Check out this month's family & caregiver news.
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Dear Friend,

Happy New Year! As we kick off 2019, we're reflecting on all that happened during 2018. 
One of our top priorities in 2018 was to support you, the family caregiver. Last April, we announced that we received a grant to create a caregiver-friendly community through the Becker Trust. To supplement that grant, the Autism Alliance recently received a grant to start a respite training program! Over the next few months, they will start training a group of people from local high schools and colleges interested in providing respite support for families with a loved one with autism. If you know anyone who is interested in these trainings, please reach out:
Now that we're in a new year, we're thinking of new ways to support you, including a monthly live chatroom to answer your questions around a variety of topics. If you're interested in participating in the chat room and have ideas about topics, please take this survey:


Pam and Jeff

Pam McKillop
Family Event Coordinator

Jeff Keilson
Senior Vice President

Our Pledge to Support Families

We are committed to partnering with family caregivers in doing all that we can to support you, reduce your stress, and help provide opportunities for your loved ones with disabilities. You are heroic in caring for your loved ones with limited resources. Over many years, strides have been made in improving support, but the need is still great. It is our mission to strengthen our partnership with you as you work through everyday challenges.

Our hope is that you can turn to this newsletter for many reasons: finding new opportunities through Pam's Picks, recreational events, and workshops; reading about and sharing caregiver stories; and finding support through workshops, data, and other valuable resources. If you have resources, ideas, or want to share your caregiver story, please reach out! 
Contact Us

Featured Story

Finn's Pink Rug
Finn is a 2 year old boy who has cerebral palsy and bilateral reinoblastoma, which causes him to be nearly blind. After his family moved to a new apartment, Finn was falling more because the lighting was making it hard for him to see properly. His vision teacher suggested buying a new rug. Finn's mom sought assistance through the Fred Gaspari Fund at Advocates to help buy the rug for Finn - and was granted the money!
Watch Finn's Story on CBS

Family Caregiver Month Review

November was a month of celebration and recognition of the hardworking parents and family caregivers who dedicate so much time to their loved ones with disabilities. Thank you so much to everyone who participated in our Family Caregiver Contest and applied to the Gaspari Fund! 
Gaspari Fund
In 2018, Advocates received 107 applications - 30% more than in 2017 - from parents, grandparents, siblings, and other family members caring for loved ones dealing with trauma, disabilities, illnesses, and more. Though available funds are limited, 33 of the 107 families received small grants this year, totaling more than $7,600.

We're grateful to the donors who made it possible to help Finn and the 32 other families through the 2018 Fred Gaspari Fund. Help us help more families in 2019 by donating to the Fred Gaspari Fund for Families on the Advocates website
Read more about the 2018 Gaspari Fund
Caregiver Contest
Parents, families, and friends were among the 37 people recognized for this year’s Caregiver Contest. We are proud to announce the 4 winners: Carla, Kerry, Christina, and Kathy - all moms who care for their children with a variety of challenges. Congratulations!
Read the winners' stories


A Full Life Ahead: The ABC's of AFC and PCA
Thursday, February 7, 2019 6:30 - 8:30 PM
Advocates Main Office, 1881 Worcester Road, Framingham, MA 

Adult Family Care (AFC) and Personal Care Assistance (PCA) are two MassHealth funded programs that can support you and your loved one. Learn which of these benefits will work best for your family.

This event will be recorded live on Facebook if you cannot attend in person or would like to re-watch the presentation. 
December A Full Life Ahead Follow-up

Last month, we held our A Full Life Ahead workshop about Supported Decision Making. Guest speaker Michael J. Kendrick from the Center for Public Representation explained the process, gave examples of individuals who are successfully using this option, and answered questions at the end. 
Watch December's Workshop
A Full Life Ahead Series is presented by Massachusetts Families Organizing for Change in partnership with Advocates. The series focuses on transition, employment, housing, friendships, and other topics that will lead to independent, full lives. 


Fun, Friends, and Family: Mini-Golf
Saturday, February 16, 2019 12:30 - 2:30 PM
Advocates Life Skills and Learning Center, 290 Eliot Street, Ashland, MA 
Cost: Please bring $5 cash

Bring friends and family and show off your putting skills as we transform the Life Skills and Learning Center into a 9-hole course! Please note that no refreshments will be served at this event. 
Advocates Fun, Friends, & Family events are open to individuals with disabilities who are 16 or older, staff who support them, their families, and friends. We welcome members of the Advocates community, as well as those interested in learning more about us.
Save the Date: Kite Day
Saturday, April 27, 2019 11:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Framingham, MA

Join us atop Bose Mountain for a fun, sensory-friendly event! Bring your own kite for a festival-like afternoon to celebrate Autism Awareness month. 
Learn More
Featured Resource
Rewarding Work
Rewarding Work provides an online directory of workers interested in providing respite, in-home and community support services for DDS eligible individuals and families. The online directory is a free service for individuals and families who receive DDS funding, including self-directed programs.

Families served by DDS subscribe free when they register with the DDS access code: ddsconnect. Rewarding Work allows families and job applicants to match their interests and locations based on carefully designed criteria to ensure successful matches.

The website also includes a job board, where individuals and families may post an ad detailing their specific job needs and receive email responses from interested applicants. Rewarding Work is an affiliate of TILL, Inc.

For more information or to register, call 866-212-9675 or visit:
Visit Rewarding Work's Website

Pam's Picks

Our wonderful family event coordinator always has fun and informative resources to share. Check out what she picked this month!
Adaptive Skating and Ice Games

Come to the Porrazzo Memorial Rink in East Boston for this free event on February 2 and March 3! 
Learn More
Planning a Life Conference

Join the Federation for Children with Special Needs for this two-day transition planning conference on February 7 and February 8. 
Learn More
Disabilitiy:IN Massachusetts Employer Meet and Greet

College students and recent graduates with disabilities to this recruiting event to learn about companies, find jobs, and network.
Learn More
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