Hello from Cherri Perez, Marketing and Production Coordinator, BIS Mailing Services

Cherri Perez

Cherri Perez, BIS Mailing Services Marketing and Production Coordinator, weighs items to be mailed.

As we look forward to the 20th anniversary of GWArc’s BIS Mailing Services in 2014, we would like to tell you more about the role of BIS as an agency-owned and Department of Labor approved consumer enterprise.  BIS works with Employment Program individuals for the full day and Plus Program individuals for part of each day.

BIS work is primarily bulk mailing jobs, such as newsletters and appeals from many of the nonprofit agencies in the greater Waltham area, for example  Healthy Villi, Espousal Retreat House, Marist Missionary, Resolve, New England Employee Benefits Council and The Guild School, to name a few.  Realtors, housing authorities and other service businesses are BIS customers, as well.

Light assembly jobs include Memory On Hand, a new company for which we assemble and package usb flash drive bracelets and mobile phone cases.  BIS also does convention jobs, inserting various promotional materials into give-away bags for large area conferences.

The BIS Mailing Services employees love their work, their co-workers and the GWArc staff.  And, of course, who among us does not enjoy pay day – every two weeks here.

Please remember GWArc’s BIS Mailing Services for your own business or those in the area who need mailing or assembly support.

See our web site at www.Bismailing.com for more information and our competitive pricing.

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Meet Peter Filosa, GWArc Group Supported Employment (GSE)

Peter Filosa checks out GWArc's website.

Peter Filosa checks out GWArc’s website.  Peter and other GSE employees are participating in GWArc’s Semester Break Program while students at local universities are away for the summer.

Dear GWArc Readers,

My name is Peter Filosa. I have worked at Usdan Dining Hall at Brandeis University in Waltham since 2008 and Lasell College before that.  My duties include dish washing and stocking silverware, napkins and cups.  I work five days a week, 8 am to 3 pm,with GWArc staff supervisor Amy.  I like earning money–a paycheck is important to us all.

I have played ice hockey for 4 years for the East Coast Jumbos.  There are videos of my hockey and ceremonial baseball first pitches online.  I have also been an extra in two movies – “Grown Ups” and “The Fighter”.  Other activities I am enjoying are Brandeis University and Boston University Best Buddies groups, Special Olympics basketball team and trips with an alternative recreation company.  Contests really interest me and I have entered many on radio stations.

Self advocacy is another important effort of mine.  I have been a long-time member of GWArc’s Watch City Self Advocates group and the Mass Advocates Standing Strong statewide board (since 2011).  I was just selected to be on the National Council on Self-Advocates.

These are activities that I enjoy and I do well in these roles.

GWArc has been trying to get feedback from web page readers and I hope you will answer this blog and say hello, and give us ideas for GWArc and our programs.

I can’t wait to read what you have to say!


Peter Filosa

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Kate Rouleau, GWArc Recreation Manager, with the new Spring 2013 Recreation Brochure.

Kate Rouleau, GWArc Recreation Manager, with several copies of the new Spring 2013 Recreation Brochure.

GWArc’s Spring 2013 Recreation Brochure, with fun new activities and lots of old favorites, has been sent out by email and mail—Check it out!

You can view and print the brochure from our website at www.gwarc.org/Recreation.

Exciting new Recreation activities include Working with Clay, Sewing with Katie, a trip to Reagle Theatre to see “Chicago” and a Volleyball League with the Waltham YMCA.

Of course, old favorites such as Line Dancing with Marilyn and Bernadette, Brandeis Buddies and Walking Group are also offered.  Stewart Woodward will repeat his acclaimed Photography class, with picture-taking at the Lyman Estate in Waltham and a Photo Gallery event in May.

I am excited to announce that the Spring 2013 Recreation brochure includes, for the FIRST time, our new Recreation PLUS logo (see below).    

Rec PLUS Logo PNGThis logo was designed by Joe O’Connell, a consumer in GWArc’s PLUS Program, while he participated in our Graphic Design class last fall.  This logo is also on the new bright yellow GWArc Recreation Staff t-shirts, which Recreation Staff will wear at activities.  Let me know how you like the logo!

What are your ideas for Recreation activities?

BLOG in with your ideas and comments below, or contact me at Recreation@gwarc.org.

I look forward to hearing from you!

Kate Rouleau
Recreation Manager

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Jenn Adams, GWArc Director of Day Education, prepares for "Blankets for Kids" community service project.

Jenn Adams, GWArc Director of Day Education, prepares for the “Blankets for Kids” community service project.

Throughout the month of December, both Day Education consumers and staff were involved in a few different community service type activities. Since taking over as Director, many staff members have expressed to me how important it is for us to be involved in our local community. This is a belief that I also share. As a whole, GWArc has been the beneficiary of many volunteers, grants, community service events and general good will, and it is important for us to share of ourselves, too.

Staff and consumers worked together to create holiday cards. While some consumers could cut out objects, or paste them on the page, others could paint, draw or color. Each was able to participate in the activity at some level. Cards were then sent to Cards for Hospitalized Kids for hospital distribution. The cards were simple and the message was “someone is thinking of you”.

Consumers also participated in holiday baking. Platters and a card were then delivered to Bristol Lodge Soup Kitchen so that everyone could enjoy a treat on Christmas. Other lucky recipients of the project included van drivers who bring consumers to GWArc. It was our own special way of saying thank you and happy holidays.

As the New Year begins, we want to keep that spirit alive. Throughout the coming year, we are planning one volunteer activity or community service project every two months. For the months of January and February, we are currently working on a “Blankets for Kids” project in which consumers assemble fleece blankets for local shelters. This project is a good fine motor skills task and a reminder that there is always someone who could use a helping hand.

Do you have any recommendations for projects or activities that Day Education could assist with?

BLOG in with a comment below, or contact me at 781-899-1344 x4121.

I look forward to hearing from you!

Jennifer Adams
Director of Day Education

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Greetings from the Board Co-Presidents

Greetings from GWArc’s Board of Directors Co-Presidents!  As we wrap up the year, it has been exciting to work together, and the Board looks forward to the Presidency of Greg for 2013.

GWArc Board Co-Presidents Bob Clement (above left) and Greg Abel.

This year the Board placed a lot of time and attention on a search for new larger accessible space for GWArc current and future programs.  Over 15 Waltham locations were viewed, but we don’t have any possibilities just yet.  The realtors we are working with have been selective, as we have several criteria to be met.  For your information, they are:

  • Approximately 18,000 square feet, first floor and accessible
  • Located in Waltham, and, if possible, not in an isolated area of the city
  • Adequate parking (55 spaces) and a street/driveway configuration which will allow safe van discharge/pick up
  • Space that can be re-modeled to serve programming needs
  • Some outdoor green space for picnic tables, gardening

We would consider purchase or rental and hope for community support to re-model and furnish our new space.

We send this information to you to keep you updated on GWArc’s long range plans and also to ask you to keep this in mind as you live and work in the city of Waltham.

Please blog in and let us know your thoughts. Let’s vision this new space and hope to make it a reality soon.

Thanks for your input.

Bob Clement    Greg Abel

GWArc Board of Directors

Co-Presidents 2012

Please leave a comment below.

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More Community Inclusion Needed!

Liam Mansfield, GWArc Chief Operations Officer, with the GWArc van used for community trips.

Hello, I am Liam Mansfield, Chief Operating Officer here at Greater Waltham Arc.

I have been working in disability services in the community for over 15 years. During that time I have come to realize that the services offered by providers are only a first step for addressing an individual’s quality of life. These services build the skills necessary for an individual to become as independent as possible. This increased independence can then lead to increased community involvement and development of meaningful ties to the community.

The relationships we all have in our community are so fundamental that we often overlook how meaningful they are to all of us. Shopping, going to work or church, spending time with friends, or participating in sports clubs or community service are all ways we participate in our communities. Having these same experiences in the community is one of the most important aspects for the quality of life for individuals with disabilities.

At GWArc, as we support individuals to become as independent as possible, we look for ways to involve them in the community.  This could mean:

• assisting an individual to learn skills needed to work independently in a particular vocation
• supporting that individual as he or she applies, interviews and trains for a new job at an area business
• working with teams of individuals to provide training and work in the community in a staff-supported setting at an area company or worksite
• identifying volunteer opportunities and providing support to help individuals successfully volunteer at community organizations
• using the local library, going bowling, or providing recreation activities in collaboration with local community resources

Community inclusion opportunities are critical because they:

• provide the access point for individuals with disabilities to participate more fully in the community, and use the skills and training they have acquired
• allow individuals to build relationships with people outside of the service system and have opportunities for interaction in a community setting
• Provide a stepping stone for individuals to become part of a community, where terms like community access cease to have meaning for individuals as they become included into the existing community.

As GWArc and like agencies continue to strive toward further community access and community integration we need partners in the community willing to work with us and the disability community.  Building partnerships and opportunities with other non-profit groups, service organizations, businesses and educational providers to expand community integration is our goal.

I would love to hear your ideas for continued community access!

Please leave a comment below.

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Welcome to the New GWArc Blog!

From Roz Rubin, Chief Executive Officer, GWArc

CEO Roz Rubin, somewhere at GWArc

Hello and welcome to the new GWArc blog!

Each month we hope to bring you an update on agency news as well as seek your feedback on an issue of importance to the agency.  The blog will be hosted by various staff, Board members and consumers, with a new host monthly.  We will do our best to read and respond to your replies and keep a lively conversation going about GWArc.

As a start, please reply to this inaugural blog posting with ideas for subjects to be discussed in the site. We hope to have great participation, learn more about your interests in GWArc (now and in the FUTURE) and keep connected to our friends of GWArc.

So, let us know you read this.  Even if you have no comment, say “hi” with your name or initials, so we can see how the blog is working.  We are excited about communicating electronically with you…though we would rather see you IN PERSON, of course.

What would you like to read about and/or discuss in the blog????

Regards from GWArc.

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