Demonstrating MJM’s commitment to become the “go to resource” that partners with the I/DD population and their families, we hosted our spring Touch Point seminar in collaboration with Rockingham Community College on April 10, 2018. The focus of the seminar addressed three critical emerging needs facing our teens and adults: guardianship, estate planning/legal directives and post high school services.

Rockingham County Clerk of Superior Court, Mark Pegram, presented on the need of guardianship awareness for parents with children approaching 18 years of age or older. Mr. Pegram explained the non-threatening steps needed to become a guardian for a person needing assistance in making life decisions. Attorney Darren McDonough delivered a presentation on estate planning and advanced legal directives. The importance of properly preparing children and adults with I/DD to go through life securely is paramount. Mr. McDonough addressed the group on The Able Act. MJM plans to conduct a future seminar that addresses this benefit.

Following the guardianship and estate planning presentations, the seminar turned its focus to the critical need of post high school programs and services. Mara O’Neil from the Career College program at RCC shared with the audience an excellent 12 week program geared to I/DD students offered through RCC. This course provides students with foundational skills for entering into a career or preparing for additional classes. Along with academics, horticulture and customer service skills are being taught this semester.

Tim Simmons and Rahim Skinner, community engagement personnel from Cardinal Innovation Healthcare, provided information to attendees on how to sign up for Innovations Waiver Services. The critical need addressed in this presentation is the fact that there is a 90 person waiting list for services in Rockingham County alone, with nearly a 5 year average wait period.

The evening ended with the recognition of the critical need for alternative programs and services for the unmet needs within the I/DD community. Mount Jubilee is clearly paving the way to address these unmet needs. In addition to 2018 Camp Jubilee, MJM is planning delivery of a faith based adult day program to accommodate 16 people with intellectual or developmental disabilities as soon as 2019.

Simultaneously with the seminar, in an adjoining classroom, 10 special friends joined 13 MJM volunteers in a fun time of fellowship, singing, stories and crafts. David Cullen, MJM’s Programs Committee chairman, shared the story of Zacchaeus and led the group in singing. Our craft was to paint a tree using a straw to create the trunk and branches. Besides tying in nicely with our story, the trees were beautiful! They were  decorated in spring blossoms just like our neighborhoods. A special thanks to all of the volunteers who came out and worked alongside our special friends. It was obvious by the laughter and smiles as we created our trees that we were all blessed to be brought together for the evening.