On March 17th, INARF’s 2015 Annual Conference “Don’t Stop Believin’ – OUR Journey Forward” was a concert of epic proportions featuring highly recognized industry experts from the Hoosier state and beyond. The more than 350 attendees were able to learn new and innovative approaches to providing services to individuals with disabilities and network with their peers.
Three days of hit sessions started with a Keynote by the Andrew, Michael, and Craig Peterson – sharing their family’s journey in not just meeting but surpassing all expectations. Their poignant story struck a chord with attendees and inspired all to think about their impact in lives of the individuals and families they support.
Following the Keynote, each individual session was its own hit! Attendees were able to interact with presenters, like Meridian Health Services’ Deceil Moore who led “Tools for the Journey: How to Navigate Dual Diagnosis Behavior” and Self-Advocates of Indiana’s Melody Cooper who walked participants through the options that could support the individuals with disabilities in their community. Sessions like “Staff Engagement and Connection with a Multigenerational Workplace” and the TED Talk facilitated discussion “The Way We Think About Charity is Dead Wrong” also received a standing ovation. There was something for everyone!
Like any great concert, INARF’s 2015 Annual Conference ended with an encore. As a member of the Annual Conference Planning Workgroup and representative of the INARF Board of Directors, Pam Verbarg of Wabash Center narrated the meaning of the theme, highlighting first the journey of the workgroup in planning the largest event of the year and ending by connecting the parallels between this year’s theme and our industry. INARF thanks all attendees, speakers, sponsors, and exhibitors for helping make the conference a success. Look for information soon to save the date for the INARF’s 2016 Annual Conference!
The INARF 2015 Annual Conference Gets Off to a Running Start
INARF Board Chair Steve Sacksteder opened the 2015 Annual Conference by welcoming attendees and recounting the Association’s accomplishments made possible through the investment and participation of our members. Mr. Sacksteder was joined by INARF President/CEO Kim Opsahl who echoed his comments, sharing what a great honor it is to serve the many dedicated agencies and professionals represented by INARF’s membership. She added that INARF’s “Journey” has been, and will continue to be, shaped by all of those involved in the membership. She concluded by welcoming Bob Coles from INARF Conference Partner Meridian Health Services to share insight into the Dual-Diagnosis “mix tape” they prepared for Wednesday’s attendees.
At the conclusion of the opening remarks, Craig, Michael, and Andrew Peterson kicked off the Keynote Presentation by sharing their very personal and powerful family journey. Both born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Michael and Andrew spent years in foster care before Craig had the privilege of becoming their parent. With a focus on family, positivity, love and quality, Mr. Anderson and his family have overcome their challenges and risen to be leaders in self advocacy for individuals with disabilities.
For his part, Michael – the younger of the two brothers – used music to share his struggles to move away from bad habits and push forward. He also related the positive and not so positive experiences of traversing the service delivery system.
Twenty-two year old Andrew was not expected to be able to walk or talk. His journey pushed him past those bleak expectations by earning 25 gold medals in state competitions and three gold medals in the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games for running events. Through perseverance, hard work, dedication and the support of family and others, he was able to overcome adversity and accomplish his goals. He is now an accomplished runner and speaks to thousands of people about his experiences. Andrew’s message to the audience was simple, “Show everyone that each person with intellectual and developmental disabilities is NOT a nobody, but a somebody.”
The Petersons called on all of attendees to make a difference- one person at a time. With that message, attendees began their own “Journey” to impacting change.
Five Outstanding Awardees Honored at INARF’s 2015 Annual Awards Program
The 2015 INARF Annual Awards Program paid tribute to four exemplary Individuals and one outstanding organization on March 17. The INARF Annual Awards has been an Association tradition for many years. This yearly opportunity enables INARF members to recognize the significant contributions and exceptional efforts of individuals and community partners committed to improving the lives of individuals with disabilities.
The 2015 Partnership Award went to Fastenal for their support of Easter Seals Crossroads and individuals with disabilities. In 2013, Fastenal contacted Easter Seals Crossroads to inquire about hiring individuals with disabilities. Daniel Huff, from the Human Resources department of the company, was passionate about doing what it takes to ensure that the individuals hired would be successful. The company was open to accommodations, job trials, and even internships for adults and transitioning students. Later, Fastenal expanded its initiatives by exhibiting at an Easter Seals Crossroads Career Expo and connecting with other employment providers. The majority of individuals with disabilities hired by Fastenal are still employed to this day.
James Van Dyke, Former Executive Director of New Hope of Indiana, was honored with the prestigious James M. Hammond III Award for excellence in leadership in the Human Services Industry. Jim served as the Executive Director of St. Vincent New Hope (now New Hope of Indiana) for 15 years. In that time, he built a reputation for being able to balance his strong business acumen with his compassion for the people he served and his dedication to New Hope's Mission. When the quality service delivery he demanded was no longer practical as part of a larger health organization, he arranged a separation that allowed New Hope of Indiana to continue to flourish. An active leader with INARF, Jim served two terms on the Board of Directors, Chaired the Community Supports Professional Interest Section for nearly a decade and a half, and served on several committees. Although retired since October of 2014, he remains a presence in INARF and continues to mentor New Hope of Indiana’s leadership team.
Deb Hufty, a Senior DSP for Wabash Center, Inc., was recognized with theKeystone Award for outstanding service by a Direct Support Professional. Deb began her career at Wabash Center in 2010. She is described by her supervisors as their “rock,” because she can be depended upon to handle any situation with competence and compassion. Perhaps best demonstrating this was when a family requested that she accompany a client to Disney World, a trip that would require months of preparation and planning due to his high support needs. Although there were many barriers to this, Deb persevered, and made his dream a reality. According to the client’s sister, “I trust Deb with his life on a daily basis and I rest confident knowing that he is getting the best possible care.”
Terry Moreland, a client of Four Rivers Resource Services, Inc., received theJustin Dart Personal Achievement Award for his service to his community and advocacy for people with disabilities. A member of several advocacy groups, Terry is an outspoken champion for individual rights. He can regularly be seen monitoring buildings and public spaces for compliance with ADA standards. Terry also volunteers for the Salvation Army and serves on Four Rivers Resource Services’ Human Rights Committee.
In addition to the award recipients noted above, INARF was proud to recognize Ashley Tuckey from Noble of Indiana as an outstanding Direct Support Professional (DSP) with the Costa N. Miller Scholarship Award. Established on behalf of INARF's founding CEO, the Costa N. Miller Scholarship was created in 1999 to assist DSPs pursuing higher education to benefit the human service industry. The recipients of the award must be employed for a minimum of two years at an INARF member agency, be enrolled in an undergraduate program, and have a grade-point-average of at least 2.0.
Record Numbers Attend the Membership Reception and Dinner
This year’s Membership Reception and Dinner was another of the remixed hit singles that contributed to this year's Annual Concert. Tuesday evening’s reception and dinner drew a record number of attendees, an increase of fifty-two individuals over last year, and filled the concert hall to capacity.
The reception provided many the opportunity to warm up over beverages before the featured program began. Steve Sacksteder, INARF Board Chair, welcomed the audience and Jane Wear, INARF Board Development Chair, to the podium to recognize outgoing INARF Board members, Jill Dunn, Marie Dausch, Suzi Rinne, Dan Griffin and Jonathan Burlison, for their many contributions and service as Board members. In addition, she recognized the incoming Board members Rick Adams, Leslie Green, Jason Meyer, and Ann Robertson. Next in the lineup, Steve Cook was honored with a Special Leadership Award, followed by the presentation of a Career Leadership Award presented by Patrick Sandy and Suzi Rinne to Debra McCarty on behalf of her husband, Steve Savage, for his many contributions to INARF and the industry.
Following a brief intermission, the audience heard from featured dinner speaker, Abdul Hakim-Shabazz, who has been covering and writing about national, state, and local government in Indiana since 2004. Abdul has more than 20 years of experience in writing and talking about the issues that affect real people. He used the podium on Tuesday evening in his solo act sharing his insight into the 2015 Legislative Session, reaching beyond the headlines and behind the hallways.
At the conclusion on the evening’s performance, INARF President/CEO Kim Opsahl thanked everyone for spending their evening recognizing leaders in our industry and wished everyone a (sham)rockin St. Patrick’s Day.
Beginning OUR Journey for INARF’s 2016 Annual Conference
The INARF Annual Conference Work Group strives to offer high quality professional development programming and unique networking opportunities. As we continue OUR Journey Forward in planning next year’s event, your feedback and input matters whether you were in attendance or not. If you have not already done so, we respectfully request that you take a moment to complete the Annual Conference Survey that was sent to you on Thursday, March 19th. Thank you.
Thank you to our conference sponsors!
Achieva Resources Corporation, Inc.
Alicia M. Boyd, CPA
Benchmark Human Services
Blue & Co., LLC
Blue River Services, Inc.
Bridges of Indiana, Inc.
California Connection Catering
Cardinal Services, Inc.
Crowe Horwath LLP
Dungarvin Indiana, LLC
Easter Seals Crossroads
Four Rivers Resource Services, Inc.
Hall, Render, Killian, Heath & Lyman, P.C.
Hillcroft Services, Inc.
LegisGroup Public Affairs, LLC
LOGAN Community Resources, Inc.
Opportunity Enterprises, Inc.
Pathfinder Services, Inc.
Philadelphia Insurance Companies
Planning Plus, LLC
Smart Partners Alliance, Inc.
Stone Belt Arc, Inc.
Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP
The Arc Master Trust
The Columbus Organization
The National Bank of Indianapolis
Young at Heart Pharmacy
Thank you to our conference partner: Meridian Health Services
INARF was proud to partner with Meridian Health Services. This collaboration provided conference attendees with the opportunity to participate in a dedicated educational track addressing dual-diagnosis issues.
INARF thanks Meridian Health Services for their commitment to the 2015 Annual Conference!