Coach Mike Quinn is Northwest Center VP of Business Development
Northwest Center is proud to announce that the Issaquah Spirit, a Special Olympics soccer team coached by Northwest Center VP of Business Development Mike Quinn, has been selected to represent Washington State at the summer 2018 Special Olympics USA Games, July 1-6, 2018 in Seattle.
The program that Northwest Center Early Intervention has pioneered in collaboration with the University of Washington Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (UW NICU) is not only making a huge impact on families whose babies are beginning life in the UW NICU; it’s also making one statewide.
Our 2017 Golden Hearts Luncheon raised money for a more inclusive working world. Host Dennis Bounds, former King 5 news anchor, kept things lively as he shared success stories like that of Devin, who found his career through Northwest Center School-to-Work. Devin’s story was captured on video and shared at the event by featured speaker Chris Ulmer of Special Books by Special Kids, whose popular videos of conversations with children and adults with disabilities were an event highlight.
By Gene Boes, President & CEO, Northwest Center
Value Village & Northwest Center
Few regions have seen as much change in recent years as the Pacific Northwest. A technology-driven boom has propelled growth in the Puget Sound region, with Seattle earning the status of fastest-growing city and undisputed construction crane capital in the nation.
Stephan knows a thing or two about dancing in the rain. An avid hip-hop dancer, Stephan enjoys every day as a Donations Station Attendant for The Big Blue Truck™, no matter if there are sunny skies or some of our Pacific Northwest mist.
While Stephan is a happy, vital member of The Big Blue Truck™ team, it took some trial and error to find the job where he could excel. A member of the School-to-Work (S2W) program, Stephan was actively preparing himself for employment opportunities before he graduated from high school. It took some job coaching and training, but when Stephan saw the people in the Big Blue Truck™ he knew he wanted to join in.
Dear Northwest Center Community:
I am honored to be the new CEO of Northwest Center, to lead and serve a world class team in our mission “to promote the growth, development, and independence of people with disabilities through programs of education, rehabilitation, and work opportunity.”
Each of us has talents, gifts and potential, and deserves the opportunity to engage and contribute. When society values diverse perspectives, honors all abilities and allows everyone the opportunity to contribute, that society is working at its best and will help the world achieve its collective potential. I am reminded daily of the importance of inclusion through my eyes as a parent. My daughter, Tori, is 24 years old, loves horseback riding, listening to music, shopping, and going out to restaurants…and has Autism. Tori has helped mold me into the person I am today and contributes to my success in immeasurable ways. But her opportunities to engage in our community are limited.
At Northwest Center, inclusion is at our core and we envision a fulfilling future for everyone. Our founding parents insisted that everyone deserves the opportunity to realize their fullest potential and we continue to honor their philosophy today. Now in our 52nd year, Northwest Center provides early intervention and inclusive learning for children, and employment services for individuals with disabilities. We employ people of all abilities in our Social Enterprise, with over 40% of the 950 people on our payroll self-identifying with a disability.
I am humbled to be part of an organization that refuses to allow anyone to be overlooked, mislabeled, marginalized, or denied the opportunity to engage and contribute.
Thank you for everything you do to support Northwest Center. Your partnership is what makes this possible.
Onward and Upward,
What is something special about you?
Though sometimes difficult to answer, Chris Ulmer asks this question to nearly everyone he interviews. Ulmer, a special education teacher turned an internationally renowned speaker, travels the globe interviewing people with disabilities. His goal is to not tell their stories, but to give them the opportunity to tell their story themselves.
When a new shift begins, associates clock in and head to “Stand Up,” an area of the warehouse where managers go over daily announcements and celebrate top performers in front of their coworkers. For Mihret, who has worked for just over six months, Stand Up became a goal from day one.
Mihret, born in Ethiopia, is deaf yet does not know American or Universal Sign Language. English is her second language and this makes communication and connection difficult for her. Yet in June 2017, Mihret came into work and saw her name, written in big green letters. Mihret was awarded top performer. Two days later, Mihret achieved her goal yet again. In fact, that day, three out of the four top performer awards were given to associates placed by Northwest Center, all with diagnosed disabilities.
Northwest Center is the recipient of Value Village’s 50 Year Partnership Award. Since 1967, we have had a long-term partnership with Value Village to collect clothing and household donations with our iconic Big Blue Trucks and blue donation bins. Value Village buys that merchandise to sell in its stores, and the revenue Northwest Center receives funds education and employment programs for children and adults with developmental disabilities in WA State.
Trevor Pacelli grew up in Sammamish, Washington and was diagnosed with a form of autism at age 5. As a child, he published drawings in two children’s magazines and illustrated a children's book at age 15, written by his sister Briana Pacelli, “The Kindergarten Adventures of Amazing Grace." an autism awareness book. At 19, he wrote a book in the "Six-Word Lessons" series to help people with autistic children in their families understand how an autistic person really thinks and feels. He is a graduate of Arizona State University in Film and Media Studies. Trevor recently joined the team at Northwest Center in July 2017.
Trevor shares his journey to gaining employment at NWC and his experience with workforce inclusion.
As an individual on the autism spectrum who has gone through several interviews over the years, I could tell you a lot about my long, endless job search. While confidence wavered on when or if I would find a job in key moments of my life, my jobs across the last five years served to teach me plenty of useful skills, as well as some important wisdom about workforce inclusion.
Written by: Amy & Connor Doran
Edited by: Jennifer Owen
It started as a hobby. Pulling a string, defying gravity with every twist and turn of his body, Connor Doran knows how to fly a kite. He enjoyed gliding his kite through the crisp Washington air, but it wasn’t until 2009 that he thought to share his talents with the rest of the country.
By: Tracee Christie
Writers: Jennifer Owen
Tracee, Senior Area Manager at Integrated Facility Services (IFS), has been with Northwest Center for 15 years and knows what it takes to succeed. From working long hours to personally inspecting with her teams the 1.6 million square feet of property she manages; Tracee knows that hard work and proper management leads to successful teams.
Written by: Wendy Heddrick & Jackie Fountain
Edited by: Jennifer Owen
Innovation blossoms in environments that embrace diversity. At Argus, the female-run janitorial service defies the traditional insular, male dominated profession with a workforce largely consisting of women, minorities, and people of all abilities. We sat down with General Manager Jackie and Senior Manager Wendy to learn about their model of inclusive employment and all the strides Argus is making in the Pacific Northwest.
Northwest Center and Value Village Celebrate 50 years in 2017
By Denise Small
Senior Director, Big Blue Truck
In 1967, just two years after our founding, Northwest Center entered into a partnership with Value Village. We collect clothing and household donations with The Big Blue Truck™ and The Blue Bin. Value Village buys that merchandise to sell in its stores, and the revenue funds our education and employment programs. The innovative “social business” model was decades ahead of its time. Today, the partnership is stronger than ever, collecting state wide.
Northwest Center’s business relationship with Value Village has been the foundation of our entire philosophy of change, which is to use business to create social good. Now the world is embracing the business value of diversity at unprecedented scale, thanks in part to this breakthrough that started 50 years ago right here in Seattle.
April means Autism Awareness month! Be sure to explore the sensory sensitive events taking place throughout Seattle:
We know that workplaces benefit the more diverse they become, but the number of unemployed people with disabilities highlights how much change is yet to come. If you or your organization are interested in hiring individuals with disabilities, consider the following advice and tips to find the right employee.
Last week, my child was bullied.
And while this is more common than not in today’s world, it was a first for our house. It was also a first that I expected sooner rather than later. Knowing this, I assumed I would be fully prepared to know how Sully would respond (poorly) and how I, as his mother, would need to support him (intensely).
Looking to explore something new this weekend? Check out our list of family friendly activities based throughout the Seattle metro area!
Know of other goings-on? Let us know in the comments or on Facebook!
Modes of communication consistently evolve, with technology serving as a catalyst. New assistive technology is focusing on ways to facilitate communication for people who are non-verbal or have difficulties expressing themselves verbally. Whether reading brain waves or offering quick expression sharing options, tech ventures are a driving force behind innovative ways to democratize communication.
Seattle’s swaths of downtown real estate are looked after by Debbie, who manages the janitorial teams responsible for the upkeep of government institutions housed in historic office buildings and modern skyscrapers.
Happy World Reading Day! While every day should be a reading day, today we get to celebrate the amazing invention of the story. Books are such an incredible tool when it comes to children’s success, development, and creativity. Books have enabled children all around the world to engage one another in a common language. They teach us how to be good people. Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree teaches the importance of sharing and appreciating your loved ones (and has been translated into more than 30 languages). Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax shows us the value of taking care of the world around you. Crockett Johnsons’ Harold and the Purple Crayon is a perfect illustration of just how far your imagination can take you.
Spring is around the corner and we couldn’t be more excited to be outside and get some sunshine on our faces. If you’re looking for some accessible activities to get involved in during the upcoming months, check out some of the resources below!
1) Friendship Adventures
Based out of Kirkland, Friendship Adventures focuses on recreation, education and leisure activities for people with developmental disabilities. From bingo to dances, they’re all about building community.
2) Outdoors for All Foundation
From kayaking to snowboarding, Outdoors for All’s mission is to enrich the quality of life for children and adults with disabilities through outdoor education. Offering a diverse selection, see if there’s one for you!
3) Wilderness Inquiry
Providing integrated trips with people of all abilities, Wilderness Inquiry wants to get as many people out enjoying nature as possible. They also provide inclusive equipment meant to meet a range of needs.
4) Seattle Adaptive Sports
Seattle Adaptive Sports facilitates athletic and recreational activities for youths and adults with physical disabilities, and offers a mélange of options. Basketball, tennis and soccer are all some of the classic sports leagues you can join.
5) Aquatic Therapy Services
A combination of mental relaxation and physical well-being can result from spending time in the water, especially if it’s in the form of aquatic therapy. If you’re located in the Seattle area, Seattle Children's Hospital has an accessible pool which is always heated to 93 degrees. If you happen to be located near Sammamish, Community Integration Services offer several programs for both children and adults.
Let us know of any other organizations, groups or services you enjoy participating with, we want to spread the word!
On February 7th, Betsy DeVos was confirmed as Secretary of Education under President Donald Trump. This process – from President Trump announcing DeVos as a candidate to her confirmation – has been one of the most contested cabinet positions in modern history. In an unprecedented vote, the U.S. Senate confirmed Betsy DeVos to be secretary of education despite widespread concerns about her comments on special education.
With a full agenda of developments and exciting news, there’s a lot to be excited about at Northwest Center in this upcoming year. One thing we’re especially pleased to share with you all is the launch of our advocacy branch; a new sector of Northwest Center aiming to connect our clients with even more resources both locally and nationally, while also supplying useful, nonpartisan information to help families and individuals make the best choices for themselves.
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