Legislative Action Alert
Support Funding for Assistive Technology Loan and Youth Leadership Network Programs
Contact your state legislators and urge them to support funding for the Assistive Technology Independent Living and REquipment Programs, and Youth Leadership Network.
Legislative Priorities for 2017
1. Easter Seals will seek to add $500,000 to The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission’s (MRC) budget line item 4120-4000.
This increase will cover the operating expenses for the Massachusetts Assistive Technology Loan (MA AT Loan) Program and fully fund the Youth Leadership Network.
The Massachusetts Assistive Technology Loan Program, operated by Easter Seals Massachusetts, is an alternative financing project that gives people with disabilities and elders access to low interest cash loans to purchase assistive devices and services. The program has provided over 750 loans valued at over $13.9 million dollars for the past 12 years many to people who don’t think they would qualify for a loan. The program is running out of funding and needs $250,000 to cover its yearly operating budget. http://www.easterseals.com/ma/our-programs/assistive-technology/loan-programs.html
The Youth Leadership Network (YLN) is a year round program for transition aged youth with disabilities aged 16 to 21 to engage youth in activities that will help them develop the necessary leadership skills to advocate for themselves and the disability community at large. Over 100 youth with disabilities participated in 45 events in FY16. The YLN was created to offer continued engagement to participants of the Massachusetts Youth Leadership Forum, and any other young adult with a disability who wanted an ongoing platform to exercise their leadership and advocacy skills. The YLN needs $250,000 to become fully funded and to provide needed services to the Lawrence/Lowell and Framingham areas which currently have no networks. http://www.easterseals.com/ma/our-programs/youth-services/youth-services.html
2. Easter Seals will seek to increase the commonwealth’s commitment to the employment of people with disabilities.
In adolescence, young men and women begin to define their self-image and how they want others to see them. It can be an especially difficult time for those with disabilities. Consequently, youth with disabilities frequently have lower self-esteem and self-confidence than their non-disabled peers, inhibiting participation in extra-curricular activities, work and other social interactions. Youth programs have proven successful in helping adolescents build self-esteem and self-confidence; however, most of these programs are not open to youth with disabilities, especially severe disabilities, because of the programs’ lack of experience and understanding of disability and the issues these young men and women face. Through our leadership program we promote activities that increase leadership opportunities for youth. For more information, please go to this link: http://www.easterseals.com/ma/our-programs/youth-services/youth-services.html
We will now work to get the state to require companies who contract with the Executive Offices of the Commonwealth to commit to hiring people with disabilities and training all employees involved in hiring decisions on the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. We will also advocate to have the state hire more people with disabilities as state employees and continue to be a Model Employer. For more information, please go to this link: https://sites.google.com/site/h136employmentbill/
3. Easter Seals will support legislation and regulations that provide opportunities for youth with disabilities to better understand their personal abilities, expand the possibilities they see for themselves and support their transition from school to post-school activities.
We will advocate to the legislators to fund the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission’s Youth Leadership Network so it can become fully funded and provide needed services to the Lawrence/Lowell and Framingham areas which currently have no networks.
Easter Seals Massachusetts strongly encourages everyone to vote.
Easter Seals Massachusetts is a member of the Disability Voting Task Force and encourages people with disabilities to register to vote, to get educated on the candidates and issues, and to get to the polls on Election Day, November 8, 2016! http://revupma.org/wp/
You can find out how to register to vote here: https://www.sec.state.ma.us/ovr/
Voting information for people with disabilities:http://www.sec.state.ma.us/ele/eleaccessible/accessibleidx.htm
Your State Senator and Representative can be found at this site: malegislature.gov
You can search online for any disability issue at this site:https://www.disabilityinfo.org/
Massachusetts Office on Disability, DISABILITY RIGHTS LAWS IN MASSACHUSETTS (PDF): http://www.mass.gov/anf/docs/mod/disability-law-booklet.pdf
List of the Massachusetts Independent Living Centers: http://www.masilc.org/membership/cils