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Wednesday, May 23, 2018   1:33 PM   |   89.0 °F

HDC Employee Spotlight: Amy Dakin

Amy Dakin

Hello! My name is Amy Dakin. My husband and I have been married for 9 years, and have three awesome children. Our daughters are Lauren and Katelyn and our son is Milo.  In addition to our human family members, we have 2 dogs, 1 cat, and 2 hermit crabs. We currently live in Ruston, Louisiana. I was educated in the Lincoln Parish School System, and later graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Louisiana Tech University in Accounting.  After a few years of business/office work, I realized that I wanted to teach and get a degree in education.  So, I went back and graduated with a master’s degree in education from Louisiana Tech University in the alt-cert program. I am certified in Mild/Moderate Special Education, Middle School ELA/Reading and Middle School Math. I’m currently employed as a LASARD facilitator here at LSUHSC HDC K-12 Initiative. My goal and passion are to be a bridge between students, teacher, parents, and administration to help improve the lives of individuals with disabilities, and the understanding of the people who get to work with them.  I am most proud of the last year that I was in the school system (2016-17).  I was an administrator and that job included test security, School Building Level Committee work, and my favorite part – mentoring special education teachers.  The most rewarding part of being a LASARD facilitator is working with new districts and learning about them.  I enjoy getting to know new people and helping develop new ideas that increase the success of students.   I also enjoy working with the LASARD facilitators – my team! The background and expertise of the team is diverse and I have grown so much this first year because of them!

HDC Featured News

Congratulations to Will Johnson!

Please join HDC CAC coordinator Lauren Griffiths in congratulating fellow CAC member Will Johnson on becoming a Storyteller who will advocate for the right to work for people with disabilities! Will was selected as one of three winners of the Rooted in Rights’ Storytellers 2018 competition. You can also see the announcement on Rooted in Rights Facebook page. Thanks to all of you voted during the voting period.

Rose Angelocci Named 2018 Rehabilitation Counselor of the Year

Rose Angelocci

Rose Angelocci was the recipient of the 2018 Rehabilitation Counselor of the Year Award given by the American Rehabilitation Counseling Association (ARCA), a division of the American Counseling Association (ACA). This award is given to a rehabilitation counselor who has gone above and beyond serving clients. Rose was presented with the award on Saturday, April 28, 2018 at the ARCA reception at the ACA annual conference, which was held in Atlanta, Georgia this year.

AUCD Emerging Leaders Map

The AUCD Emerging Leaders Map highlights diverse trainees and early career leaders across AUCD’s network. Each person was selected for inclusion on the map based on their contributions to the network, how they have demonstrated leadership, and their values and commitment to diversity, inclusion, and respect for others.

The Map provides an opportunity for you to explore and learn more about each trainee and early career leader. When clicking on a pin from a Program/Center, you’ll learn more about each trainee about their passions, how they have leveraged their traineeship, how they are emerging as leaders, and advice for individuals who are interested in joining a traineeship.

HDC LEND Trainee Gregoria Rosa-DiStefano is on the 2018 AUCD Emerging Leaders Map.

To read more and view the map, click here.

To link and scroll directly to Gregoria’s bio, click here.


Nutrition Is For Everyone April 2018

Nutrition is for Everyone Louisiana (NIFE LA) project wrapped up its 8-week pilot program with Special Olympics Louisiana (SOLA) this month called the Unified Fitness Club. Each week, athletes and their families participated in a 30-mintue physical activity session and a 30-minute interactive nutrition lesson developed by the NIFE LA team. Nutrition lessons are currently being compiled into a user-friendly instructor’s manual that will be disseminated to SOLA organizations across the state. Read more…


HDC News

Time Limited Funding Opportunity for Jefferson Parish Residents

Jefferson Parish Human Services Authority (JPHSA) has Individual and Family Support (IFS) funds available for individuals and families with developmental disabilities residing in Jefferson Parish. Funds must be spent by 6/30/18.

Families and individuals with developmental disabilities can apply for IFS funds to help with one time unmet needs not covered by other sources (e.g., insurance, Medicaid). Funds can be used for a variety of needs such as diapers, specialized clothing, specialized bed, therapy (if not covered by insurance), insurance copays, summer camp, gym membership for an adult with DD, dance lessons, specialized bike, communication devices, weighted blankets, noise-canceling headphones, etc.

Call Kelly Smith or Trenetta Randall at JPHSA, 504-838-5424, to apply.


Small Victories and Hard Work Lead to PAY Check Student SUCCESS!

Jordan began his first semester with the PAY Check program in January 2018. Prior to enrolling in our pilot, Jordan was receiving instruction in a self-contained classroom with four to ten other students. When he arrived at Delgado Community College in January, he was intimidated by the Delgado workload. This was the first time Jordan had done work outside of class.

Jordan has put in the effort to step outside his comfort zone and his hard work is paying off.  Currently, Jordan is thriving in a fully-inclusive program and taking college level classes. On his most recent midterm he received a 94% and his GPA is now 3.14!  Jordan is proud of his progress and the Pay Check Specialists are all very proud to see Jordan’s growth in just a few short months.


Governor John Bel Edwards Signed State as Model Employer Executive Order

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards has signed an Executive Order this Monday creating  the State as a Model Employer Taskforce, which will develop policies and strategies to improve within state government the rate of hiring, recruitment and retention of Louisianans with disabilities.

The State as a Model Employer Task Force will have the following duties:

  • Develop policies, strategies and services designed to achieve the seven percent employment target.
  • Establish a five-year plan with annual goals that will enable the state workforce to reach parity with the percentage of working age people with disabilities in Louisiana.
  • Provide guidance and other support to agencies and institutions of higher education of higher education on recruitment, retention, accommodation and accessibility for persons with disabilities.

Click here to read the governor’s executive order.

Over the past year the Governor’s Office of Disability Affairs have held workgroups, roundtables, and other events in collaboration with diverse and varied stakeholders about Employment First, which is an initiative of stakeholders designed to address barriers to employment and improve employment outcomes for people with disabilities. Due to those efforts, in collaboration with diverse and varied stakeholders, Louisiana has been selected to receive Training and Technical Assistance (T/TA) as a Vision Quest (VQ) State for the 2018 fiscal year under the United States Department of Labor’s, Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) Employment First State Leadership Mentoring Program (EFSLMP). This technical assistance will further the efforts to increase competitive, integrated employment outcomes for all individuals with disabilities.

Also, in the Governor’s Office, they know employing people with disabilities is great for businesses, communities, and Louisiana. If you are a person with a disability, they want to hear your story about where you work and what you do. There are so many positive employment stories which need to be shared, and we would like to publicly highlight our hard working citizens and their employers. Please go to the following link and complete the form with your information and story: http://gov.louisiana.gov/index.cfm/form/home/35

Click Here for More Information

Louisiana State Parks Now Hiring Persons with Disabilities


The Louisiana Office of State Parks is currently hiring throughout Louisiana.


  • 82 seasonal openings available
  • Custodian, Groundskeeper and Front Desk
  • Personnel positions
  • Schedule: 24 hours/week throughout the summer
  • Salary: $8.50/hour

Applications are available at each state park location.

HOW TO APPLY:  For a full listing of state park locations, please visit


For more information about Louisiana Rehabilitation Services,

visit http://Louisiana Workforce Commission

Click Here for More Information

March is Developmental Disability Awareness Month

The goal for Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month 2018 is to create awareness about developmental disabilities, teach the importance of inclusion within every aspect of life, and to share the stories of individuals with a disability to show that a successful life is possible.

How to Participate:

  • Share stories, photos, and videos that expand the conversation of inclusion and disability on your social media channels using #DDawareness18
  • Search social media for #DDawareness18 and like, comment on, share, and retweet the posts from others
  • Use this schedule to help guide the topic of your posts:
    • March 1-9 (Week 1): See Me as your Classmate (share Education stories)
    • March 10-16 (Week 2): See Me as your Coworker (share Employment stories)
    • March 17-23 (Week 3): See Me as your Neighbor (share Community Living stories)
    • March 24-30 (Week 4): See Me as your Friend (share any kind of story)
  • See this resource guide for additional information and some suggestions of posts that you can share from campaign participants.
  • Additional information, including graphics; social media links for AUCD, NACDD, and NDRN; informational webinar archives; and DD Awareness Proclamations from several states are posted online at NACDD.org/DDAM.