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Advocacy Resources Bridges Blog Information Resources Series: Jumping Into January 2023

Jumping Into January

The Bridges Helpdesk Returns and is Growing!

2022 is over, and it’s time to jump into 2023! Join us as we explore revamped and new resources to help you on your Transition journey – through school and beyond!

  • January 3: The Bridges Helpdesk Returns and is Growing!
  • January 10: JAWS Screen Reading Software Offers Even More in 2023!
  • January 17: Resources from the Maryland Library for the Blind!
  • January 24: Technology and Tools Available for Free at APH!
  • January 31: Changes to AIRA’s On-Demand Visual Interpretation Services

In this first installment of our “Jumping Into January” series, we share updates about us, the Free Bridges Helpdesk.

Where Have We Been?

In August 2022, our grant funding was put on hold. As a result, we were forced to temporarily suspend our operations.

Now, we are back and so eager to work with you! Please reach out to us anytime!

What is Staying the Same?

The Bridges Helpdesk provides ready access to accurate and up-to-date information tailored to the needs of Maryland blind/low vision transition-age youth, their families, their educators and service providers, and their community allies. We still provide individual support as well as relevant resources and guidance to help you decide which bridges you need and how you want to build them.

We also still offer dedicated blind adults and blindness education experts who are at your service. We remain prepared to answer a wide variety of questions and are eager to invest the time to ensure that you get thorough and helpful answers.

And, as evidenced by this post, Transition Tip Tuesdays are back!

What is Different?

We are growing and transforming into a “technical assistance center.” Technical Assistance Centers provide high-quality and directed information and support to help stakeholders solve problems and grow in understanding and their abilities to address future obstacles. In addition to the Bridges Helpdesk and Transition Tip Tuesdays, we are developing a searchable and accessible Maryland Bridges Technical Assistance Center Resource Library. We will also be providing administrative support to the Maryland Blind/Low Vision Steering Committee, a group comprising national advisors, state and local stakeholders and service providers (representation from each LEA/PA) in the field of blind/low vision education.

Our Bridges Helpdesk represents an important area of technical assistance: intensive, sustained TA support. Transition Tip Tuesdays. Our upcoming searchable and accessible Bridges Resource Library provide universal, general TA support for blind/low vision transition-age youth and their support systems. Our provision of administrative support to the Maryland Blind/Low Vision Steering Committee represents targeted and specialized TA support to this group of educators and service providers of Maryland’s blind/low vision transition-age youth.

What Does This Mean?

Our growth from a Helpdesk to a Technical Assistance Center means we can serve our existing stakeholders (Maryland’s blind/low vision transition-age youth, their families, their educators and service providers, and their community allies) better and that we can reach out to even more stakeholders.

In other words, you can still rely on the Helpdesk’s prompt and thorough responses to inquiries and, once the Resource Library goes live, all stakeholders will have a one-stop-shop for resources, information, and support.

Contact us

Follow the Bridges Helpdesk Facebook page for more transition tips, and please contact the Free Helpdesk for Maryland Blind/Low Vision Transition Students, Families, and Educators anytime using:

Voice mail: Call (443) 320-4003, leave a voice mail message, and we will return your call

This unique project is being coordinated through The IMAGE Center of Maryland, a center for independent living in Towson, and it is funded by a grant from the Maryland Department of Education Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services.

Categories
Teen Blog

December 2022 Teen and Young Adult Program Highlights


News from IMAGE Teen and Young Adult Programs December 2022

Highlights


Alt Text: BIG BOLD Plans for 2023 with IMAGE Logo

Please take a minute to read about our BOLD plans for 2023 from IMAGE Center Executive Director, Mike Bullis including how your donation can help to keep our Connect Program for Teens and Young Adults reinstated and better then ever for the new year!
Click here to read!

Scan to Donate Click to Donate!



YLF 2023 at Towson University. Open to Students with any type of disability. Contact Danielle for more info. Dbustos@innow.org
Alt Text: Youth Leadership Forum. June 26-28 2023 at Towson University. Open to High School Juniors and Seniors in Maryland with ANY type of disability. Priority deadline to apply: March 3, 2023. Contact Danielle Busto’s YLF Coordinator dbustos@innow.org 240-898-2189

Maryland Youth Leadership Forum 2023 Media Toolkit
Independence Now is now accepting applications for the 2023 Maryland Youth Leadership Forum (MDYLF).MDYLF is an immersive, three-day long event for Maryland Youth with Disabilities to participate in activities with the goal of building leadership skills and preparing for future employment, higher education, and independent living.The Youth Leadership Forum (YLF) was initiated in 1992 by the California Governor’s Committee on the Employment of Disabled Persons. This popular program spread across the country and is now conducted annually in more than 33 states. Maryland held its first Youth Leadership Forum in August 2000.

This year’s Maryland Youth Leadership Forum will take place from Monday, June 26 to Wednesday, June 28, 2023, at Towson University.Maryland residents with ANY type of disability in their last two years of high school or graduating in the spring of 2023 are eligible to apply.For questions about the Maryland Youth Leadership Forum, contact Danielle Bustos, YLF Coordinator, at dbustos@innow.org or 240-898-2189.

The Connect Program & Peer MentorshipStudent wearing headphones plugged into a laptop looking at the screen.
* Alt Text: Young teen wearing headphones plugged into a Macbook, looking at the screen.

Stay CONNECTED with our virtual Connect sessions happening NOW twice monthly !New to Connect? This is a great time to check out the program from the comfort of your home! Our virtual sessions will be donation based and will take place on the dates listed below. This is a great chance to connect with old friends, meet new friends and work on skills specific to your independence. We look forward to connecting with you!Virtual Sessions will take place from 6-7pm on the following dates:September 27th, October 11th, October 25th, November 8th, November 22nd, December 6th and December 20th.

PreETS Training ProgramSelf Awareness and Self Advocacy Training Program in collaboration with DORSTwo hands shaking with inspirational words scribbled over top such as experience, ability, growth, training, skills.
*Alt IMAGE Caption: Two hands shaking in a hand shake in front of the words Learning, Knowledge, Experience, Ability, Skills, Competence, Growth, Training.

Self Awareness and Self Advocacy (SASA) Training is a collaborative partnership program between The IMAGE Center and The Division of Rehabilitation Services (DORS). What benefit does this training provide? ● Empowerment for teens and young adults to explore skills of self awareness and self advocacy as they relate to either college preparation or vocational exploration. ● Information on disability disclosure, rights and accommodations related to college bound and career bound students. ● Personalized goal setting and skill building in relation to increased independent living. ● Student and family resources for all future outcomes. Who is eligible for this FREE training? students enrolled in a secondary school (including home school or other alternative secondary education program), post-secondary education program, or other recognized educational program and has not exited, graduated, or withdrawn; students at least 14 years old but less than age 22 students have a disability documented with an IEP, 504 plan, medical records, or a doctor’s note. To learn more about SASA training please contact: Jessica Leone, Director for Teen and Young Adult Services at The IMAGE Center 443-275-9396 or jleone@imagemd.org All registrants will need a direct referral from DORS to get started: Already connected with a DORS counselor? Contact your counselor directly and ask for a referral for the PreETS Training provided by The IMAGE Center. Not yet connected with DORS? Simply follow the link to request a referral. A case file for referral will be created for you and you should be contacted by DORS within 10 days.      
https://dors.maryland.gov/consumers/Pages/referral.aspx                 
*Schools may seek permission from families to refer students directly* 

Connect with The IMAGE Center ‌  ‌  ‌Logo for The IMAGE Center. Logo is teal and orange and includes a sprocket shape and icons representing various types of disabilities.www.imagemd.org | 410-982-6311
Categories
Resources

Resources

Local Resources

Civic Works Affordable Produce Delivery Program
Civic Works’ Mobile Farmers Market offers $5 “Farmers Choice” produce boxes to Baltimore City Older Adults (55+) delivered to your door. Call (410) 826-5955 on Mondays at 9 am.

Diabetes Prevention Program
The Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) is a year-long educational program that teaches healthy lifestyle changes to promote weight
loss and help prevent diabetes. DPP includes fitness classes and nutrition education. Call 667-837-2877 for DPP information.

Fransiscan Center of Baltimore
Offers a continuum of care that includes food, clothing, emergency health services, counseling, and technology training to help clients become as self-sufficient as possible. Free lunches available Monday through Friday from 10 am to 1 pm, and free dinner Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 5:30 to 7 pm.

Irvington Community Association

Youth lunch program every Tuesday and Thursday at 10am. 4115 Frederick Ave, Baltimore, MD 21229. Call 443-325-2049 for more info.

Joy Baltimore Clothing Closet

Every Tuesday from 4 PM to 7 PM, J.O.Y. Baltimore Presents Tuesday’s Clothing Closet offering free clothes and hygiene supplies.

Manna House

Manna House provides the homeless and poor of Baltimore City with goods and services to move towards independence and stability.

Y Fresh Mart Food Pantry
To schedule an appointment, call 410-728-1600, Monday – Friday, 9 am to 5 pm. Or schedule online here.

Regional Resources

2023 Benefits Roster Maryland Access Point, Baltimore County Department of Aging
Call Maryland Access Point of Baltimore County at 410-887-2594 for additional information or to be screened for financial benefits.

Maryland Food Bank
The Maryland Food Bank is a non-profit organization leading the movement to end hunger in Maryland.

Mid-Atlantic ADA Center
The Mid-Atlantic ADA Center provides information, guidance, and training on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), tailored to meet the needs of businesses, government entities, organizations, and individuals in the Mid-Atlantic Region (DC, DE, MD, PA, VA, and WV).

National Resources

ADA.GOV Disability Rights Guide
This guide provides an overview of Federal civil rights laws that ensure equal opportunity for people with disabilities.

The National Reentry Network For Returning Citizens
Helps the formerly incarcerated and imprisoned to rebuild and restore their lives through committed advocacy and support.
Helpline: 1-844-916-2577

Categories
Teen Blog

We’re Back! In-Person Connect registering now!

Registration for our summer in-person Connect program session is now open! Click the link below for more information and get ready to join us for the entire month of June as we kick off our Keep Kids Connected Summer Campaign!

Register Here

Sign that reads "Yes! We're BACK".
Categories
Advocacy Resources Bridges Blog Employment Resources Independent Living Resources Information Resources Recreation Resources Series: Blind/Low Vision Consumer Groups, May 2022

Blind/Low Vision Consumer Groups — Students in the NFB and the ACB

With summer nearly upon us, we invite you to join us as we explore the two largest blindness/low vision groups in the United States throughout the month of May. Regardless of whether you plan to participate in a convention this summer, we will cover the ins and outs of these organizations and how they can provide support to transition-age students.

In this fourth installment of our organization exploration, we hear from student leaders in each consumer group.

Maryland Association of Blind Students

Qualik Ford serves as president of the Maryland Association of Blind Students. In this interview, he shares information about what the Maryland Association of Blind Students does and how to contact them.

American Council of Blind Students

Aaron Espinoza serves as president of the American Council of Blind Students. In this interview, he shares information about what the American Council of Blind Students does and how to contact them.

Contact us

Follow the Bridges Helpdesk Facebook page for more transition tips, and please contact the Free Helpdesk for Maryland Blind/Low Vision Transition Students, Families, and Educators anytime using:

This unique project is being coordinated through The IMAGE Center of Maryland, a center for independent living in Towson, and it is funded by a grant from the Maryland Department of Education Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services.