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Project Independence helps people with developmental
disabilities find jobs, develop friendships, and live independently.

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PROJECT INDEPENDENCE CLIENT VICTORIA TRAN TEST DRIVES CARR MANUFACTURING

Costa Mesa, California, March 23, 2021 – Nonprofit Project Independence of Costa Mesa is pleased to announce that client Victoria Tran has joined the staff of Carr Manufacturing Company, Inc. in Lake Forest. Her new job was secured through Project Independence’s Supported Employment program and job coach Sohalia Naeimypou. The nonprofit serves its clients by having job developers continually seek corporate partners looking to build a stronger community  by employing adults living with developmental disabilities. Carr owner Michelle Carraway says she knew their need for someone with the patience and focus that Victoria displayed would be a great addition to her team. Now they  are looking for other places where another PI client would find purpose and independence. As for Victoria, Sohalia couldn’t be prouder of how quickly she has taken to her job responsibilities. “Victoria might be wearing her safety mask, but I can always tell that she is smiling beneath it,” she says. The Supported Employment program develops jobs and then matches up the skills of clients to the needs of the employers. From orientation, skills training and commute scheduling, to detailed job duties and supervisor contact, the organization fuels stability in the employer and employee relationship.  It provides whatever the person needs to be successful, from extra training, establishing priorities and creating task schedules, to educating employees at the job site and building natural supports. Project Independence has more than four decades of service and stability in Orange County. Eighty-seven cents of every dollar raised by the nonprofit goes directly to support vital programs for people with developmental disabilities.  For additional information, please visit www.proindependence.org.

DAILY PILOT RENEWS SPONSORSHIP OF ANNUAL PROJECT INDEPENDENCE WALK FOR INDEPENDENCE

Costa Mesa, California, Feb.2, 2021 – Nonprofit Project Independence of Costa Mesa has announced that the Costa Mesa-based Daily Pilot newspaper will again be the media sponsor for the 12th Annual Walk for Independence fundraising event, which is set for October 2, 2021, during National Disability Employment Awareness Month. The commitment includes two half-page ads that will list the names of all sponsors and include a description of the event and the mission of Project Independence. In turn, the nonprofit will feature the Daily Pilot name prominently in social media, publicity and elsewhere. Funds raised from the walk will help support the organization’s Independent Living, Supported Employment, and Day Program services that support more than 600 adults. More than 400 people are anticipated to participate the event that raised more than $50,000 last year. Because of COVID-19, the 2020 edition of the walk celebration was held virtually and included inspirational videos, prizes, a virtual auction and more. More than $50,000 was raised. “We thank our friends at the Daily Pilot for helping us get the word out about our walk that celebrates independent living for people with developmental disabilities,” said Project Independence CEO and President Debra Marsteller.  “Thank you to all of our other sponsors and to our walkers, as well.” Project Independence has more than four decades of service and stability in Orange County as a lifeline to adults with developmental disabilities who are now at even greater risk because of the pandemic. The essential workers who comprise the Project Independence staff continue to serve clients despite challenges brought on by COVID-19. To become a 2021 walk sponsor, please contact Director of Development Todd Eckert at Todd@Proindependence.org or 714-549-3464. In 2020, the walk’s title sponsor was One Metro West. Other Project Independence sponsors were Home Depot, Bridgford Foods, Mitsubishi Electric, Union Bank, Advanced Dental, Serv-Wel Disposal and Recycling, Virtual Office Solution and Honest-1 Auto Service. Conducting the workout sessions was the Art of Strength Fitness of Irvine. Eighty-seven cents of every dollar raised by Project Independence goes directly to support vital programs for people with developmental disabilities. For additional information, please visit www.proindependence.org

Project Independence’s Client Tran Test Drives Carr Manufacturing

The Project Independence Supported Employment program successfully matches a job with someone with a developmental disability like Victoria. Dan Pittman, Neighbor Posted Tue, Mar 23, 2021 at 9:50 am PT Nonprofit Project Independence (PI) of Costa Mesa is pleased to announce that the organization’s client Victoria Tran has joined the staff of Carr Manufacturing Company, Inc. in Lake Forest. Her new job was secured through Project Independence’s Supported Employment program and job coach Sohalia Naeimypou. The nonprofit serves its clients by having job developers continually seek corporate partners looking to build a stronger community by employing adults living with developmental disabilities. Carr owner Michelle Carraway says she knew their need for someone with the patience and focus that Victoria displayed would be a great addition to her team. Now they are looking for other places where another PI client would find purpose and independence. As for Victoria, Sohalia couldn’t be prouder of how quickly she has taken to her job responsibilities. “Victoria might be wearing her safety mask, but I can always tell that she is smiling beneath it,” she says. The Supported Employment program develops jobs and then matches up the skills of clients to the needs of the employers. From orientation, skills training and commute scheduling, to detailed job duties and supervisor contact, the organization fuels stability in the employer and employee relationship. It provides whatever the person needs to be successful, from extra training, establishing priorities and creating task schedules, to educating employees at the job site and building natural supports. Project Independence has more than four decades of service and stability in Orange County. Eighty-seven cents of every dollar raised by the nonprofit goes directly to support vital programs for people with developmental disabilities. For additional information, please visit www.proindependence.org.

Nonprofit delivers holiday cheer

Thursday, January 14, 2021  Project Independence, a nonprofit in Costa Mesa, wrapped and delivered thousands of everyday items to adults with developmental disabilities over the holidays. Along with hundreds of dollars in cash and gift cards, the organization’s volunteers brought games and myriad household products to its clients. Many of the items were donated by users of the website nextdoor.com, according to a statement from the nonprofit, while Vandana and Vineet Unadkat, the owners of the Simple Greek restaurant in Fullerton, prepared and donated 100 meals to the cause.                             Project Independence staffer Meka Green, right, and her daughter, Kimora, prepare deliveries to clients for the holidays. (LEFT) “Both Vandana and I are very thankful for the opportunity that we are getting to give back to our community through this partnership with Project Independence,” Vineet Unadket said. In addition to the holiday deliveries, Project Independence hosted an online party via Zoom in December. More than 50 people participated and took their chances with raffles for backpacks donated by Jean Kim and Amazon and Target gift cards donated by the Shubin family. For more information or to donate to Project Independence, visit proindependence.org

COVID Vaccinations For People With Disabilities

The state of California announced Friday that healthcare providers will be able to start vaccinating those with compromised immune systems and disabilities starting March 15. Healthcare providers may use their clinical judgment to vaccinate individuals age 16 to 64 who are deemed to be at the very highest risk for morbidity and mortality from COVID-19 as a direct result of one or more of the following severe health conditions: Cancer, current with debilitated or immunocompromised state Chronic kidney disease, stage 4 or above Chronic pulmonary disease, oxygen-dependent Down syndrome Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant Pregnancy Sickle cell disease Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies (excludes hypertension) Severe obesity (Body Mass Index ≥ 40 kg/m2) Type 2 diabetes mellitus with hemoglobin A1c level greater than 7.5% The new guidance also allows vaccinations for people with developmental or severe disabilities that leave that at high-risk if they are infected including the following: The individual is likely to develop severe life-threatening illness or death from COVID-19 infection Acquiring COVID-19 will limit the individual’s ability to receive ongoing care or services vital to their well-being and survival Providing adequate and timely COVID care will be particularly challenging as a result of the individual’s disability Currently, vaccines may be distributed to populations identified in Phase 1A and Phase 1B, Tier 1. and Phase 1B, Tier 1.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS FOR DDS DIRECTIVE 01-083120: ALTERNATIVE NONRESIDENTIAL SERVICES (ALTERNATIVE SERVICES)

1. What are Alternative Nonresidential Services (Alternative Services)? Alternative Services is a way for consumers to receive nonresidential services that may have been disrupted by the COVID-19 State of Emergency. Service providers can offer supports that differ from their traditional program design and respond to any new needs and interests that have emerged as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some examples are: • Delivering food, personal protective equipment • Delivering packets, equipment and supplies for activities and remote learning • Wellness checks and discussion about current events • Collaborative meetings to plan upcoming events • Pre-recorded or live video classes to learn new skills • Assisting with networking and development of employment and micro-enterprising opportunities • Supporting set up, training and use of technology devices 2. Are Alternative Services required? No. This is an option that can be used to support the needs of consumers when services cannot be provided as they were before COVID-19. 3. Which vendors can provide Alternative Services? Vendors of most nonresidential services, as defined in Section 54302(a)(49) may provide Alternative Services, however there are some that do not fit the model, such as Home Modification or Vehicle Modification. DDS will be providing a list of service codes to clarify. 4. Will each vendor have to choose if they are going to provide all traditional or Alternative Services, or can it be determined on an individual consumer basis? The service delivery mode and types of services provided are based on the needs of each consumer. A vendor may provide traditional services to a portion of the consumers served and Alternative Services to other consumers; however, any Alternative Services provided to a consumer in a given month would result in billing using the Alternative Services monthly rate. 5. What are some examples of “Use of self-guided training and educational materials supplied to the consumer by the provider intended to support the consumer’s service?” If there is agreement and a benefit to the consumer, the service provider may prepare activities for the consumer to initiate at a time most convenient for the consumer. The materials may be assembled by the service provider and delivered to the person in a variety of methods. Some examples are supply kits delivered to the consumers home, a written workbook or lesson plan emailed to the consumer, and a pre-recorded video to be retrieved online. 6. Can services be provided during flexible hours? Yes. Services can be provided at any hours that benefit the consumer. 7. What is an individual service plan (ISP)? An ISP is a plan informed by the consumer and prepared by the provider that identifies and describes the services that will be provided to support the person’s needs, goals and objectives. The format may vary by provider and type of service, and some may refer to it as a treatment plan, plan of care, etc. 8. Is an individual program plan (IPP) meeting of the interdisciplinary team needed to initiate Alternative Services? No, it is not needed to initiate Alternative Services. 9. Can Alternative Services apply to Supported Employment? Yes. Providers of Supported Employment services may provide Alternative Services to consumer if traditional services can not be provided. 10. Can Alternative Services apply to Transportation Services? Yes. Providers of Transportation services may provide Alternative Services to consumers when traditional services can not be provided. Based on stakeholder input, DDS is reviewing to determine if there are adjustments to the alternative service model that may further support consumer and community needs. Any change will be provided through amended guidance. 11. Where can I find more information about the Self-Determination program? Interested consumers, families, or others are encouraged to visit the Self-Determination Program website to find out more information about California’s Self-Determination Program. Individuals may also contact their regional center to find out the date of the next local volunteer advisory committee meeting. For Families and Consumers 1. What service types are covered by the Alternative Services directive? This Directive applies to many non-residential services, including services provided by day programs, early intervention, and transportation, etc. Because of state and local health rules, these providers may not be able to provide the same services they did before COVID-19. The Directive provides information about how to provide alternative services to meet consumer’s current needs. The Directive does not apply when a provider can provide the same services, which meet the consumer’s needs, either in the way they were provided before COVID-19 or in a different location or via remote delivery. For example, a day program that provides the same services virtually and these virtual services meet a consumer’s needs, is not providing alternative services. Similarly, individual therapy services which can be provided in a clinic that follows required safety protocols are not Alternative Services. 2. When can Alternative Services begin? Alternative Services can start as early as September 2020. The provider shall engage the consumer about his or her need for and interest in Alternative Services as an option. If the consumer is interested in using Alternative Services, the provider must notify the regional center. The consumer must also receive a copy of a new or revised service plan. 3. What must providers do if they are providing Alternative Services? The provider must do the following: • Make sure the Alternative Services meet a consumer’s current needs. • Engage with consumers and families about their service needs and the use of alternative services. • Follow state and local health orders and licensing requirements. • Train their staff and consumers on safe delivery of in-person services, if in-person services are provided. • Be creative, resourceful, and make modifications to how services are provided . 4. How will providers be expected to engage consumers and families about their service needs? Providers are expected to facilitate an inclusive and individualized implementation of the Alternative Services directive. • The provider must engage with each consumer to find out if he or she needs and is interested in alternative services. You can decide if these services […]

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