Historic trip for historic items
Monday, July 27, 2015
When he founded Mosaic (as Bethphage Mission) in 1913, the Rev. K.G. William Dahl probably could not have imagined travel into space – air flight itself was less than a decade old. But more than a century later, two items associated with Mosaic’s history will spend six months on the International Space Station, taken there by Pastor Dahl’s great-grandson, Astronaut Kjell Lindgren, whose mission began last week.
All of his life, Lindgren has heard stories about his great-grandfather, who died in 1917 at age 34. He also shares his first name, Kjell, the “K” in K.G. William, pronounced Chell.
“It is a pretty unusual name and I've only met one other Kjell,” Dr. Lindgren said. “I am proud to share the story of my namesake. I do feel a connection. I think that I was named after him to honor him in recognition of what he did at Bethphage.”
With his wife Kristi and three children, Kjell attended Mosaic’s Centennial Festival on the Mosaic at Bethpage Village campus in Axtell, Neb. in June 2013. He later asked if there were a Bethphage memento that he could take with him when he launched on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft. Two items are part of his personal cargo but NASA rules do not allow the items to be identified to the public.
Lindgren holds great reverence for his great-grandfather and the legacy he created.
“He is almost a mythical figure to me,” Lindgren said. “His work and what he has created almost made him seem larger than life. I personally see him as a role model, somebody who has a servant’s heart that served God in a capacity to benefit the community.”
ADA marks 25th anniversary
Thursday, July 23, 2015
by Linda Timmons, Mosaic President and CEO
Sunday, July 26 will mark the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. The ADA was a monumental step to promote full inclusion for people with disabilities. We know that people with disabilities have the same hopes and dreams as others across this great nation. The ADA affirmed the rights of accessibility and workplace accommodation without discrimination.
I have often said that the disability rights movement is akin to the civil rights movement. In fact, the ADA was modeled after the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The notion of equal opportunity for people with disabilities seems natural and right to those of us who are engaged in the ministry of Mosaic because connection and respect are two of our core values. But for the general public, the passage of the ADA was sometimes viewed as a radical idea.
Mosaic believes in the full inclusion of all people. As part of our little "a" and big "A" advocacy, we bring this issue to the forefront in both big and small ways. The ADA provides protection for people in terms of employment, participation in certain government programs and assures access to things like housing and public spaces.
Curb cuts, grab bars, and wheelchair accessible public transportation help to open doors to a full life in the community. On a symbolic level, they are a good reminder that everyone has the right to participate without added barriers.
The truth is, many of us benefit from changes that promote full inclusion. Parents of young children are grateful for the accessible sidewalks and larger bathroom stalls. Aging baby boomers appreciate ramps instead of steps. If you travel in Europe, you quickly realize how much these adaptations make the environments easier for all of us to access.
Initially many of the changes brought by the ADA were thought to be radical but have now become part of our everyday life. We can only wonder why we didn’t think of them sooner.
“I owe him my … career.”
Wednesday, July 15, 2015
This was posted a few months ago on Facebook by Blake West, a Direct Support Associate at Mosaic in Northern Colorado. The person supported had been with Mosaic for many years and was moving to be with family in another state. With Blake’s permission, it is shared here.
“So tonight is one of the most bittersweet moments in my life.... A client who I have served for about 5 years on and off is moving to a different state and it has me in tears because of how much I love this person. I thought when entering the field of special needs health care that I would have a lot to teach the people I served and boy was I wrong. I literally had no idea how to take care of another person much less help them personally grow as an adult.
“This special individual single-handedly shaped me into a professional care provider through trial and error. He showed me how to use love and compassion to help create an environment that was suitable for personal growth. This individual would melt my heart with some of the kindest words anyone has ever said to me and then the next minute he would have me peeing my pants because his sense of humor is just that good. J I love this person with all my heart and I owe him my entire professional health care career. I am going to miss everything about our interactions but I am so excited that he gets to move to a state that makes this population a priority. Colorado is the 49th out of the 50 states for funding special needs programs.... wake up Colorado.... I can't wait to help the next client that comes my way and can't wait for this person to help teach another health care provider about love and compassion.
“Ugghhhhh tears are flowing tonight. J”
Employees who bring their head and heart to work every day are invaluable.
Ambassadors’ “Mosaic and Me Expo”
Monday, July 20, 2015
May 27 was a great evening at Mosaic in Colorado Springs because it was the first business expo, sponsored by Ambassadors, at the agency. Lisa Carroll and Matt Watkins became Ambassadors over the last six months. They helped coordinate the expo and came up with the name "Mosaic and Me Expo." There where ten display tables set up, and two speakers gave 30-minute presentations on brain optimization and relieving stress in your life. Attendees included staff, members of the Arc, parents of people in service, and Ambassadors. Ambassadors hope to include more of the community in the future.
Highlights of the event included Ease-e Medical's participation to help spread their word in Colorado Springs, a welcome talk by Executive Director Cheryl Wicks, a craft table where an Ambassador helped people build flag mobiles using painted tongue depressors, a food cart serving brats, and a Discover the Possibilities story time where three people in service told their story. One of the storytellers stood in front of a group of people for the first time. She said she is 43 years old and voted for the first time in the last election because of Mosaic's help and received thunderous applause from the people in the room.
About 30 people attended the two-hour event. It was offered as a way for Ambassadors to network with each other and with Mosaic staff.
Contributed by Gayle Gross, Community Relations Manager at Mosaic in Colorado Springs.
"I feel God wants me here."
For John Coleman, working with the population Mosaic serves is personal.
In 2007, John graduated from Indiana State with a bachelor’s in exercise science. The local economy was down so he went to work at Walmart for a year.
John’s sister is a single mother of a little girl with autism. She asked John to come to Illinois to help with his then four-year-old niece, Isabella. He agreed.
“I’ve always been around people with disabilities but I didn’t understand the full spectrum. My niece is nonverbal. She was scratching, biting and screaming and after the first night, I told my sister I don’t know if I can do this,” he said.
But he stayed for a year. Getting to know his niece better, how she communicated, her strengths and abilities.
“She opened my eyes to how bright an individual with autism is. I was understanding the spectrum and how she expresses herself. She likes colors and numbers. It made me appreciate life even more. Here I can speak – she can’t but she does as much as anyone else. She’s no different. Someone with a disability can be very bright and have special gifts,” John said.
After spending that year with his sister and niece in Illinois, John moved back to Michiana. He took a job in Saint Joseph, Mich. working with higher functioning adults. He used his experience working with his niece and his education to provide a meaningful day to those individuals.
“I thought out of the box. If they did not want to exercise on the bike, I looked at what was their niche, how can I get them to exercise,” he said.
John was training to become a manager but cut it short with a move back to South Bend. His father had dementia and he wanted to be the one to care for him.
He worked for a nonprofit that also provides services to people with intellectual disabilities. He again used out-of-the-box techniques to assist individuals in finding paying employment. John was happy with his position but not the company he worked for.
Someone told him about Mosaic, knowing he was a religious person and a hard worker.
“I went to a job fair at Bethel and went by the Mosaic booth. I set up an interview and checked out the website. I was blown away. The mission hits right on. That’s what the guy upstairs wants us to do. The company is truly who they say they are. The energy in the office, everyone loves their job, it’s good to see. It’s nice to make these individuals feel like everyone else. We are not trying to make money. Staff can speak freely about religion without feeling uncomfortable. We work as a team,” he said.
Even though John’s degree is in a different field, he says he has found a career that makes him happy. He feels fulfilled with the work being done through Mosaic and the progress he has seen in individuals over the past year.
“I feel God wants me here. Everything has pointed me to this job in my life. People say nothing but good things about Mosaic. I will be here the rest of my life. It’s never been about a paycheck but how to give back to individuals. It’s the best job because you’re making an impact on their lives and they make an impact on our lives. Every day I love my job and what I do. They make you smile or laugh when you’re having a bad day,” he said.
Submitted by Danielle Miller, Public Relations Specialist at Mosaic in Northern Indiana. For a full-size photo of John and Isabella, click on the image.