halloween is an exciting time of year.  Choosing a costume, trick or treating, parties with friends, celebrations at school, and other autumn activities can be a lot of fun.  But for children with autism or other sensory processing concerns, it can be stressful.  Here are some helpful tips to make Halloween fun for everyone:

  1. Prepare your child by talking with them about what to expect when trick-or-treating. Show them a movie or read them a book where other children are trick-or-treating.  You might even try using different rooms in your house to practice knocking on the door and saying “trick or treat”.  You could also do a practice run at the home of a family member or friend.
  2. Lots of children with sensory concerns are very sensitive to different clothing items. Halloween costumes can be itchy, tight, awkward, or otherwise just plain uncomfortable!  Have your child try on their costume and spend a couple hours wearing it around the house so they can get used to it.  This will allow you time to make adjustments if necessary, like cutting off tags or layering over a more comfortable shirt.  Click here for more about sensory-friendly costumes and be sure to check out Pinterest for lots of great ideas.
  3. Help your child identify which candies they like, and let them know about some types that can turn your mouth a different color, get stuck in your teeth, or be very sour.
  4. Pumpkin carving is a great Halloween tradition. For many kids, the sensory experience of playing with “pumpkin guts” can be really fun!  However, others might not enjoy that sensation.  There are other ways to incorporate jack-o-lanterns besides carving – kids can decorate pumpkins with paint or stickers instead.  Click here for some great ideas that don’t include carving.
  5. If your child is going trick-or-treating and has trouble communicating, you can make a card that says something like, “Hello, my name is ______ and I have autism. I might have trouble saying ‘trick or treat’ or ‘Happy Halloween’ but I am trying my best.  Thank you!”  Your child could hand it to the person answering the door or you could attach it to their treat bucket.  Click here for a printable card or create a customized one.
  6. Don’t feel pressured to participate in trick-or-treating (or any other activities for that matter) if they don’t work for your child. It’s not for everyone, and that’s okay.  You might have just as much fun staying in for movie night!

Venture will also be hosting its first Sensory-Friendly Not-So-Spooky Halloween Event on Thursday, October 26th from 4 – 6 pm at our Community Day Services Program, 670 Douglas Street, Uxbridge, Mass.  The event is free and focused for children 12 and under with autism and other sensory concerns.  Event volunteers will include clinicians and direct care staff with experience working with people with special needs.  Activities will include practice trick or treating, scavenger hunt for prizes, activities, games, crafts, snacks, and access to our sensory room for a quiet space if needed.  Please RSVP with number of people attending to pmador@venturecs.org.

Assistive Technology Partnership

Assistive Technology can best be described as a variety of items which can help an individual work around functional limitations imposed by a disability.  Some of these items include wheelchairs with adaptive trays to hold a person’s iPad, a brace for a person to be able to hold an eating utensil, a built-up handle of a spoon, or a communication device.  These items are essential to improving the quality of life and level of independence for people with disabilities.  Other examples of such equipment might be lifts, swings, tricycles, tablets, computer software, shower chairs, specialty writing utensils and so much more. These items can help individuals with mobility, communication, sensory, recreational, or social needs.

With the increasing specialized needs of the individuals we support, Venture has developed an Assistive Technology Committee to help effectively meet these needs.  Key employees have been attending conferences and trainings to learn how to develop a program that will help assist individuals access the resources available.  Currently, the committee is in the process of conducting assessments to determine what equipment would be most helpful to the individuals in our programs.

In keeping with our mission to enrich the lives of those we serve, we are very proud to announce our partnership with Tantasqua Regional Vocational High School in their commitment to assist people in their community by creating individualized and innovative assistive technology.  This fall, we will be working with Ray Rousseau from the Manufacturing Department and Bruce Tranter from the Computer Technology Department to assist us in developing creative approaches.  We are looking forward to teaming up to expand our services and we are thankful to the many students who will be dedicated to helping with these projects.  Stay tuned for updates!

Sensory-Friendly Summer Activities

This summer, there are many sensory-friendly summer activities for individuals with autism and sensory processing disorders available throughout the community.  Thankfully, many organizations and community groups have developed a greater awareness about the needs of this population, providing families of children with disabilities the same opportunities as everyone else.  We applaud the efforts of local vendors and organizations that are working to meet the needs of everyone, regardless of disability.

Here is a list of events and activities throughout Massachusetts that are sensory-friendly fun for the whole family:

Sensory Sensitive Saturday in Boston on July 22 – tours and programs at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute

Sensory-Friendly Movie on July 29 – showing of “The Emoji” in Haverhill

Family Autism Event on August 5 – The Children’s Museum in Easton

“A Little Princess” Sensory Friendly Performance on July 22 – community theater program in Brockton

Especially for Me: Autism-Friendly Evening on August 19 – Children’s Discovery Museum in Acton

Sensory Sensitive SundaysChuck E. Cheese’s in Worcester and other Massachusetts locations

Sensory Friendly Saturdays – Altitude Trampoline Park in Billerica

Don’t Betray Innocent People

By Mike Hyland, President and CEO

Once again there is a bill in Washington that would replace the Affordable Care Act with another version of health care policies, regulations, and practices.  Obviously, this is a heated political issue and will likely remain so for many years – but the politics of it tend to obscure an important fact: the current bill, like the last failed bill, will unequivocally harm people with disabilities and the professionals who support them.  In other words, it betrays innocent people.

The proposed bill will punch holes in Medicaid funding that individual states will not be able to fill.  With cuts of almost $850 billion over the next ten years, people with disabilities and their advocates once again find themselves (for the second time in a year that is barely four months old) in danger of being left behind.  In fact, given that this is the second bill in 2017 that threatens them, it would appear that a good many people in Congress are also choosing to simply say that these people just don’t matter.  How in the world can that be okay in this country?

Medicaid is a $600 billion annual program that contains many provisions and it is probably time for the program to be evaluated in terms of efficiency and outcomes.  Nonetheless, converting it to a block grant or per capita program goes well beyond that.  It destroys safety nets and opportunities for people with disabilities and turns a blind eye to the work force that has battled for years to be recognized with appropriate pay and benefits for the valuable work they do and have always done.  Drastic reductions to Medicaid funding undeniably makes it even harder to support professionals who are already stretched too thin.  Clearly, these proposed Medicaid cuts are tantamount to Congress and the new administration telling this workforce that what they do isn’t important.  At best, the people proposing this latest bill just don’t understand what this industry does.  At worst, they just don’t care.

People with developmental disabilities rely on current levels of funding to stay safe, to remain in a community of choice, to get to work programs, and to access wellness and recreation.  It’s utterly baffling that this would be a group that politicians seem to have deemed as needing less than they get now.  We’ll ignore the reality that savings realized from service cuts to disabled people are intended to fund a tax cut for people making a million dollars a year and up.  That’s an issue to be taken up elsewhere.  What needs to be talked about is the reality that the current legislation, as written, will take away from people who essentially have the least.  People with developmental disabilities already struggle to work, to get adequate health care, to have reliable transportation, to develop social networks, and to be heard.  They also are victims of abuse and neglect at a higher rate than the general population.  So why does Washington believe that reducing programs that support them is a good idea?  No one seems willing to answer that question, particularly those who when campaigning pledged not to cut Medicaid.  The hypocrisy is staggering!

The ACA is obviously a hot button issue that will remain so for a long time to come.  It’s expensive and it is the duty of elected officials to examine it and anything else that divides so many people.  But don’t do something that harms people who are ignored far too often.  Don’t turn back the clock and wipe out years of progress on so many fronts for people with developmental disabilities.  Hey Washington – don’t betray innocent people.

20th Annual Charity Golf Classic

Venture is looking forward to the summer with the 20th Annual Charity Golf Classic! Over the years, we have received an outpouring of community support at this event, and this year we are even more excited that the location of our golf tournament is right down the street from our brand-new day services program in Uxbridge.

If you’ve already registered – THANK YOU! We also still have plenty of registration spaces available to golfers who are interested in joining us.  Enjoy 18 holes of golf at the beautiful Blissful Meadows Golf Club in Uxbridge, including golf cart, golfer gift, continental breakfast, boxed lunch and dinner.  There are plenty of chances to win prizes, with fun games and contests on eleven holes.

After a great day out on the course, golfers will enjoy an Italian buffet dinner in the club’s new pavilion, complete with lawn games, cash bar and silent auction that will include summer trips and family outings, gift certificates, creative gift baskets, and more.

We’d also like to recognize our many generous sponsors for this event: Starkweather & Shepley, Fallon Health, MDG Employee Benefit Solutions, Southbridge Savings Bank, C.K. Smith & Company, Country Bank, Group 7 Design, OFS Optics, Arland Tool & Manufacturing, Bank Hometown, Dave’s Pest Control, Guaranty Glass & Mirror, Howe Lumber, JD LeBlanc Electric, Load Controls, Osterman Propane, Quality Van Sales, Savers Bank, Southbridge Credit Union, Al Brousseau Flooring, Cormier Jewelers, Cosgrove & Blatt, Gaudet Landscaping, Guardian Life Insurance, Stephenson & Brook, TMG Carpentry, All Star Incentive Marketing, and ACT Leasing. Thank you for your support!

Sponsorship opportunities are still available with great benefits for you and your business.

We hope you’ll consider joining us on Friday, June 16th at Blissful Meadows Golf Club for a great outing to support programs for people with disabilities, including adaptive equipment and assistive technology.  For more information, contact Paige Mador at 774-922-1135 or pmador@venturecs.org.

Register online today!

Venture’s Newest Program

Venture Community Services strives to empower individuals with disabilities by providing them with resources and support in community-based residences across Massachusetts.  Through innovative practices, expertly trained staff, and cutting-edge facilities, we provide opportunities to those we support by helping them navigate the path toward self-determination.  Staff members teach skills in most areas of daily living, including personal care, medication management, meal preparation, budgeting, safety, public transportation, emotional and physical wellness, access to community services, recreational activities, and job coaching.  Venture also offers clinical services that assist each individual in reaching their goals.

In October 2015, Venture will open a program that has been custom-built for the population it will support.  Despite the development being partially funded by state contracts, which has been a successful model for Venture in the past, there are further upgrades and additions that will improve the quality of life for residents.  Although the state contracts fund necessities like cookware, couches, and microwave, there are still many items that cannot be accommodated.  Items such as a Smart Board, Wii gaming system, sound system with headphones, basketball hoop, exercise equipment and swing can provide recreational opportunities while meeting the sensory needs of the individuals.  It is our goal to provide an environment in which these individuals will thrive.  Therefore, during the process of completing this new home, Venture will be working to secure funding from private sources that will assist in making this facility the best environment possible for these individuals.

Venture has identified four young men who will be moving into the new program and exploring their independence for the first time.  Our multidisciplinary team of medical professionals and clinicians work together with the individual, their guardians, physicians, and service coordinator to develop an individualized plan for each person based upon their unique needs and interests.  Venture is looking forward to offering these young men the opportunity to have a home they can call their own.  Like many people in their early twenties, they are eager to start their lives independently of their parents and families, begin to explore the world around them, make decisions about their own lives and discover who they are.

If you are interested in helping Venture to prepare the home for its new residents with either a monetary or in-kind donation, please contact Paige Billings at (774) 922-1135 or pbillings@venturecs.org.


Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!