Category Archives: Society: Disabled Issues / Disabilities

The Latest news about what is effecting those with Disabilities in North America, These PR articles, bring the newest technologies, initiatives and helpful tools to those who need them.

NutriSource Pet Foods and Finley’s Barkery Enter Into Strategic Partnership


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“We are hoping that our partnership will be the catalyst for others…”

NutriSource Pet Foods, one of America’s most beloved and trusted pet brands, and Finley’s Barkery, a premium pet brand bringing inclusion to the pet industry through employment and giving initiatives, today announced a strategic product development and manufacturing partnership that will bring together the respective strengths of each company to produce high quality pet treats and provide employment opportunities and support to the disability community.

Under the partnership, NutriSource will provide an interest free bridge loan to Finley’s, assist in the development of new products and produce Finley’s Functional Benefit Bars at NutriSource’s ultra-modern manufacturing facility in Delano, MN. Finley’s brings their mission and passion to serve those with developmental and physical disabilities while delivering on the brand promise of products customers love, ingredients they trust and a mission everyone can benefit from. The two companies will join forces to employ those with disabilities and identify opportunities to support people and pets in need.

The collaboration was sparked when Charlie Nelson, CEO of KLN Family Brands, the parent company of NutriSource, viewed a television report three years ago on Finley’s unique mission to provide employment opportunities to those in the disability community through the production of pet treats. While the timing for both companies wasn’t right for a collaboration then, Nelson and Finley’s founders, Kyle and Angie Gallus, committed to seeking future opportunities. The opening of Tuffy’s new facility in 2020 and growth at Finley’s provided the impetus for the partnership that will see products roll off the line in Fall, 2021.

“Our company has been producing pet foods for nearly 60 years and we’ve never forgotten the help we’ve gotten along the way,” said Nelson. “We feel privileged to pay that support forward by assisting Finley’s in their mission to provide premium pet treats and employment opportunities to those who just need an opportunity to show their talents and abilities.”

As two former special education teachers, Finley’s co-founders Angie and Kyle saw an opportunity to serve a greater purpose through our pets. In 2016, they launched Finley’s, named after their resilient rescue pup and CTO (Chief Treat Officer). Finley’s goal is to create paid employment opportunities for people with disabilities while dedicating 50% of net profits to initiatives providing employment training, accessibility, health & wellness, and advocacy platforms for people with disabilities.

“We are hoping that our partnership will be the catalyst for other companies to see the importance of inclusion and the potential of the disability community,” said Angie Gallus. “With growth of brand awareness and revenue, we will be able to serve people not only with employment but financially through our giving initiatives. It shows when organizations come together to put people first, it sends a clear message to the industry of what is important. Now more than ever, these partnerships are what customers want to see. It’s not about giving dollars; it’s about putting those dollars to work to serve people in need.”

About Tuffy’s Pet Foods/NutriSource Pet Foods

Tuffy’s Pet Foods, Inc. specializes in the manufacturing of dry dog and cat food. The company was founded by Darrell “Tuffy” Nelson in 1964 and is family-owned and operated to this day. Tuffy’s is based out of Perham, MN and is best known for the production its brand of its flagship brand NutriSource Pet Foods products and operates as a subsidiary of KLN Enterprises, Inc. Tuffy’s has a long history of investing in the health and well-being of pets throughout the world.

Visit https://nutrisourcepetfoods.com/

About Finley’s Barkery

At Finley’s, we like to think that we learn a lot from our pets. They love unconditionally, have good intuition and give everyone an equal opportunity to be a companion. That simple lesson has become our greater purpose. We make our pet treats with just a few all-natural ingredients and a whole lot of kindness. In fact, 50% of our net-profits go to help fellow community members with disabilities gain confidence and independence through paid work experiences learning critical thinking, social and financial skills that will empower them for a lifetime. Serving pets and supporting others is truly a rewarding treat. To learn more about Finley’s products and mission, please visit http://www.getfinleys.com or follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

For more information Contact: Angie Gallus angie@finleysbarkery.com 952.994.0678

About KLN Family Brands

A third-generation family-owned company, KLN Family Brands is located in Perham, MN and is comprised of Tuffy’s Pet Foods and Tuffy’s Treat Company, manufacturers of NutriSource® and Kenny’s Candy & Confections. Tuffy’s has been proudly producing quality pet foods since 1964. Kenny’s Candy & Confections, established in 2015, produces great snack brands that include Wiley Wallaby® and Sweet Chaos®. For more information on KLN Family Brands please visit http://www.klnfamilybrands.com.

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NutriSource Pet Foods and Finley’s Bakery Enter Into Strategic Partnership


News Image

“We are hoping that our partnership will be the catalyst for others…”

NutriSource Pet Foods, one of America’s most beloved and trusted pet brands, and Finley’s Barkery, a premium pet brand bringing inclusion to the pet industry through employment and giving initiatives, today announced a strategic product development and manufacturing partnership that will bring together the respective strengths of each company to produce high quality pet treats and provide employment opportunities and support to the disability community.

Under the partnership, NutriSource will provide an interest free bridge loan to Finley’s, assist in the development of new products and produce Finley’s Functional Benefit Bars at NutriSource’s ultra-modern manufacturing facility in Delano, MN. Finley’s brings their mission and passion to serve those with developmental and physical disabilities while delivering on the brand promise of products customers love, ingredients they trust and a mission everyone can benefit from.  The two companies will join forces to employ those with disabilities and identify opportunities to support people and pets in need.

The collaboration was sparked when Charlie Nelson, CEO of KLN Family Brands, the parent company of NutriSource, viewed a television report three years ago on Finley’s unique mission to provide employment opportunities to those in the disability community through the production of pet treats. While the timing for both companies wasn’t right for a collaboration then, Nelson and Finley’s founders, Kyle and Angie Gallus, committed to seeking future opportunities. The opening of Tuffy’s new facility in 2020 and growth at Finley’s provided the impetus for the partnership that will see products roll off the line in Fall, 2021.

“Our company has been producing pet foods for nearly 60 years and we’ve never forgotten the help we’ve gotten along the way,” said Nelson. “We feel privileged to pay that support forward by assisting Finley’s in their mission to provide premium pet treats and employment opportunities to those who just need an opportunity to show their talents and abilities.”  

As two former special education teachers, Finley’s co-founders Angie and Kyle saw an opportunity to serve a greater purpose through our pets. In 2016, they launched Finley’s, named after their resilient rescue pup and CTO (Chief Treat Officer). Finley’s goal is to create paid employment opportunities for people with disabilities while dedicating 50% of net profits to initiatives providing employment training, accessibility, health & wellness, and advocacy platforms for people with disabilities.

“We are hoping that our partnership will be the catalyst for other companies to see the importance of inclusion and the potential of the disability community,” said Angie Gallus. “With growth of brand awareness and revenue, we will be able to serve people not only with employment but financially through our giving initiatives. It shows when organizations come together to put people first, it sends a clear message to the industry of what is important. Now more than ever, these partnerships are what customers want to see. It’s not about giving dollars; it’s about putting those dollars to work to serve people in need.”

About Tuffy’s Pet Foods/NutriSource Pet Foods

Tuffy’s Pet Foods, Inc. specializes in the manufacturing of dry dog and cat food. The company was founded by Darrell “Tuffy” Nelson in 1964 and is family-owned and operated to this day. Tuffy’s is based out of Perham, MN and is best known for the production its brand of its flagship brand NutriSource Pet Foods products and operates as a subsidiary of KLN Enterprises, Inc. Tuffy’s has a long history of investing in the health and well-being of pets throughout the world.

Visit https://nutrisourcepetfoods.com/

About Finley’s Barkery

At Finley’s, we like to think that we learn a lot from our pets. They love unconditionally, have good intuition and give everyone an equal opportunity to be a companion. That simple lesson has become our greater purpose. We make our pet treats with just a few all-natural ingredients and a whole lot of kindness. In fact, 50% of our net-profits go to help fellow community members with disabilities gain confidence and independence through paid work experiences learning critical thinking, social and financial skills that will empower them for a lifetime. Serving pets and supporting others is truly a rewarding treat. To learn more about Finley’s products and mission, please visit http://www.getfinleys.com or follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

For more information Contact: Angie Gallus angie@finleysbarkery.com 952.994.0678

About KLN Family Brands

A third-generation family-owned company, KLN Family Brands is located in Perham, MN and is comprised of Tuffy’s Pet Foods and Tuffy’s Treat Company, manufacturers of NutriSource® and Kenny’s Candy & Confections. Tuffy’s has been proudly producing quality pet foods since 1964. Kenny’s Candy & Confections, established in 2015, produces great snack brands that include Wiley Wallaby® and Sweet Chaos®. For more information on KLN Family Brands please visit http://www.klnfamilybrands.com.

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Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities Announces the 2021 Fred J. Epstein Youth Achievement Award Winners


Every year the students who apply are more remarkable, and the decision process for our committee is increasingly challenging.

The 2021 Fred J Epstein Youth Achievement Awards (YAA) were presented at the Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities annual benefit on Thursday, May 13th 2021. The award, named for pioneering pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Fred J Epstein, recognizes outstanding achievements by young people with learning disabilities (LD) and ADHD. Dr. Epstein credited his significant learning disabilities as a major factor in his success and became an inspiration to children with LD.

The winner of this year’s $1,000 award is Serena Chen from Milpitas, CA. Serena was diagnosed with ADHD and additional challenges. She is the founder and coordinator of NeurodiverCity, http://www.neurodiver-city.org, an international student community website including support and information from experts on being neurodiverse. She maintained a higher than 4.0 GPA and has excelled in online coursework certifications, including Psychotherapy, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy and Psych diagnostics. Serena is an accomplished musician who plays the trumpet and piano. She has won many national and international music competitions, performed principal trumpet with the San Francisco Symphony and the National Honor Band at Carnegie Hall, and trained at some of the nation’s premier summer orchestral institutes including Boston University’s Tanglewood Institute. She looks forward to continuing her remarkable achievements this fall when she enrolls in Columbia University’s class of 2025.

Kyla Walsh from Crestwood, KY, received the $500 Special Recognition Award. Kyla’s talents and interests range from competitive horseback riding and modeling for the Helen Wells Agency, to volunteering for Equine Therapy. She is challenged with ADHD, dysgraphia, and anxiety, but did not allow her struggle with written expression (dysgraphia), to stop her from writing poems, short stories, screenplays and novels. She published a book of her poems titled Poems are my Pills and will release another book of poems this spring. Kyla won an award for her short story “Monsters,” published in Spectrum, her school’s literary magazine. She also served as creative consultant for her screenplay, Better, that was selected and produced by the Oldham County Performing Arts Center. All this while maintaining a 4.0 GPA. Kyla will major in Creative Writing in college.

Honorable Mentions were awarded to:

Ireland Bennett, Sandusky, OH. Diagnosed with ADHD and anxiety, Ireland channeled her academic frustrations and talent into artwork, creating sophisticated fashion designs and graphics. She has developed a social media presence with her Cosplay costumes, elaborate costumes of male superheroes in female form. Ireland dreams of eradicating the stigma of difference through her designs, and will continue her pursuit by studying fashion and design at Kent State University in the fall of 2021.

Edward R. Gibson, Lutherville, MD, writes, “Simply put, my teachers believed that someone couldn’t be both smart and dyslexic. This initial injustice sent me down a path of advocating for the rights of others.” In middle school, Eddie joined Decoding Dyslexia, helping to lobby Congress to pass the Research Excellence Advancement for Dyslexia Act (READ Act). He met and shared his story with Congressman Lamar Smith, the bill’s sponsor, who presented Eddie’s story on the House floor as Congress prepared to vote. This fall he will attend the University of Pennsylvania, majoring in International Relations.

Cole Perry, New Albany, OH, was diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia in third grade. Cole’s family made sacrifices to send him to a school that taught the way he learned. With a long-time interest in programming, driven by an online platform, Code Academy, Cole used technology to help him with his organizational challenges. He created a simple mobile app to enter assignments and receive prompts to do the assignments. Cole’s app “Prompt Homework” can be found on Apple and Droid app stores. Cole currently looks forward to attending a top tech university.

Lindsay Wheeler, Las Vegas, NV. Lindsay and her mom traveled to a neuropsychologist in California to discover her dyslexia diagnosis. Lindsay founded Project Dot, a non-profit that provides feminine hygiene supplies to homeless and low-income women and girls in her community. With grant funds, a website, marketing materials and partnerships with agencies in the city of Las Vegas, Lindsay coordinated the distribution of more than 5,500 Project Dot kits. Lindsay is taking a dual enrollment class at her local community college with plans to pursue a major in psychology.

Sharon Miles, the co-chair of the YAA Selection Committee stated that this year there were 103 applications from students, from 31 states. According to Sharon, “Every year the students who apply are more remarkable, and the decision process for our committee is increasingly challenging.”

About Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities, Inc.

Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities, Inc. is a Norwalk, CT-based nonprofit organization dedicated to helping parents realize their children’s significant gifts and talents, and demonstrating that with their love, guidance, and the right support, their children can live happy and productive lives. Smart Kids’ mission is to help children with learning and attention differences reach their full potential by inspiring, educating and empowering parents to help their children succeed through its educational programs, free e-newsletter and award-winning website, http://www.SmartKidswithLD.org. Honorary Board members include Former Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy, Anne Ford, and The Southport School Head, Ben Powers. Henry Winkler, Golden Globe award-winning actor, director, and author, serves as the organization’s Honorary Chairman.

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National Braille Press Announces Winner of the Touch of Genius Prize for Innovation


Being recognized by National Braille Press and its Touch of Genius committee, who value the importance of braille literacy with their knowledge and resources, will help us develop and scale up affordable literacy, productivity and independent living for the blind.” said Songpakorn Punong-ong

National Braille Press announced today that this year’s winner of the Louis Braille Touch of Genius Prize for Innovation is Songpakorn Punong-ong,40, an engineer from Phetchaburi Thailand, who created the ReadRing. The prize is a $10,000 cash award to the winner.

Mr. Punong-ong is the eldest son of a blind teacher Mr. Prayat Punong-ong, who founded the Christian Foundation for the Blind in Thailand (CFBT) and was born and raised in schools for the blind where his parents both worked.

“Being selected for the Touch of Genius Prize for Braille Innovations 2021 is a great honor for the ReadingRing mission,” said Songpakorn Punong-ong. “Being recognized by National Braille Press and its Touch of Genius committee, who value the importance of braille literacy with their knowledge and resources, will help us develop and scale up affordable literacy, productivity and independent living for the blind.”

The ReadRing is an affordable compact device, the same size as a computer mouse. It has an opening where you put your reading finger, and there is a rotary refreshable braille display that moves with your finger allowing one to continuously read braille as it streams from a wirelessly connected smartphone, computer or tablet. It can also read optical characters captured by an attached camera. This product has been in development since 2015.

Mr. Punong-ong earned his degree in Electronics Engineering from KMITL Bangkok and has spent 15 years in electrical power systems services and engineering. He learned the cost to produce braille books and the complexity of technical services for generations of students at CFBT’s schools, he started coming up with ideas of more affordable and portable solutions to allow blind people to learn and read braille in an easier way.

The Touch of Genius committee is comprised of 8 experts in the field of braille and tactile literacy from across the U.S. who have come together every year since 2007 to judge the award nominations. Committee Chair is Edward Bell, Ph.D. Director of the Professional Development and Research Institute on Blindness at Louisiana Tech University.

“It is a privilege and an honor to be part of the Touch of Genius adjudication committee working with such talented and consummate professionals. We are very proud this year to have found a product which has great promise for increasing tactile literacy of blind children and adults throughout the world,” said Bell, a resident of Ruston, LA.

“National Braille Press is grateful to all of the Touch of Genius Committee members who volunteer their time for this important program. They are passionate about discovering the newest innovations to promote braille and tactile literacy,” said Brian Mac Donald, President of National Braille Press. “The ReadRing will join the other award winners who have made a significant impact in the lives of the blind and visually impaired.”

The Touch of Genius Adjudication Committee includes: Edward Bell, Joann Becker, Frances Mary D’Andrea, Ph.D., Judy Dixon, Paul Parravano, Noel Runyan, Janet Ulwick-Sacca and Brian Mac Donald.

The Touch of Genius Prize for Innovation is provided with support from The Gibney Family Foundation that works with non-profit organizations and provides grants to help them create sustainable solutions and assist in making the non-profit world strong and connected. The Touch of Genius Prize attracts innovators from around the world in the fields of education, technology, engineering, graphics, and literacy. It fosters and rewards innovation by offering a compelling incentive to support and expand braille and tactile literacy efforts for the blind.

About National Braille Press

National Braille Press is a non-profit braille publisher and producer of braille products. NBP creates products and programs to support braille and tactile literacy in the blind community and to provide access to information that empower blind people to actively engage in work, family, and community. For more information visit http://www.nbp.org

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Gallaudet University Awarded $2 Million USAID Grant to Advance Education and Employment Opportunities for Deaf Children and Youth in Nigeria


We look forward to building on these relationships, and to collaborating with deaf, hard of hearing, and deafblind leaders and community members in Nigeria to foster awareness, advocacy, education, and employment.

Gallaudet University has been awarded a three-year, $2.05 million grant from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to support initiatives to advance education, employment, and life opportunities toward the empowerment of deaf, hard of hearing, and deafblind children and youth in the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

With this grant, Gallaudet University – along with its partners, the Nigerian National Association of the Deaf (NNAD) and Wesley University, Ondo – are launching the Deaf-E³ project.

This project was inspired by Dr. Isaac O. Agboola, a beloved Gallaudet alumnus, faculty member, and dean who passed away in 2017. Dr. Agboola had a long-held dream of self-determination for the Nigerian deaf community. According to Dr. Khadijat K. Rashid, Interim Dean of the Faculty at Gallaudet, “Dr. Agboola wanted to bring Gallaudet home to Nigeria, and Deaf-E³ fulfills that wish.”

Deaf-E³ project activities include:

  • Capacity building: NNAD and its stakeholders. Discovering Deaf Worlds, a U.S-based international deaf advocacy organization, and NNAD will conduct an initial needs assessment and stakeholder survey to identify NNAD’s organizational capacity priorities and design training modules to enhance the advocacy, leadership, and organizational capacities of NNAD and its stakeholders.
  • Training educational professionals on multimodal/multilingual pedagogical approaches to education. This research-based activity will identify best practices and identify effective training methodologies and assessments, with the goal of producing a pedagogically deaf-centric, barrier-free, and multimodal/multilingual educational programming for deaf children. The project will produce two manuals on multimodal/multilingual approaches that can be used by educational professionals nationwide.
  • Promoting best practices related to general and educational interpreting within a Nigerian context. A working group of deaf leaders and Nigerian Sign Language (NSL) interpreters will create and disseminate guidelines to effective communication by enabling deaf consumers and NSL interpreters to work more collaboratively.
  • Collaborate with USAID and its partners to increase capacity to engage with deaf, hard of hearing, and deafblind stakeholders nationwide.


Roberta J. “Bobbi” Cordano, President of Gallaudet University, said, “Gallaudet is deeply grateful to USAID for this investment in Deaf E³. This funding will have an incredible impact as Gallaudet, the Nigerian National Association of the Deaf (NNAD), and Wesley University, Ondo collaborate on education and employment initiatives that will empower deaf, hard of hearing, and deafblind people in Nigeria.”

Dr. Rashid said, “Gallaudet has welcomed students from Nigeria for many years. In fact, there are more Gallaudet alumni from Nigeria than from any other country outside the United States and Canada. We look forward to building on these relationships, and to collaborating with deaf, hard of hearing, and deafblind leaders and community members in Nigeria to foster awareness, advocacy, education, and employment. This will positively impact the standard of living for deaf people in Nigeria for many years to come.”

Chidi Olujie, president of the Nigerian National Association of the Deaf, said, “I extend my great appreciation to everyone who worked on this project. We would not have come this far without our shared commitment to creating a conducive learning environment for deaf Nigerians and their families. We are very grateful to USAID for finding us worthy of being beneficiaries of this grant. We expect this project to have a long-term, positive impact on the Nigerian deaf community’s education, empowerment, and employment.”

Professor Sunday Ndubueze Ukachukwu, Vice Chancellor of Wesley University, said, “Coming this far is confirmation that there is strength in unity of purpose. While congratulating all the persons, organizations, and groups who worked assiduously to bring GAIN this far, our deep appreciation goes to USAID for believing in the vision. Indeed the Gallaudet University legacy of subduing barriers, limitations, building hope and empowerment of the deaf through education, is coming to Nigeria, signalling new hope for the deaf in the country and beyond.”

This project is RFA #72062021RFA00001. The U.S. Agency for International Development administers the U.S. foreign assistance program providing economic and humanitarian assistance in more than 80 countries worldwide.

For more information please visit Gallaudet in Africa-Nigeria and Facebook.

Gallaudet University, federally chartered in 1864, is a bilingual, diverse, multicultural institution of higher education that ensures the intellectual and professional advancement of deaf, hard of hearing and deafblind individuals through American Sign Language and English. The university enrolls over 1,600 students in more than 40 undergraduate majors, master’s and doctoral programs. It also conducts research in many fields, including education, linguistics, psychology, educational neuroscience, deaf history and culture, and Black deaf history and culture.

For more information please visit the Nigerian National Association of the Deaf and Wesley University, Ondo.

Media contacts

Robert Weinstock

Gallaudet University

robert.weinstock@gallaudet.edu

Alana Cowan

The Durkin Agency

alanacowan5@gmail.com

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CapTel From T-Mobile, the Nation’s First FCC-Certified Captioned Telephone Service


“This partnership will ensure that those with hearing loss will have more options to exercise their human right to communicate.”

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) today announced that CapTel from T-Mobile, an FCC-certified captioned telephone service, has become an ASHA Corporate Partner.

ASHA’s partnership with T-Mobile will broaden access to an important resource for people with hearing loss: enabling people to hear what they can and read what they miss on phone calls through the company’s captioned telephone service, which the federal government provides at no cost to the patient (see fcc.gov/trs for details).

Audiologists can access the CapTel From T-Mobile professional portal to explore options available for eligible patients. The captioning service is delivered through dedicated telephone devices. Audiologists and their patients can choose from multiple devices to suit their needs.

“We’re excited to expand this service to audiologists and their patients,” said ASHA President A. Lynn Williams, PhD, CCC-SLP. “This partnership will ensure that those with hearing loss will have more options to exercise their human right to communicate.”

ASHA members and those with hearing loss interested in learning more or using CapTel from T-Mobile are invited to visit captelfromtmobile.com.

About the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)

ASHA is the national professional, scientific, and credentialing association for 218,000 members and affiliates who are audiologists; speech-language pathologists; speech, language, and hearing scientists; audiology and speech-language pathology support personnel; and students. Audiologists specialize in preventing and assessing hearing and balance disorders as well as providing audiologic treatment, including hearing aids. Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) identify, assess, and treat speech, language, and swallowing disorders. http://www.asha.org

About CapTel From T-Mobile

CapTel From T-Mobile was the nation’s first FCC-certified captioned telephone service, and has since connected millions of captioned phone calls for people with hearing loss. Through corporate sponsorships with advocacy organizations like ASHA, CapTel ensures broad access to its captioned telephone demo program. CapTel From T-Mobile’s complete, no-cost program equips any audiologist office with easy certification options, demo phones to meet a variety of patient needs, and one-button patient access to its unsurpassed customer care. Visit t-mobile.com/captel for all the details.

View all ASHA press releases at https://www.asha.org/about/press-room/.

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National Braille Press Produces 35,000 Large Print and Braille Menus For Starbucks Stores


Braille and Large Print Starbuck Menus

“We commend Starbucks for its strong commitment to accessibility. These beautiful braille and large print menus will be in every Starbucks location in the United States and Canada,” said Brian Mac Donald, President of NBP.

National Braille Press (NBP), based in Boston, MA, produced 35,000 braille and large print menus for all Starbucks company-operated and licensed store locations in the U.S. and Canada as part of the company’s efforts to create a more accessible experience for blind and low-vision customers. The U.S. menus are printed in English and the Canadian menus are available in both French and English based on region.

Starbucks first began offering braille and large print menus in 2012. The updated menus were commissioned this year as part of the company’s ongoing work to improve and enhance the accessibility of physical and digital experiences for Starbucks partners (employees) and customers through inclusive design. The new braille and large print menus now feature an expanded assortment of Starbucks core food and beverage items so that low vision and blind customers can have access to a wider variety of Starbucks offerings. As part of Starbucks inclusive design process to co-create solutions with the disability community, the company also integrated feedback and input on the redesigned menus from National Braille Press and Starbucks customers.

Produced on a durable material called PPG TESLIN®, a synthetic stock that is made of plastic but still holds ink like paper means that these menus can be wiped down with sanitizer between customers without the ink running or the quality of the braille being compromised.

“We commend Starbucks for its strong commitment to accessibility. These beautiful braille and large print menus will be in every Starbucks location in the United States and Canada,” said Brian Mac Donald, President of NBP. “And we are excited that millions of blind and low vision people in North America will have independent access to read these menus.”

“We want to provide an accessible and inclusive experience for every Starbucks customer,” said Sevana Massih, Inclusion and Diversity manager of accessibility. “Part of that work is ensuring we are bringing in the disability community to get their feedback on tools and resources like menus and understand what we can improve to enhance their experience. We’re proud of working with National Braille Press and collaborating with our blind and low vision customers to provide access to all of the great offerings we have at Starbucks.”

About National Braille Press

National Braille Press is a non-profit braille publisher and producer of braille products. NBP creates products and programs to support braille literacy in the blind community and to provide access to information that empowers blind people to actively engage in work, family, and community. For more information visit http://www.nbp.org.

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Author Nicholas A. Villani’s new book “Vocational Engagement Model” is an enlightening work that forces agencies to rethink job placement for people with disabilities


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Nicholas A. Villani, founder of Career and Employment Options who also created the Vocational Engagement Model after experiencing a connection to the medical community and years working with the education community, has completed his new book “Vocational Engagement Model: A Journey Into the Intersection of Different Disciplines to Reinvent the Job Placement Process”: an inspiring work that focuses on assisting job placement for people with disabilities.

The author writes, “Imagine the moment where you are working in the field providing employment services for people with disabilities and realize that the structure, or lack thereof, has contributed to the ongoing lack of progress. Imagine that moment where you see other disciplines such as education and medical fields engaging in their services in a more effective manner that makes every day in your job seem chaotic and redundant. Finally, imagine that there was this illuminating moment where it seemed as if you may have found the answer to the question ‘Why can’t we make the progress we so desperately want?’ That is the origin and implementation of the Vocational Engagement Model.”

Published by Page Publishing, Nicholas A. Villani’s engaging book is a crucial training tool for anyone who works with people with disabilities.

The Vocational Engagement Model (VEM) presents the intersection of different disciplines to rethink job placement services as they are offered to people with disabilities today. The model connects aspects of the medical, educational, and rehabilitation disciplines in a process to improve the skills of the people who seek assistance to find and keep employment. VEM transcends the traditional format for job placement services, as defined by state VR systems. It is designed to manage the job placement service and exemplify cost optimization and job-seeker engagement. VEM intends to

  • more fully engage the job seeker, their family and circle of support in the entire job search process;
  • establish a “career quest” agreement on how services will be provided and establish the level of commitment and required activities for both the job seeker and career consultant;
  • learn how to use a series of assessment instruments that will assist the career consultant to best counsel the job seeker with use of metacognitive skills;
  • manage the job placement service both structurally and fiscally for cost optimization to minimize time from referral to placement, thereby facilitating personal engagement while managing the hours toward profitability; and
  • establish Vocational Engagement Teams (VET) to create peer support systems and maximize staff skill and supports, not unlike “rounds” in the medical model.

The Vocational Engagement Model is the evolutionary change in the provision of job placement services. It encourages “guardrails” for staff to work within while retaining their own creativity. The end result is total personal engagement, management of the job placement process with true cost optimization.

Readers who wish to experience this engrossing work can purchase “Vocational Engagement Model: A Journey Into the Intersection of Different Disciplines to Reinvent the Job Placement Process” at bookstores everywhere, or online at the Apple iTunes Store, Amazon, Google Play, or Barnes and Noble.

For additional information or media inquiries, contact Page Publishing at 866-315-2708.

About Page Publishing:

Page Publishing is a traditional, full-service publishing house that handles all the intricacies involved in publishing its authors’ books, including distribution in the world’s largest retail outlets and royalty generation. Page Publishing knows that authors need to be free to create, not mired in logistics like eBook conversion, establishing wholesale accounts, insurance, shipping, taxes, and so on. Page’s accomplished writers and publishing professionals allow authors to leave behind these complex and time-consuming issues and focus on their passion: writing and creating. Learn more at http://www.pagepublishing.com.

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New Data from the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP Reveals 6.1 Million Adult Caregivers Care for Someone Ages 18-49


The needs facing adults with disabilities under fifty, and older adults who need care over fifty, both call for targeted, thoughtful solutions that can address care needs across the life course.

Two special reports emerging from the National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC) and AARP’s Caregiving in the U.S. 2020 shed light on the circumstances of two groups of caregivers, those caring for an adult aged 18-49 and those caring for an adult aged 50 or older. Findings from the reports reveal that 6.1 million adults are caregivers of adults ages 18-49. This group is caring for more people than in 2015 (24% report caring for multiple people vs. 14% in 2015) and one in three are experiencing high financial strain, with 34% rating financial strain as a 4 or 5 on a 5-point scale (vs. 22% in 2015). The reports are each available here.

“We’re proud to continue a partnership with AARP to help target the issues facing different populations of friends and family who care for another person,” said C. Grace Whiting, President and CEO, National Alliance for Caregiving. “As America ages, more young adults are taking on care for people with disabilities and older friends and relatives. The needs facing adults with disabilities under fifty, and older adults who need care over fifty, both call for targeted, thoughtful solutions that can address care needs across the life course.”

Caregivers of adults ages 18-49 tend to be younger compared to caregivers of adults aged 50 or older; some may just be starting out their careers and some are becoming caregivers in the middle of their career. More than half of these caregivers work while providing care, with 59% of caregivers 18-49 being employed in the past year while providing care. At the same time, nearly half (46%) are caring for someone with two or more conditions. These caregivers are feeling the financial strain of care responsibilities with 39% of caregivers of younger adults reporting a stop in saving and 38% taking on more debt as a result of providing care to their care recipient. Caregivers of adults ages 18-49 are also struggling to balance work with caregiving, with two-thirds reporting having experienced at least one impact or change to their employment situation as a result of caregiving (65%).

The special reports also found that:

  • Caregivers face health challenges of their own: only one in three caregivers of younger adults ages 18-49 consider their health to be excellent or very good (35%, down significantly from 51% in 2015);
  • Overall, caregivers of younger adults seem to be going at it alone: 52% report having no other help, regardless of it being paid or unpaid help;
  • Children are helping some caregivers of younger adults manage care; of those caregivers reporting someone else assisting in providing unpaid care, 23% say a child under the age of 18 helps to provide unpaid care to the younger adult care recipient, meaning 9% of all caregivers of adults ages 18-49 have at least one child helping to provide care.

Data from these special reports comes from Caregiving in the U.S. 2020 from the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP (http://www.aarp.org), conducted by Greenwald Research (http://www.greenwaldresearch.com) using a nationally-representative, probability-based online panel. 1,392 caregivers who were age 18 or older participated in the survey in 2019. First conducted in 1997, with follow up surveys in 2004, 2009 and 2015, the Caregiving in the U.S. studies are one of the most comprehensive resources describing the American caregiver. The 2020 study was funded by AARP, Best Buy Health Inc. d/b/a Great Call, EMD Serono Inc., Home Instead Senior Care, The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, The John A. Hartford Foundation, TechWerks, Transamerica Institute, and UnitedHealthcare.

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About the National Alliance for Caregiving

Established in 1996, the National Alliance for Caregiving is a non-profit coalition of national organizations focusing on advancing family caregiving through research, innovation, and advocacy. NAC conducts research, does policy analysis, develops national best-practice programs, and works to increase public awareness of family caregiving issues. Recognizing that family caregivers provide significant societal and financial contributions toward maintaining the well-being of those in their care, NAC supports a network of more than 80 state and local caregiving coalitions and serves as Secretariat for the International Alliance of Carer Organizations (IACO). Learn more at http://www.caregiving.org.

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Gallaudet University Launches New Guides in Apple Maps; New Guides Connect the Deaf Community to the Global Signing Ecosystem


Gallaudet Guides in Apple Maps

The global signing ecosystem is a vast and powerful engine driving economies, innovation and entrepreneurship…There are millions of Deaf and hard of hearing people worldwide who actively seek businesses that value them, embrace their language, and provide a truly inclusive experience.

Gallaudet University, the world’s premier university for Deaf, hard of hearing, and Deafblind students, today announced that it is bringing new Guides to Apple Maps to help connect users to businesses and organizations that value, embrace and prioritize the Deaf community and signed languages. Apple launched Guides last fall with iOS 14 to provide users a curated list of interesting places to visit in a city, find popular attractions, discover restaurants, and explore new recommendations.

Gallaudet’s creation of Apple Maps Guides aligns with its bilingual mission and will serve a critical role in advancing American Sign Language (ASL) vibrancy and equity for the Deaf community, and in promoting the use of signed and tactile languages. These Guides will also amplify the importance, cultural significance, and economic strength of the Deaf community for the larger hearing population.

The new guides are titled The Gallaudet Neighborhood; Deaf-Owned Businesses in the D.C. Area; All About Gallaudet; and Deaf Schools and Programs for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. The Gallaudet Neighborhood guide features more than 30 businesses, including:

  •     Mozzeria, a Deaf-owned and operated Neapolitan pizza restaurant;
  •     Busboys and Poets, a restaurant that features ASL Poetry and ASL Slam nights;
  •     The first U.S. Signing Starbucks;
  •     Chase Bank with employees who can support financial needs through ASL or interpreters; and
  •     Apple Store at Carnegie Library with Deaf and hard of hearing staff, in addition to onsite interpreters for consultation and training.

“We are pleased to once again partner with Apple, building on our Connected Gallaudet initiative,” said Roberta J. Cordano, president of Gallaudet University. “We are especially delighted to debut our first four guides here in Washington, D.C., where we have a thriving Deaf economy. The global signing ecosystem is a vast and powerful engine driving economies, innovation and entrepreneurship. These new guides show the world what leading companies like Apple, Chase, Target, and Starbucks already know. There are millions of Deaf and hard of hearing people worldwide who actively seek businesses that value them, embrace their language, and provide a truly inclusive experience.”

“At Apple, we believe technology at its best can enable everyone to create, learn and stay connected,” said Sarah Herrlinger, Apple’s senior director of Global Accessibility. “We’re thrilled that Gallaudet’s introduction of these new guides will bring greater awareness of the vibrant Deaf, hard of hearing, and Deafblind communities, and showcase a wide range of Deaf-owned and Deaf-friendly organizations for Apple Maps users.”

An all-Deaf team of content curators and researchers worked with Apple to develop the guides. Curation of guides, present and future, will be driven by criteria that qualify locations and businesses to be part of the Signing Ecosystem. Over time, Gallaudet plans to expand its reach to all 50 states and showcase the evolving Signing Ecosystem nationally and internationally. The guides will automatically update when new places are added to a list, so users always have the latest recommendations.

The Signing Ecosystem (social media hashtag #SigningEcosystem) encompasses the Deaf Ecosystem and its allies, united through their rich socio-cultural origins and backgrounds, and conscious empowerment of each other. Members of the Signing Ecosystem work together for the socio-economic, ethical and political betterment of Deaf, hard of hearing, Deafblind, deaf-disabled, and late-deafened people globally. However, the guides are for everyone, deaf and hearing. To learn more, visit Gallaudet’s Signing Ecosystem webpage.

Gallaudet University, federally chartered in 1864, is a bilingual, diverse, multicultural institution of higher education that ensures the intellectual and professional advancement of Deaf, hard of hearing and Deafblind individuals through American Sign Language and English. The university enrolls over 1,600 students in more than 40 undergraduate majors and many master’s and doctoral programs. It also conducts research in various fields, including brain imaging, educational neuroscience, education, linguistics, psychology, Deaf history and culture, and Black Deaf history and culture.

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Media Contacts:

Gallaudet University

Robert Weinstock

robert.weinstock@gallaudet.edu

The Durkin Agency

Alana Cowan

alanacowan5@gmail.com

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