SLICE OF LIFE: DOUG SILVERN
See the story in the Frederick News Post here:
Doug Silvern started his job in 2005 and hasn't worked a day since.
At least it seems that way at times.
“The things we do for people and the relationships we build, I would volunteer to do this kind of work. It didn't feel like I was laboring at all,” Silvern said. “The work that we do is just delightful.”
Silvern works at the nonprofit Service Coordination Inc., the largest resource coordination agency in Maryland, serving more than 13,700 individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities by linking them with government or private programs to improve their lives.
Amy Buhrman, a supervising service coordinator, said Frederick has 20 service coordinators.
She has worked with Silvern for a year and a half, but knew him previously through their past work.
"He's an amazing person and one of the most positive people I've ever met," Buhrman said. "He has a passion for people and the community."
Silvern was attracted to the job after his 30-year career as a special education teacher and administrator in Montgomery County Schools because he wanted to help his students into their adulthood, he said.
He has had some of the same clients for all eight of his years at the agency, coming to know them on a deeper level.
“We laugh. We talk. We have a bond. It's very important,” he said. “Because then the walls come down, they talk. They tell you what their dreams are, what their goals are.”
He beams when he talks about the successes of some clients. Such as the man who moved out of his parents' home in his 20s and now lives with his fiancee in downtown Frederick while working a full-time job and volunteering in several service organizations.
Recently, Silvern helped a woman who was providing in-home care for both her grown son, Silvern's client, and her ailing mother. Silvern connected the family with a caregiver for the son, and “you could just see the stress lifting,” he said.
“We get a lot of reward when families are given the gift of support,” he said.
The job has helped him in several ways, Silvern said, including his increased involvement in civic organizations through the connections he makes.
He is active in Frederick Challenger Civitan, F.R.I.E.N.D.S., Frederick County Special Education Citizens Advisory Committee, Frederick Running Festival and Patty Pollatos Fund.
The groups help him build a connection to the community where he has lived for more than 30 years, but for decades had to commute out of each morning, Silvern said.
“At first, I didn't really know where I live,” the Middletown resident said. “Now, I love where I live. I just love it.”
And that's what feeds his drive to give back, he said.
Know of a person who would make a good Slice? If so, please send your suggestions email@example.com or call us at 301-662-1178 and ask for a city editor.
Follow Danielle E. Gaines on Twitter: @danielleegaines
SAVE THE DATE: MARYLAND TRANSITION CONFERENCE!
Sponsored by the Governor's Interagency Transition Council, for Youth with Disabilities
- WHEN: Saturday, November 16, 2013
- WHERE: Comfort Inn & Conference Center - Bowie, MD
- PRIMARY AUDIENCE: Transitioning Youth and their families
- TIME: 8AM - 4PM
- Postsecondary Education
- Adult Service Linkages
- Accommodations & Supports
- Youth Development & Leadership
Rooms can be reserved at the Comfort Inn & Conference Center
4500 Crain Highway
Bowie, Maryland 20716
Rooms are reserved under the IATC
Rachael Faulkner, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sequaya Tasker, email: Sequaya.Tasker@maryland.gov
SERVICE COORDINATION 2013 SELF DIRECTION CONFERENCES
Our Community: Together We Are Stronger!
APRIL 3, 2012 (Frederick, MD): Service Coordination, Inc., a nonprofit organization that provides resource coordination services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to more than 13,400 Marylanders, will host seven Self Direction Conferences this spring. The 2013 theme is Our Community: Together We Are Stronger!
Service Coordination’s 2013 Self Direction Conferences are local events for community members with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Registration for all conferences is free and open to the public. Each conference features presentations by and for self-advocates, interactive workshops, time to meet other self-advocates, lunch and a very special presentation by keynote speaker, Dan Keplinger, Jr. In 1983 Daniel became a subject in the documentary “Beginning with Bang,” a film about how six children, from different backgrounds and with disabilities, would be educated. He was later the main subject and writer of The 2000 Oscar winning documentary “King Gimp.” In 2001, Daniel was featured in a Super Bowl commercial for Cingular Wireless to promote self-expression. The commercial was ranked number one in a USA Today survey. Dan is currently an artist and public speaker. Topics discussed include: accessible arts, overcoming physical challenges and creating success.
2013 CONFERENCE INFORMATION:
North Baltimore/Towson Self Direction Conference
Saturday, April 27, 2013, 8:30am—2pm, Oak Crest Village,
8820 Walther Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21234
Contact: Lisa Smith, 410-256-8441, email@example.com
Allegany/Garrett County Self Direction Conference
Tuesday, April 30, 2013, 10am—2pm, Allegany College of MD,
12401 Willowbrook Road, SE, Cumberland, MD 21502
Contact: Amanda Paul, 301-722-1470, firstname.lastname@example.org
Washington County Self Direction Conference
Wednesday, May 1, 2013, 9:30am—1:30pm, Ramada Plaza Hotel,
1718 Underpass Way, Hagerstown, MD 21740
Contact: Sarah Johnson, 301-791-0400, email@example.com
Howard County Self Direction Conference
Tuesday, May 7, 2013, 10am—2pm, Columbia Meeting House,
5885 Robert Oliver Place, Columbia, MD 21045
Contact: Bonita Miller-Real, 410-772-8774, firstname.lastname@example.org
Frederick County Self Direction Conference
Thursday, May 9, 2013, 10am—2pm, Mount St. Mary’s Frederick Campus,
5350 Spectrum Drive, Frederick, MD 21703
Contact: Ann Verbeten, 301-663-8044, email@example.com
Montgomery County Self Direction Conference
Saturday, May 11, 2013, 10am—2pm, Montgomery County Executive Office Building,
101 Monroe Street Rockville, MD 20850
Contact: Mike Baisey, firstname.lastname@example.org
Carroll County Self Direction Conference
Wednesday, May 15, 2013, 10am—2pm, Carroll County Nonprofit Center,
255 Clifton Boulevard, Westminster, MD 21157
Contact: Kari Borgealt, 410-876-0028, email@example.com
The 2013 Self Direction Conferences mark the 5th year of Service Coordination’s annual events. For more information and registration information, visit www.servicecoordinationinc.org orwww.facebook.com/servicecoordination.
COUNTY EXECUTIVES AND MAYORS IN MARYLAND ISSUE LOCAL PROCLAMATIONS TO OBSERVE TODAY AS: INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
DECEMBER 3, 2012 (Baltimore, MD): December 3rd is recognized around the world as International Day of Persons with Disabilities (#IDPWD). International Day of Persons with Disabilities is a United Nations sanctioned day that aims to promote an understanding of people with a disability and encourage support for their dignity, rights and well-being. Elected officials throughout Maryland are recognizing this day locally for the 1st time in this area.
Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Cumberland Mayor Brian Grim issued local proclamations to observe today, December 3, 2012, as of International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley has also issued his support of persons with disabilities.
The 2012 Theme of IDPD is “removing barriers.” Local awareness about this day stemmed from a Frederick, MD teenager with disabilities and his vision to help remove social barriers by asking people to use considerate and respectful dialogue. See his message here on: www.facebook.com/servicecoordination.
Observation of this day also includes a Proclamation by President Barack Obama of the United States of America. In part, the 2011 Presidential Proclamation reads:
On International Day of Persons with Disabilities, we recommit to ensuring people living with disabilities enjoy full equality and unhindered participation in all facets of our national life. We recognize the myriad contributions that persons with disabilities make at home and abroad, and we remember that disability rights are universal rights to be recognized and promoted around the world.
Service Coordination, a local nonprofit organization that coordinates resources for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, along with leaders in Maryland including: Governor Martin O’Malley, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Cumberland Mayor Brian Grim are encouraging members of the community to support International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
“In Maryland, we believe in dignity of every individual, and that's why we work to ensure that our citizens with disabilities have the opportunity to be productive members of their communities," said Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley. "With this goal in mind, we are committed to supporting programs and policies that create new opportunities in employment, community living, education, housing and transportation for all Marylanders with disabilities.”
"In Baltimore County, we work hard to foster a culture and environment that provides the supports and opportunities for people with disabilities to participate in all aspects of community life," said Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. "By embracing our differences and adapting to one another's challenges, we build a better community."
“As we work to grow Baltimore in the next 10 years, we are focused on ensuring all residents have an opportunity to call this great city home,” said Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. “We are focused on improving services and policies to make Baltimore more accessible for everyone.”
Service Coordination has issued a call to action by asking citizens to pledge to learn about and use People-First language to demonstrate universal rights for all. People-first language is a style of speech that aims to avoid perceived and subconscious stereotypes when discussing people with disabilities.
“Putting people first is a basic tenet of good government. Today is just a reminder that treating all people with disabilities with respect and dignity is something we should practice 365 days a year,“ said Howard County Executive Ken Ulman. “Nothing is simpler than embracing the concept of People-First language. We should never let our language give the perception that a person is defined by his or her disability. It’s a matter of equality for all. I applaud and I appreciate the countless contributions made every day by people with disabilities.”
“We need to continue to work every day to ensure that individuals with disabilities have an excellent quality of life—in housing, in employment and in every area of life,” said Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett. “I urge all residents of Montgomery County and throughout the area to commit themselves to helping those with disabilities achieve this.”
Service Coordination created online forums including a blog and Facebook page where people can pledge to demonstrate integrity and equality with a commitment to use People-First language from December 3rd going forward.
“Our organization strives to connect people to supports in their communities and also works to increase awareness about rights for people of all ability levels whenever possible. On behalf of the more than 13,000 Marylanders who we serve and many others around the world, we proudly recognize and embrace this important day,” said Executive Director of Service Coordination, John Dumas.
SERVICE COORDINATION PARTICIPATES IN FESTIVAL OF WREATHS
NOVEMBER 21, 2012 (Westminster, MD): Service Coordination, a local nonprofit organization that provides resource coordination for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, will once again participate in the Carroll County Arts Festival of Wreaths.
The Festival of Wreaths is one of the most well-attended holiday events in Carroll County and serves as the official start of the holiday shopping season in downtown Westminster. Each year more than 200 theme wreaths are displayed through this weeklong silent auction and it is the Arts Council’s most significant
fundraising event. Visitors experience a wonderland of creativity and generosity as they vote for their favorites in this spectacular event. More information can be found at the Carroll County Arts Council website here: http://carrollcountyartscouncil.org.
Artist Cherie Smith of Service Coordination has submitted a wreath on behalf of the organization called, “Hands of Hope: hands at work, hands at play” which represents the organization’s mission to connect people throughout our community. Service Coordination participates in this festival to raise awareness for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Last year’s entry by Service Coordination was awarded the honor of “Most Artistic.”
SERVICE COORDINATION EXPLORES GOING MOBILE
SEPTEMBER 12, 2012 (Hagerstown, MD): Service Coordination, Inc. will be moving towards a more mobile work force in an effort to better serve the local individuals who receive resource coordination services from the nonprofit organization.
Service Coordination’s mobile work force project includes a thorough review of operational needs and capacities and the potential for a reduction in physical offices. This project is now underway with evaluation of the Service Coordination office in Hagerstown as its lease is up for renewal in December 2012 and the timing provides an opportunity to review the necessity for traditional office space.
“This is an exciting initiative that could help us evolve our services to better serve people in the community,” said Executive Director of Service Coordination, John Dumas.
The evaluation and consideration for dedicated office space stems from an interest to better serve the community by making use of emerging technology to create virtual workplaces from any location. A mobile work force for Service Coordination could provide more integrated services and flexible meeting details for local individuals with disabilities. Rather than people in the community travelling to meet at Service Coordination offices, Service Coordination staff could effectively meet with community members at locations and times that are meaningful to them. The mobile work force approach focuses on adapting workplace policies to best meet the needs of people in the community who need resource coordination.
“We are confident that exploring ideas for a more mobile work force will enhance the services we provide as it will allow instant communication with the use of new technology, simplify processes and offer better flexibility for our staff,” said Dumas. “This includes equipping Service Coordination staff with new tools to complete their work from virtually anywhere.”
Some companies that adapt to mobile work forces are able to generate cost savings for their business or organization and increase the efficiency of available resources. Additional benefits include improved employee satisfaction, and a decrease in environmental impacts from reduced emissions that result from daily travel.
During and following the mobile work force evaluation, Service Coordination will continue all services as usual in the Washington County area. Feedback from community members and area providers about this development is welcomed via the Service Coordination facebook page located at: facebook.com/servicecoordination.
Regular updates about the progression of this project will be posted on the Service Coordination blog, on twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ServiceCoord and on facebook. For more information, visit Service Coordination online at http://www.servicecoordinationinc.org, or call 301-791-0400.
See what's happening at Service Coordination. Our monthly newsletter is posted here: