Winter 2018/19 Newsletter

A Message from the Program Director

What makes our program so special?  The answer may be as simple as L-O-V-E.  Many  of our employees have been at IPI since the early days.  Over the past year each of our dedicated staff members has taken Sensitivity and Cultural Diversity classes allowing us to better connect with our members.  We have developed great relationships in the community, with family members, and with each other.

Our agency receives its basic funding from the good state of Arizona.  As we are a nonprofit agency, people have opened their hearts and offered whatever they could.  Some offered us items such as food or clothing.

Others may have volunteered for special events or given us a price break.  And there are those who donated money or approved a grant.  Still others may have shared ideas, explained directions, or just given us a kind word when we were out in the community.

Valentine’s Day may have come and gone; but, the appreciation we have for each other and our community partners never expires.

Happy Valentine’s Day- all year long!

Sharyl Torres



6th Annual Bowl-a-thon

Our 6th Annual Bowl-a-thon will be on Saturday, May 4th.  Every year the bowl-a-thon grows and brings in more money for our organization.  Come join in the fun and help Independence Plus to continue it’s great programs!  Participant who brings in the most pledge money gets an original signed 16 x 24″ fine art photo canvas print.  You do not need to physically bowl to win this grand prize.  Just go out and ask family members and friends to donate to our cause.  On the day of the event, you turn in your pledge sheet and monies collected have someone else turn it in for you. Plenty of door prizes will be handed out during the bowl-a-thon.  When everyone is finished bowling, $100 cash prize for  the highest score will be announced.  Winner for 50-50 raffle will also be picked.  You do not need to participate or be in attendance at the bowl-a-thon to participate  in the 50-50 raffle.  Good luck everybody!

Arizona Gives Day 2019

Arizona Gives Day returns on April 2, 2019.   24 hours of giving benefits our local nonprofits and strengthens our community. The event will inspire people to give generously.    PLEASE MAKE INDEPENDENCE PLUS ONE OF YOUR PRIORITIES .  Do not forget: receive up to $400 Arizona state dollar for dollar tax credit per individual or $800 for married couple (filing jointly) when you donate by tax time.  Donate $400 by April 15, 2019 and you can still receive $400 dollar for dollar tax credit on Az State taxes for 2018 or apply it towards your 2019 tax return..

Welcome To Our New Members!

* Only Members with Photo Release can be included in our newsletters.

Over the last 2 months Independence Plus participated in outreach events.  Our Associate Director, Dr. Greg, gave a power point presentation to transition coordinators at Phoenix College and another presentation to coordinators and families at North Phoenix High School. Increased exposure means more tours and ultimately more members we can serve!

February 2019 we received grant money from the Sundt and Allstate Foundations.  Sundt’s check in the amount of $1,800 arrived on Valentines Day!  A check for $1,000 arrived from The Allstate Foundation later in the month.  We can now go ahead and purchase the heavy duty electric hoyer lift for our center and help pay towards our van repair bills.   THANK YOU SUNDT AND ALLSTATE FOUNDATIONS!! 

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Fall 2018 Newsletter

A Message from the Associate Director

By the time you receive this newsletter Thanksgiving will have recently passed.  I hope everyone had a blessed day.

This time of year we give thanks to everyone who assists Independence Plus.  We are grateful for our wonderful staff who magically come together when they are needed the most.  We are also very thankful for Thomas Schell.  He recently joined our Board of Directors and has put in numerous volunteer hours doing repairs to our building and upkeep to our vans.  His enthusiasm to see Independence Plus thrive is infectious.  We are also grateful for our 20th  year of service to our community (see p. 3)!

We are extremely grateful to various foundations and individuals that have either provided grant money or donations throughout the year.  A shout out goes to the Allstate Foundation for a grant donation this month in the amount of $1,000.00. Because we are funded by the state, many (including staff and members’ families) falsely believe that all our bills are taken care of.   State monies help us squeak by from month to month.  Foundations and individuals allow us to provide extras that can mean so much to our cause.  Presently  we are seeking monies to purchase a portable electric lift that will make life alot safer for members and staff.  This grant money from Allstate Foundation will certainly help us towards this goal.

On the back page of this newsletter is a donation form.  If you can, please help us out!  Any and all donations no matter how large or small are greatly appreciated.  Arizonans can receive state tax credit as well.

May your holidays be full of thanks, blessings, health, and peace!

2018 Arizona State Fair

WOW!  Another great year of competition for Independence Plus at the Arizona State Fair held each year during the month of October.  In Home Arts we took 1st Place for Holiday/Valentines Day category.  1st Place for Holiday/Halloween. 1st Place for Model Kit Building.  And Honorable Mention for Holiday/Christmas. We also took Honorable Mention for Wood Crafts.  Our Associate director, Dr. Greg, took 2nd place in the pro photography division with his panoramic picture entitled, “Elephant and the Stars”   WAY TO GO INDEPENDENCE PLUS!!!

Special Olympics Bowling

Brunswick Zone Desert Sky Lanes – Phoenix, Arizona

Regional Special Olympics bowling took place on November 13, 2018.  Five  members participated.    This year we won 2 Gold, 1 Silver, and 1 Bronze Medals.  We also had 1 fourth place ribbon winner.  Congratulations to everyone that participated.  You are ALL winners!

Happy Halloween

Wednesday, October 31st, was a fun day at Independence Plus.  Each program area had their own game or activity.  Rooms then took  turns visiting all the other program areas.  Photo Booth in Yucca.  Pin the Nose on the Pumpkin in Juniper.  Ghost Pin Bowling in Ocotillo, Trunk-or-Treat in Cholla and Dancing in Sahuaro.  Arts & Crafts began at 9:00 AM.  10:00 AM brought In-House Movies to our program areas.  Lunch was served starting at 11:30PM with a beautifully decorated table of goodies.  Room games and activities started around 12:30 PM.   At 1:30 PM members voted for the Best Staff Costume and staff voted for the Best Member Costume.  At 3:00 PM ISP and regular educational activities took place.  All in all it was a full day at Independence Plus!

Independence Plus 20th Anniversary Celebration!

On Friday November 16th we celebrated our 20 year Anniversary of “Serving the Special Needs of Arizona” at Sahuaro Ranch Park in Glendale.  Weather was magnificent and everyone had a great time!  Everybody brought items of their choice to place in the time capsule/chest.  Delicious food was prepared and served by Dedicated Catering who’s owner is also a parent to one of our members. Members assisted set up by putting out tablecloths and tabletop handmade decorations. Trophies were awarded to our members and board of directors as our way of saying thanks!  Staff received special engraved pens that are also have a flashlight at one end.  Of course, a round of applause went out to our director and founder, David Brieno.  Without him there would be no Independence Plus!

Thank you Stundt Foundation!

Earlier this year we received a grant from the Sundt Foundation for $2,000 to help towards developing sensory room areas .  6 interactive wall panels have been purchased and installed.  3 of them went into Ocotillo and the other 3 went into Sahuaro.  These panels help members to react with their environment through touch, sound, and stimulation such as vibration..  We look forward to adding other sensory room devices as we obtain more funding from other grants.  Thank you again Sundt Foundation for supporting Independence Plus!!

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