Belinda Richardson moved from Florida to Wisconsin in 2007, to attend school at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she recently graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Rehabilitation Psychology and Special Education. She has been involved with working and volunteering with different organizations such as Wisconsin Quality Home Care Commission and UW-Madison Adaptive Fitness program. She is currently employed at ATI as an Outreach Coordinator. She will be networking with other agencies in the Southeast region of Wisconsin. While remaining in Madison, she plans on receiving her Masters degree in Rehabilitation Psychology.
Sleeping a little safer now
Becky is a deaf single mother who owns her own home. When Madison changed its smoke alarm code, Becky realized that her house wasn’t up to date and wouldn’t pass. If she was hearing she could have gone to her local store to buy updated alarms. Being deaf she was required to buy specialized alarms costing $200 each and needing professional installation.
To learn more and get assistance Becky contacted Access to Independence. Staff first educated Becky on the different alarms available so she could make an informed decision for her home. Later Access to Independence connected Becky with the Madison Fire Department where she learned of a grant program offering donated visual alarms for deaf. Becky was able to take advantage of this and have the Fire Department place them in the best locations of her home. They also educated her on making an escape route and fire prevention.
Becky was very thankful to Access to Independence for hosting different educational workshops to the deaf community so that she too can learn.
The new alarms are now installed in her home. Becky can now sleep better knowing that her house is safe.
Meet our New Program Director- Jason Beloungy
Jason Beloungy is the new Program Director for Access to Independence. Jason will oversee the programs and services that ATI offers, and will work to ensure that ATI is meeting the needs of people with disabilities throughout the 4-county region. Before coming to ATI, Jason was a Policy Analyst for the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL), in Washington, D.C. NCIL is a membership organization that advances independent living and the rights of people with disabilities through consumer-driven advocacy. Jason worked in such areas as healthcare and long-term care reform, the Americans with Disabilities Act and other civil rights and judicial issues, employment and social security reform, voting rights, and funding for Centers for Independent Living (CIL) and Statewide Independent Living Councils (SILC). Prior to his time with NCIL in Washington, D.C., Jason spent several years working for Independent Living Resources (ILR), the independent living center that serves the western and southwestern portion of Wisconsin. Jason worked as an Independent Living Specialist in the ILR Satellite office in Richland Center. Jason has also spent parts of his career working in a community residential setting, a community mental health program, a treatment facility for youth and adolescents in the criminal justice system, and lobbying and legislative research with a state chapter of a national association. Jason received his Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire. Jason currently lives south of Madison with his wife, Heather; and his two daughters, Ella and Ilana.
Meet our New Staff Person- Nick Isham
Nick Isham is the new Independent Living Coordinator who will be covering Dodge County. The past five years Nick had worked in Madison as a Direct Support Employee for Developmentally Disabled people and is looking forward to using his skills as the new IL Coordinator for Access to Independence. Nick is from Middleton, Wisconsin with a BA is psychology from Upper Iowa University-Madison Center. Nick has been hearing impaired since birth that ranges from moderate to severe and uses hearing aids in both ears. In the past Nick had studied culinary arts at the Madison Area Technical College and worked in a restaurant for four years. Nick now enjoys cooking for family and friends as a hobby along with playing music with his friends.
ACCESS to Independence, Inc. | 3810 Milwaukee St., Madison, WI 53714 | Copyright 2005, Access to Independence, Inc. All rights reserved.