Google+ Followers

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Amazon provides brighter futures

Here’s an exciting and easy way to support the Futures Foundation, the charitable organization associated with the Macomb-Oakland Regional Center which provides items for individuals with disabilities or mental illness who can get them in no other way..

Amazon has a new giveback program where they give back 0.5 percent of qualified purchases to charitable organizations.

The good news is that MORC staff or anyone in the public can designate The Futures Foundation as your favorite charity. This will help us continue our mission of providing brighter futures for those with developmental disabilities served by MORC.
To sign up, click on to get started. You will need your Amazon account information such as your password and email address associated with your Amazon account.

Once you’ve signed up, you can start shopping. Remember that each time you shop you must first go to The items you buy at this site are the same items you can purchase at

The Futures Foundation, which awarded $80,000 in grants in 2013, is committed to funding the needs, wishes, and dreams of individuals served by MORC.

We would be honored if you would partner with us as we help provide brighter futures.

For more information about The Futures Foundation, please visit our Website at or call Teri Donaldson at (586) 464-2610 or by email at

Monday, January 13, 2014

Box: To register for mental health first aid training through the Macomb-Oakland Regional Center, visit or call (586) 263-8748


Mental health first-aid training offered



MORC Writer-in-Residence


The Center for Positive Living Supports is initiating a mental health first-aid program in Macomb and Oakland counties, starting Jan. 29 in the Clinton Township office of the Macomb-Oakland Regional Center.

Those trained include school and law enforcement officials, health care workers, individuals in faith-based communities, families and the public on mental health literacy -- helping them identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illness.

“We are thrilled to bring mental health first aid to our community,” says Kym Juntti, Director of the Center for Positive Living Supports, an affiliate of MORC which has offices in Clinton Township and Auburn Hills. The first class was to be from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Lincoln Center at 15930 19-Mile Road and focus on mental health for youth. Classes on April 30 at 1270 Doris St. in Auburn Hills will target adults.

Mental health first aid is an eight-hour training certification course which teaches participants a five-step action plan to secure care for the individual.

The Center for Positive Living Supports is an affiliate of the MORC that provides an array of services that include “Culture of Gentleness” training and crisis response for those who care for individuals with developmental disabilities, mental illness and other marginalized populations, Juntti said.

The center focuses on individuals served in the public mental health system and related shareholders to instill hope and create healthy outcomes, she said.

Jerry Wolffe is the writer-in-residence/advocate-at-large at the Macomb-Oakland Regional Center. He can be reached at (586) 263-8950.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

MORC to host monthly sessions on Supports Intensity Scale

To reserve a seat for the overview sessions, call Heather Hawkins at 586-263-8789 or email her at

Ryan Leininger, a MORC, Inc., Supports Intensity Scale Trainer at the Macomb-Oakland Regional Center, is presenting monthly overview sessions on the SIS.

Leininger is assisted in the training sessions by Katie Kramer, also a SIS trainer at MORC.
The SIS is an assessment to evaluate the support needs of individuals with a disability.

Upcoming overview sessions are scheduled on Jan. 21, 30 and  Feb. 18. Current dates, times and locations are available here --

SIS Overview topics include the history and background of the SIS; what is measured and how; what to expect from a SIS interview, and how the SIS is used with a Person-Centered-Plan for a person with a disability at MORC.

The SIS was developed by the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, based in Washington, D.C., and is broadly used across the United States and internationally.

It is considered a reliable and standardized way to consider the types of supports an individual with a disability requires for daily living activities.

A trained and certified interviewer works with you and those you trust to consider your individual supports if you have a disability. The SIS assessment meeting usually lasts between 90 minutes and two hours.
Participants may include a guardian, family, friends, or an advocate. Others involved could include a Support Coordinator and/or Case Manager. Areas focused on in a SIS interview include home and community living, lifelong learning, employment, social life, health and safety, protection and advocacy and medical and behavioral conditions.

Jerry Wolffe is the Writer in Residence and Advocate at Large at the Macomb-Oakland Regional Center. He can be reached at 586 263 8950.



Thursday, January 2, 2014

Help for children with disabilities sprung from parental love


It was only through the love of parents of children with disabilities who hoped their son or daughter could have a good life that parents organized and sought out needed services.
In some cases, that was nearly 70 years ago.
The real push, according to Tom Marchand, the father of a son with a disability, Michael, 47, came in 1972 after courts determined that children with disabilities had the legal right to a public education.
Marchand and his wife, Sylvia, who died in 2011, helped form AMORC, an organization in conjunction with the Macomb-Oakland Regional Center, to gain services for children with disabilities.
“We took him (Michael) to a doctor who said he was retarded and to put him in an institution,” Marchand said. “The wife and I talked about it and basically felt Michael was going to need help the rest of his life. We kind of made a vow when Michael was two years old that anyone who worked with Michael would do their best or else.
“Over the years, I have lived up to that and I’m sure I’ve hurt some feelings but Michael came first,” said Marchand of Warren.
Michael is nonverbal. Marchand recalled how most of the programs in the early 1970s were in church basements. Eventually they found a program, Pilgrim’s Project, in Ferndale which focused on helping about 20 children with disabilities.
In 1972 when the educational law was passed, the Marchands were told to take Michael to the Warren School District “and make them teach your son.” At one point, a Macomb County ISD official told the Marchands no one in Macomb County had autism,” said Marchand.
“Michael went to a school at St. Dorothy’s. The school was filthy. We formed a parents’ club … and we discovered the power of a parents’ group.”
Back then, children with developmentally disabilities went to school all year around, he said.
Michael received his First Communion and the “ones who could talk bowed and kissed the altar and said: ‘Thank you Jesus’ and there wasn’t a dry eye in the church.”
Michael completed his education at age 26 and went to work in a Roseville workshop where he learned toileting and daily living tasks.
“He lived with us 23 years and went to a group home established by MORC.” That was in 1990.
The nonprofit eventually helped shut 12 state institutions where the disabled and mentally ill were housed, freeing 13,000 people with disabilities to live in community with needed 24-hour care. It has been their mission ever since.
In 1975, the first AMORC meeting was held. “At that meeting, Sylvia and I were asked to be officers so we accepted. The parents also became monitors of group homes to make sure they were safe.
“We were additional eyes for MORC,” said Marchand.
“Today, there’s hope. The hardest thing about Michael, who has autism, is he’s nonverbal. If the parents feel the pros really love their kids, and then the caregivers and providers will do what is best for the people who have disabilities,” Marchand said.
Besides AMORC, the Marchands formed another parents’ organization, the Macomb County Autistic Parents group, “to get together and help our children. We also joined with an autistic group in Oakland County to go to Lansing to change the law” so people with disabilities could get a public education, he said.
As for Michael’s future, “I want him to live as happy and normal life as possible,” Marchand said.

And that’s the way it was meant to always be.
Wolffe is the Writer-in-Residence/Advocate-at-Large at MORC. He can be reached at 586 263-8950.