Georgia

Distribution of Publication

RealStoriesSlides-1

The Atlanta Celebrates Photography Blog printed a post today about the release of the publication Real Stories, Real People. I delivered 300 copies to the Capitol yesterday and both my senator and representative are distributing Real Stories, Real People in chambers today and tomorrow. This publication is available to the public free of charge at various locations in Atlanta. Refer to the blog post for locations. If you contributed towards this project you will be receiving a copy in the mail.

Please call or meet with your legislators to educate them about the importance of supporting the Able Act for persons with developmental disabilities as well as the importance of increased funding for the Medicaid waiver. The legislators need to hear from parents!

http://www.acpinfo.org/blog/2016/02/02/beate-sass-project-real-stories-real-people/

 

Going to Press

Real Stories, Real People went to press on Friday. I traveled to Monroe, Georgia, the location of Walton Press Inc., where I witnessed the production of the publication. I arrived as the printing crew was proofing the publication for alignment and color. It was a fascinating procedure to witness. I will take you through the steps as I captured them.

Walton Press-1Real Stories, Real People was printed on the large roll of paper on the right.

Walton Press-2This is the initial run of the publication on the printing press.

Walton Press-3Rick evaluates the alignment of the pages.

Walton Press-4Kenneth is evaluating the color of the individual pages and has proofs that have been created by the prepress team which he uses to match the color.

Walton Press-5Kenneth makes adjustments to the color which he evaluates by eye. Although it appears as if he is taking his time, the process occurs at lightening speed. As the publication comes off the press, individual copies are snatched up to evaluate and adjustments are inputted into the system within seconds.  These changes affect the printing instantaneously.

Walton Press-6Terry grabs all the publications that have faulty color and/or alignment and dumps them into the recycling box. There was probably more paper consumed as the color and alignment were tweaked than what was actually used to print the final version of the publication.

Walton Press-7

This is the back page of the 2000 copies.

I want to extend my sincere gratitude to all the staff at Walton Press. I am thankful for their assistance in helping me prepare Real Stories, Real People for press and the crew on Friday for their expertise in creating a high quality publication.

More to come.

Coming Full Circle with Donald

Donald and Mom

I started photographing and collecting stories for this project, Real Stories, Real People, in May of 2014. The first participants I interviewed and photographed were Donald and his mother Jackie. Although I spent a lot of time with the family photographing I never managed to capture a portrait of mother and son. Because Donald and his mother have such a strong bond I knew that having a portrait of the two of them was an essential part of their story. Recently, I returned to visit Donald and Jackie and created this image. I love the feeling this image evokes but it also has a special significance to me. Donald was the first person I photographed for this project and the last. I have completed all the stories and the creation of the publication has begun.

Thank you to all the individuals and families who collaborated with me. Your stories have inspired and moved me. Thank you to all who donated to this project. Your generosity will be funding the creation of the publication which will be distributed to the legislators and public early next year. Lastly, thank you to all who have followed this blog, read the stories, and provided encouraging words. Stay tuned regarding the progress of the publication.

Rachael, Home at Last

Rachael Carlisle at Window

Up until one month ago, 52-year-old Rachael was living in a nursing home in Decatur, Georgia. For the first time in her life she is finally living in her own apartment. This is the dream she had envisioned for a long time. Rachael’s ability to transition from the nursing home into the community is a tribute to Rachael’s determination, her cousin’s commitment to do what was in Rachael’s best interest, and the dedication of a paralegal at the Atlanta Legal Aid Society. In working together with the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, Rachael was able to obtain a Medicaid waiver. The waiver provides support for Rachael in her apartment as well as funding for a day program which she attends during the week.

Stay connected to learn more about Rachael’s story.

Mae’s Job Training at Agnes Scott

Mae at AS

Mae works in the cafeteria at Agnes Scott College once a week through a job training program at her high school. Over 80% of adults with intellectual disabilities are not employed. Approximately 63% of people with disabilities who are unemployed want to work. The majority of special education students who age out of high school could be successful at working paid jobs in the community but supported employment is needed to ensure their success. Earning an income would steer these individuals away from a life of dependence and poverty. For every dollar invested in supported employment there is a return of $1.61.

Once Mae ages out of high school in November our focus will be on job training. Mae is very capable of working but she will need perhaps a year of social skills, community navigation and job training before she would be ready to be placed, then who knows how many months of job coaching? However, at some point I believe she will make a good employee and by working, she will begin to return Georgia’s investment in her. She has participated in a number of internship positions through her high school program and the common denominator is that she is a pleasure to work with so I am hopeful she will be able to find a position suitable for her, with time and help.

Bob (Mae’s father)

Funding Update

Barometer marked to 5000 Flattened

Nolan

 

I have raised $3000.00 thus far as a result of the generosity of family and friends. Although I started with the lofty goal of raising $8000.00, I have been able to find a publishing company that can produce a beautiful publication for much less than I had originally anticipated. As a result, I have decreased the amount needed to complete the first stage of this project. I am hoping to raise an additional $1,300-$2000 so I can print 2000-3000 copies of the publication. The publication will be distributed to the public and Georgia legislators for free. Please consider making a tax deductible donation to this project. If you are unable to make a donation at this time please forward the link to my website or blog to those you know who may be interested in this cause.

There are many supports available in our community that enhance the quality of life for individuals living with developmental disabilities. Unfortunately, supports are costly and many families have limited budgets. With state and federal funding, persons with developmental disabilities can access a variety of services. The photo above features a four-year-old boy receiving therapeutic equine riding lessons at Stride Ahead (http://www.strideahead.org/StrideAhead/Mane_Page.html). Pam Smith, the head instructor is featured on the right. Therapeutic riding  at Stride Ahead provides individuals with a program that will “develop and strengthen muscle tone, core strength, coordination, and flexibility, as well as developing mental and emotional life skills such as focus, leadership, social skills, confidence, cooperation, and friendship.”

To make a tax deductible contribution to Real Stories, Real People visit the website at:

http://www.realstoriesrealpeople.org/donate/

A Mother’s Thoughts About Transition

Mae at Graduation

Mae is 21, and has an amazing support group consisting of me, her dad and his new wife, a younger sister who is also disabled, a few friends, family members and teachers.  Mae participated in the graduation ceremonies at Decatur High in May of 2015.  When she turns 22 on November 14, she will age out of the public school system.  Mae lives with her dad; Mae’s sister lives with me.  Mae’s dad and I know how much support and care it takes for both our daughters to get up in the morning, shower, get dressed, eat and get to school.  We realize that when the girls age out of high school, we will need to work harder to coordinate job training or continuing education.  We must also work to secure a place for them to live which is connected to community, transportation and jobs. In order to ensure a smooth transition for Mae, she will need support in the form of paid counselors, job trainers, exercise mentors, housing and personal care coaches and social skills teachers. Mae does not have a Medicaid waiver to pay for these supports and she has been on the short-term waiting list for six years. The task of coordinating support for Mae will ultimately fall to us, her parents. However, we work at paid jobs and are taking care of our own aging parents while getting older ourselves. I am not giving up hope that Mae will be able to live a good life, but I am concerned whether we will have the stamina and financial resources to make it happen.

Terri (Mae’s Mother)