Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Our Approach to Learning

Today, as I walked to my office, I noticed a group of paper mache lungs in Cheryl Clark's classroom and went in the classroom to explore further. I learned from Cheryl that the students were studying the respiratory system and had used two of their art classes, with Randy Wiskow, to create the paper mache lungs. This  approach to learning is common here at Cardinal Cushing. Our students have their lessons taught and reinforced across several educational settings.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A Prayer for Bad Times by Richard Cardinal Cushing

I think that during these difficult times, this prayer by our founder...

Dear God,

Help me be a good sport in this game of life. I don't ask for an easy place in the lineup. Put me anywhere you need me. I only ask that I can give you 100 percent of everything I have. If all the hard drives seem to come my way, I thank you for the compliment. Help me remember that you never send a player more trouble than he can handle.

And, help me, Lord, to accept the bad breaks as part of the game. May I always play on the square, no matter what the others do. Help me study the Book so I'll know the rules.

Finally, God, if the natural turn of events goes against me and I'm benched for sickness or old age, help me accept that as part of the game too. Keep me from whimpering that I was framed or that I got a raw deal. And when I finish the final inning, I ask for no laurels. All I want is to believe in my heart that I played as well as I could and that I didn't let you down.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Massachusetts Budget Will Hurt Those We Care About

It is time to act. For those of you that have not had a chance to do so, it's time to email and phone your representative and senator. Ask him or her to list DDS and disability services as one of their top 3 priorities to his/her respective chair: Senator Steven Panagiotakos or Representative Charley Murphy.

We are still in the midst of the most severe economic recession since the Great Depression and we need to share our voices so that our neighbors, communities and decision makers can appreciate how damaging any further cuts can be.

Please include your personal story if possible. Also, please phone to follow up your email message.

Who should care and what can you do?

We all should care. If you are an adult with a disability who uses services or a family member with a child or adult living at home you may be affected when employment/day and family support services are reduced.

If you are graduating high school and hope to receive adult services through the Turning 22 program (transition), you should care and be worried about what will be available.

In addition to DDS services, Early Intervention and MRC (Mass. Rehab) services have been slated to be reduced.

What you can do?

Contact your representative or senator via email and phone

Friday, February 12, 2010

Cardinal Cushing Supports March 3rd as Day to "Spread the Word to End the Word"

Cardinal Cushing Centers, Special Olympics, Best Buddies and supporters from across the world will unite in support of a grassroots movement challenging the use of an outdated word that must be recognized for its hurtful impact on people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDDs). On March 3rd, Spread the Word to End the Word awareness day will commence - engaging schools, organizations and communities by raising the consciousness of society about the dehumanizing and hurtful effects of the word “retard(ed),” and encouraging everyone to stop using the R-word by signing our pledge and encouraging their friends and families to do the same.

Following the successful launch of the awareness day by youth with and without IDDs in March 2009, Spread the Word to End the Word Day 2010 will continue the progress toward making the world a more accepting place for all people. Youth leaders are encouraging people to rally and pledge their support at www.r-word.org with the goal of reaching 100,000 pledges and also to show their support through merchandise at the new http://www.r-wordstore.com/.

Spread the Word to End the Word began as a grassroots campaign by youth who participated in the Special Olympics Global Youth Activation Summit in February 2009, held in conjunction with the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Idaho. The campaign was driven by a united passion to promote the positive contributions people with IDDs make to communities around the world combined with a simple call to action – a pledge to stop using the R-word.

Motivated by their commitment to action, actor John C. McGinley from the hit television series Scrubs was inspired to join these youth and their dedication to stop the casual use of the R-word.

“Most people don’t think of this word as the language of hate, but that’s exactly what it feels like to millions of people with intellectual disabilities, their families and friends,” said McGinley. “I choose to believe that most of us are fundamentally good and that we’re just not aware that the word is offensive and that it hurts.”

Students and schools across the U.S. and around the world continue to unite in their challenge for everyone to think before they speak. On March 3, 2010, youth will coordinate simultaneous pledge drives, campaigns, and educational opportunities through Spread the Word to End the Word, engaging communities and advocates to encourage everyone to pledge to stop the use of the word at www.r-word.org.

Soeren Palumbo and “Timbo” Shriver (son of Special Olympics Chairman, Timothy Shriver), who together launched the Spread the Word campaign last year, said: "This campaign powerfully combines two things: the creative vision of a world accepting of all people and a youthful drive to realize this vision. It calls people to do more than volunteer and advocate; it inspires them to join, drive, and lead a social movement for the dignity of people with intellectual disabilities. And that's why it works."

Special Olympics and Best Buddies hope that this day becomes an annually recognized day to raise awareness and ultimately encourage acceptance and respect for people with IDDs in everyday lives.

The offensive usage of the R-word most recently made headlines as White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel was quoted using this term. As a response to a letter written by Special Olympics Chairman and CEO Timothy Shriver regarding this, he and several other passionate advocates on this issue met with Chief of Staff Emanuel at the White House.

Special Olympics and Best Buddies encourage people to get involved and find out more information on Spread the Word to End the Word by visiting the official campaign website at www.r-word.org, or our Facebook fan page at http://www.facebook.com/EndtheWord. Fans can also follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/EndtheWord.

Spread the Word merchandise including t-shirts, buttons, bracelets and more can be purchased at www.r-wordstore.com in support of the movement.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Cushing Community Responds to Haiti

Our community is responding in many ways to the emergency in Haiti. Immediately after the earthquake, our Campus Ministries coordinated a service and began collecting health, toiletries, food items and eyeglasses. Our Student Council ran bake sales and is collectign small change in bottles around the campus. We have reached out to our staff who have lost family members and friends. One of our staff members will be visiting Haiti, along with members of her church, to search for her family and bring the items we have collected and our prayers.