Susie’s Story of Kids Who Can!

Susie Mettler (Source: Facebook)

Susie Mettler (Source: Facebook)Susie’s Story – Reflection

This is a story to share with your class. My daughter wrote it after she came back to school as a quadriplegic.  She worked at the elementary with handicapped students before and after her accident.  I think they would enjoy it.  – Tina
Susie’s Story – Reflection

The first opportunity I had to go back to volunteering was one of the best days of high school. I was greeted by all of the students in Miss Martin’s class. It was a long overdue visit. It had been 16 weeks, and they were all excited to see me and my new changes. I thought it would be awkward and that they wouldn’t want to talk with me, but it was the opposite. All of the students came up to say hi. One student came up and asked me if I was okay, and another asked me why I was driving this thing. I was laughing at all of their questions because these kids don’t have a filter, and they are not afraid to talk about anything. The best moment came when one specific student rushed up to me and kept repeating the word “tree.” At first I didn’t know what he was talking about. When I realized that he was referring to the tree that I hit back in December, I started laughing hysterically. One of his aides explained to me that they had to tell him I hit a tree because he kept saying “Susie hit a brick wall.”

One of my biggest fears when I returned to school was that my classmates and my students wouldn’t treat me the same as before, that they would view me differently than them. I felt as if I had to tell my classmates how I expected to be treated, which I did during my speeches in the Goodwin Theater. But I didn’t have to do that with my students. My students accepted my wheelchair and my changes, but they also asked a lot of questions to learn about my differences. This showed me how community service changes lives, because the students I served for the past two years were now serving me. They show everyone how simple and easy it is to accept everyone and their differences.

That same student’s acceptance doesn’t stop at questions. One day when I was volunteering, he was reading a book to me. He had read this book a million times, and had it memorized. I was told by Miss Martin to have a conversation after reading the book to give him the chance to tell me what the book was about and to share his favorite parts. When I asked him who his favorite character was he looked really hard at the book, but couldn’t decide. My student then asked me who my favorite character was and picked one that looked good to me. At this point I tried to point to my favorite character, He told me to point out my favorite character, and I tried but I obviously cannot, so he then grabbed my hand, and guided it towards the character I picked. He didn’t ask questions, he did not make this a big deal. He helped me – rather, he served me. I was stunned by this, because I was always the one to help me, but now he’s had the chance to help me. This story shows how service should be, and how much everyone involved can take out of the experience.

How can community service change lives? I have served the kids in Miss Martin’s class for two years. They taught me how to build connections with people who appear to be different, but really aren’t. They have showed me not to focus on the negative things, and to simply have fun. These lessons are exactly how I want to live my life.

#S4S

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BOB EVANS FARMS® RESTAURANTS OPENING WITH SNEAK PEEK RESTAURANT PREVIEWS, BENEFITING NICK WALCZAK

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Contact:

Diane Hurd
C: (937) 205-9621                                                                                                 diane@inspireprgroup.com

MEDIA ADVISORY

For Immediate Release: January 19, 2015

 

BOB EVANS FARMS® RESTAURANTS OPENING WITH SNEAK PEEK RESTAURANT PREVIEWS, BENEFITING NICK WALCZAK

Preview Days to Benefit W.A.G.S. 4 Kids to Support
Chardon High School Shooting Survivor

 

WHAT: Bob Evans Farms Restaurants will open a new location in Chardon, Ohio, on January 26. The restaurant is hosting two “Sneak Peek” restaurant previews, prior to Opening, in which 100 percent of guests’ checks will be donated to W.A.G.S. 4 Kids to support Chardon High School shooting survivor Nick Walczak.
WHEN: Wednesday, January 21

9 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Register Now: http://conta.cc/15egTh3
Friday, January 23

9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Register Now: http://conta.cc/1Cxj6iI

WHERE: Bob Evans Restaurant

295 Meadowlands Dr.

Chardon, OH 44024

(across from Walmart & Home Depot)

INFORMATION: Bob Evans will celebrate the grand opening of its Chardon, Ohio, location at 6 a.m. on January 26. Prior to opening, residents are invited to attend two different “sneak peek” restaurant previews, which will support Chardon resident, Nick Walczak, a survivor of the Chardon High School shooting.  Participating guests will pay 50% of the normal cost of a meal at Chardon Bob Evans and 100% of this amount will then be donated to W.A.G.S. 4 Kids to help the Walczak family towards their goal of raising $8,000 to purchase a service dog so that Nick can achieve greater independence and mobility.  Walczak was shot twice in the neck, once in the back and once in the arm. One of these bullets pierced his spinal cord, leaving him paralyzed.
Bob Evans is committed to partnering with neighborhood charities to help those in need. A tradition started by founder Bob Evans, community fundraising events are important to each restaurant by giving back to their community by serving families delicious, home-style food and donating proceeds to local charities and events. Last year, more than $500,000 was donated to local charities through the company’s Community Fundraiser program.
Guests who have questions or want to come to either Chardon restaurant preview day are encouraged to register by calling 440.286.1105 or emailing Unit_584@BobEvans.com. Guests may also directly register by visiting the above links.

 

# # #

BOB EVANS FARMS® RESTAURANTS OPENING WITH SNEAK PEEK RESTAURANT PREVIEWS, BENEFITING NICK WALCZAK

image

Contact:
Diane Hurd
C: (937) 205-9621​ diane@inspireprgroup.com

MEDIA ADVISORY
For Immediate Release:​​​​​​​January 19, 2015

BOB EVANS FARMS® RESTAURANTS OPENING WITH SNEAK PEEK RESTAURANT PREVIEWS, BENEFITING NICK WALCZAK
Preview Days to Benefit W.A.G.S. 4 Kids to Support
Chardon High School Shooting Survivor

WHAT:
Bob Evans Farms Restaurants will open a new location in Chardon, Ohio, on January 26. The restaurant is hosting two “Sneak Peek” restaurant previews in which 50 percent of guests’ checks will be donated to W.A.G.S. 4 Kids to support Chardon High School shooting survivor Nick Walczak.

WHEN:
Wednesday, January 21
9 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Register Now: http://events.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=z5vuzprab&oeidk=a07eadzngzoed643e2b

Friday, January 23
9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Register Now: http://events.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=z5vuzprab&oeidk=a07each8tllc5e47d9b
WHERE:
Bob Evans Restaurant
295 Meadowlands Dr.
Chardon, OH 44024

INFORMATION:
Bob Evans will celebrate the grand opening of its Chardon, Ohio, location at 6 a.m. on January 26. Residents are invited to attend two different sneak peak restaurant previews, which will directly support the Chardon community with 50 percent of each guests’ check donated to W.A.G.S. 4 Kids to support Nick Walczak, a survivor of the Chardon High School shooting. Walczak was shot twice in the neck, once in the back and once in the arm. One of these bullets pierced his spinal cord, leaving him paralyzed. Walczak’s family is hoping to raise $8,000 to assist in the purchase of a service dog so that Nick can achieve greater independence and mobility.

Bob Evans is committed to partnering with neighborhood charities to help those in need. A tradition started by founder Bob Evans, community fundraising events are important to each restaurant by giving back to their community by serving families delicious, home-style food and donating proceeds to local charities and events. Last year, more than $500,000 was donated to local charities through the company’s Community Fundraiser program.

Guests who have questions or want to come to either Chardon restaurant preview day are encouraged to register by calling 440.286.1105 or emailing Unit_584@BobEvans.com. Guests may also directly register by visiting the above links.

# # #

Obama Signs ABLE Act

President Barack Obama held his year-end press conference Friday. Before leaving for vacation, the president signed the ABLE Act. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)

President Barack Obama held his year-end press conference Friday. Before leaving for vacation, the president signed the ABLE Act. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)

With his signature, the president has paved the way for people with disabilities to open tax-free savings accounts where they can amass more than $2,000 without losing government benefits.

President Barack Obama signed the Achieving a Better Life Experience, or ABLE, Act Friday before leaving Washington for the holidays.

The new law will allow people with disabilities to open special accounts where they can save up to $100,000 without risking eligibility for Social Security and other government programs. What’s more, individuals can keep their Medicaid coverage no matter how much money is accrued in an ABLE account.

Modeled after 529 college savings plans, interest earned on savings will be tax-free. Funds accrued in the accounts can be used to pay for education, health care, transportation, housing and other expenses.

To be eligible, individuals must have a condition that occurred before age 26 and each person may only open one ABLE account. Under current gift-tax limitations, as much as $14,000 could be deposited annually.

People with disabilities may be able to start opening ABLE accounts as soon as 2015. However, some hurdles remain. While the new law alters federal rules to allow for ABLE accounts, each state must now put regulations in place — much as they have done for other types of 529 plans — so that financial institutions can make the new offering available.

“We can’t mandate that a state will create a 529, but given the lobby that we’ve seen, I think by the end of next year, I think we’ll see this in every state,” Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., one of the measure’s chief sponsors, said on a recent call with reporters.

The law’s name was amended in recent weeks to honor Stephen Beck, Jr., a longtime proponent of the bill who died unexpectedly in early December.

Copyright © 2014 Disability Scoop, LLC. All Rights Reserved

ABLE Accounts: 10 Things You Must Know:

1. What is an ABLE account?

ABLE Accounts, which are tax-advantaged savings accounts for individuals with disabilities and their families, will be created as a result of the passage of the ABLE Act of 2014. Income earned by the accounts would not be taxed. Contributions to the account made by any person (the account beneficiary, family and friends) would not be tax deductible.

2. Why the need for ABLE accounts?

Millions of individuals with disabilities and their families depend on a wide variety of public benefits for income, health care and food and housing assistance. Eligibility for these public benefits (SSI, SNAP, Medicaid) require meeting a means or resource test that limits eligibility to individuals to report more than $2,000 in cash savings, retirement funds and other items of significant value. To remain eligible for these public benefits, an individual must remain poor. For the first time in public policy, the ABLE Act recognizes the extra and significant costs of living with a disability. These include costs, related to raising a child with significant disabilities or a working age adult with disabilities, for accessible housing and transportation, personal assistance services, assistive technology and health care not covered by insurance, Medicaid or Medicare.

For the first time, eligible individuals and families will be allowed to establish ABLE savings accounts that will not affect their eligibility for SSI, Medicaid and other public benefits. The legislation explains further that an ABLE account will, with private savings, “secure funding for disability-related expenses on behalf of designated beneficiaries with disabilities that will supplement, but not supplant, benefits provided through private insurance, Medicaid, SSI, the beneficiary’s employment and other sources.”

3. Am I eligible for an ABLE account?

Passage of legislation is a result of a series of compromises. The final version of the ABLE Act limits eligibility to individuals with significant disabilities with an age of onset of disability before turning 26 years of age. If you meet this criteria and are also receiving benefits already under SSI and/or SSDI, you are automatically eligible to establish an ABLE account. If you are not a recipient of SSI and/or SSDI, but still meet the age of onset disability requirement, you would still be eligible to open an ABLE account if you meet SSI criteria regarding significant functional limitations. The regulations to be written in 2015 by the Treasury Department will have to explain further the standard of proof and required medical documentation. You need not be under the age of 26 to be eligible for an ABLE account. You could be over the age of 26, but must have the documentation of disability that indicates age of onset before the age of 26.

4. Are there limits to how much money can be put in an ABLE account?

The total annual contributions by all participating individuals, including family and friends, is $14,000. The amount will be adjusted annually for inflation. Under current tax law, $14,000 is the maximum amount that individuals can make as a gift to someone else and not pay taxes (gift tax exclusion). The total limit over time that could be made to an ABLE account will be subject to the individual state and their limit for education-related 529 savings accounts. Many states have set this limit at more than $300,000 per plan. However, for individuals with disabilities who are recipients of SSI and Medicaid, the ABLE Act sets some further limitations. The first $100,000 in ABLE accounts would be exempted from the SSI $2,000 individual resource limit. If and when an ABLE account exceeds $100,000, the beneficiary would be suspended from eligibility for SSI benefits and no longer receive that monthly income. However, the beneficiary would continue to be eligible for Medicaid. States would be able to recoup some expenses through Medicaid upon the death of the beneficiary.

5. Which expenses are allowed by ABLE accounts?

A “qualified disability expense” means any expense related to the designated beneficiary as a result of living a life with disabilities. These include education, housing, transportation, employment training and support, assistive technology, personal support services, health care expenses, financial management and administrative services and other expenses which will be further described in regulations to be developed in 2015 by the Treasury Department.

6. Where do I go to open an ABLE account?

Each state is responsible for establishing and operating an ABLE program. If a state should choose not to establish its own program, the state may choose to contract with another state to still offer its eligible individuals with significant disabilities the opportunity to open an ABLE account.

After President Obama signs the ABLE Act, the Secretary of the Department of Treasury will begin to develop regulations that will guide the states in terms of a) the information required to be presented to open an ABLE account; b) the documentation needed to meet the requirements of ABLE account eligibility for a person with a disability; and c) the definition details of “qualified disability expenses” and the documentation that will be needed for tax reporting.

No accounts can be established until the regulations are finalized following a public comment period on proposed rules for program implementation. States will begin to accept applications to establish ABLE accounts before the end of 2015.

7. Can I have more than one ABLE account?

No. The ABLE Act limits the opportunity to one ABLE account per eligible individual. 

8. Will states offer options to invest the savings contributed to an ABLE account?

Like state 529 college savings plans, states are likely to offer qualified individuals and families multiple options to establish ABLE accounts with varied investment strategies. Each individual and family will need to project possible future needs and costs over time, and to assess their risk tolerance for possible future investment strategies to grow their savings. Account contributors or designated beneficiaries are limited, by the ABLE Act, to change the way their money is invested in the account up to two times per year.

9. How many eligible individuals and families might benefit from establishing an ABLE account?

There are 58 million individuals with disabilities in the United States. To meet the definition of significant disability required by the legislation to be eligible to establish an ABLE account, the conservative number would be approximately 10 percent of the larger group, or 5.8 million individuals and families. Further analysis is needed to understand more fully the size of this market and more about their needs for new savings and investment products.

10.How is an ABLE account different than a special needs or pooled trust?

An ABLE Account will provide more choice and control for the beneficiary and family. Cost of establishing an account will be considerably less than either a Special Needs Trust (SNT) or Pooled Income Trust. With an ABLE account, account owners will have the ability to control their funds and, if circumstances change, still have other options available to them. Determining which option is the most appropriate will depend upon individual circumstances. For many families, the ABLE account will be a significant and viable option in addition to, rather than instead of, a Trust program.