The Quiet Epidemic: Our seniors are developing drug & alcohol addiction at an alarming rate. We provide information, resources and treatment for care providers and seniors battling addiction and related conditions
Our Mission: Let's not forget our seniors and their families. Lets give them the best support, information, resources and tools to overcome addiction and pursue lifelong recovery. We are here to help you and your loved one every step of the way.
by Andy Rausch
Fort Scott resident Joe Reinecker, 59, suffers from Cerebral Palsy. The condition was first diagnosed when Reinecker was four. “I’ve found out that the older I get, the worse my Cerebral Palsy gets,” says Reinecker.”I wish someone would have told me at the time that when you get older, when you’re almost age 60, this is gonna get worse and you’re gonna have to handle it this way or that way.” But no one did, so as the years have passed, Reinecker has had to constantly readjust the way he approaches things due to the evolution of his condition.
One of the changes has been an increased difficulty in mobility. “I walk a lot slower now,” says Reinecker, who now uses forearm crutches to assist him. “When I was a kid in school I could run and I could get somewhere fairly quickly. As I get older, I’m not fast at all. It’s a lucky day if I can go fast from the living room to the bathroom.”
Reinecker has found a valued ally in SKIL, which he first discovered when the organization purchased KSEK in Pittsburg. After sixteen years as the assistant to the Director of Community Relations at Fort Scott Community College, Reinecker was seeking a new career path. “The radio station was looking for someone to help on the air,” recalls Reinecker. “I’d always wanted to work in radio, so it was perfect for me. When I was 10-years-old I used to sit in my house and play records and dream about the possibility of becoming a DJ. I had always loved radio, so this was right up my alley.”
Reinecker applied to work at KSEK and was eventually hired as a board operator during high school sporting events. That job soon evolved into an opportunity to work as a disc jockey, allowing him to finally achieve his childhood dream of being an on-air personality. “I did a rock-and-roll show from six to nine a.m.,” Reinecker explains. “I got to play classic rock, like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.”
In 2015, SKIL sold the radio station to a new owner. “Everybody who worked there lost their job except for me,” says Reinecker. “The reason I didn’t get fired is because SKIL thought I could do the Resource Central podcast for their website. [Business Manager] Bill Cochran told me, ‘We think you can do this because people will be able to look at disability issues through your eyes.’ That’s why they kept me around, and I’m extremely thankful.” The podcast eventually died an untimely death in early 2018, but Reinecker remains a SKIL employee, working in public relations and generating material for the agency’s website.
His relationship with SKIL ultimately led to his receiving assistive services through the Working Healthy program. This program allows him to have in-home assistance with daily activities, such as house cleaning, meal preparation, and grocery shopping. “I wouldn’t have known about the Working Healthy program if it hadn’t been for my becoming affiliated with SKIL through my work at the radio station. I’m extremely thankful for both SKIL and the Working Healthy program. It has been instrumental in my being able to continue living a quality life in my own home.”
The NIDILRR-funded Collaborative on Health Reform and Independent Living (CHRIL) is looking for adults with disabilities to complete an online survey about getting and using health insurance and health care services. Whether you have private insurance, insurance from an employer, Medicaid, Medicare or no insurance please complete the survey. We want to know how the Affordable Care Act (ACA) may be affecting your life.
Adults ages 18 to 62 with any type of disability are encouraged to participate.
The survey should take about 20 minutes to complete and your responses are anonymous.
To go to the survey click here: National Survey on Health Reform and Disability
(or copy & paste into your browser: https://kusurvey.ca1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_cRVi7OagAy883vn)
Whether or not you complete the survey, you can choose to enter a drawing to win one of five $100 gift cards.
by Andy Rausch and Joe Reinecker
The mission statement for the Kansas Youth Empowerment Academy (KYEA) is “to educate, mentor, and support youth with disabilities to be contributing members of their community.”
The organization, established in 2005, works to empower and support youth with disabilities throughout the state. “What that means is we provide different programs and different services to help them learn about their disabilities and learn about possibilities for their future,” explains Program Coordinator Carrie Greenwood. “We do goal setting and make them aware of resources that are available to them. We help them to be proud of who they are as a person with a disability.”
KYEA introduces the youth to other people with disabilities who are working and leading successful lives in order to demonstrate the opportunity potential for their future. The age range for the disabled young KYEA assists range between the ages of five and 25.
Some of the programs KYEA offers are the Faces of Change program, the Empower Me series workshop, and most notably the Kansas Youth Leadership Forum. The first Youth Leadership Forum was held in California in 1992. The first Kansas Youth Leadership Forum was held in the summer of 2001. The forum is a motivational five-day conference containing 25-30 high school juniors and seniors with disabilities who come together to learn about leadership, advocacy, and goal setting.
This year’s Kansas Youth Leadership Forum will be held on July 9-14, 2018 at Washburn University in Topeka. High school students interested in attending can find out more information at the event’s website (http://www.kyea.org/upcomingksylf).