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This Month, Bridget talks about The Rehabilitation Act of 1973.



I hope your fall is going
well, picking apples and seeing the leaves changing. It is always one of
my favorite times of the year. I hope you are enjoying the fall season as well.


Can you believe that the
year is going so fast! It seems like it is flying by for me.


I am back in school at
UIC and loving it. I met a few new students in my class.  I get dropped
off at the Behavioral Science building and can get around the building by
myself. I also went to the activities fair on campus and had a blast. I signed
up for some groups and organizations and hope to get more involved in things on


I am also doing fine in
the LEND Program. I Love it!  I have learned about how trauma impacts
people, especially in the disability community. Guest speakers presented who
were self-advocates and they shared their personal stories with us.  I
learned a lot about Autism screening and how that is the first step in getting
a diagnosis. I understand more about what to look for when trying to make a
diagnosis especially when kids are really young.   One of my friends
presented and he works for para-Olympics and is an amazing self- advocate and a
nice person.


I still work as a
standardized patient actor in the nursing simulation lab at UIC. I also work in
the lab helping to set up the rooms and help out the nursing students who are


Today you are on a
special treat because I am going to tell you about an agency called HELING
HAND that is near me.  I went there to visit with a team of people to
learn more about what they do.  This is also part of the work I am doing
for LEND.  Helping Hand a place that provides support and services for
people with disabilities.   I saw two of my friends there who I have
not seen for a while.  One is a friend from high school and another one
from the recreation program and a person I worked with when I was a person-
centered planning coach support person.  I was excited to see them.

First we visited the day program where people do art, learn life skills, enjoy
and participate in music, participate in a wellness program where they learn
healthy living habits and participate in a fitness program. Some of the
participants work at jobs in the community, One person we met actually works
at  the Chicago Lyric opera house and loves music. He was very excited to
tell us about how he gets there on the train and what he does as a job. 


We also visited one of
their community homes where 8 people live. It was beautiful and the girls had a
whole side of the house to themselves and the males had the other side. 
It had a huge kitchen and big table where they share meals. I was really
impressed with the laundry room because I love laundry.!!!


People are doing all
different things in their life and so that makes me think that it is a place
that tries to be person centered and that is one of my favorite things that I
always encourage people to do when making plans and designing lives.


Here is a little
information about Helping Hand. 


Helping Hand is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving
the lives of children and adults with developmental disabilities in Cook County
and greater Chicagoland communities. We offer a wide range of person-centered
programs and services that enhance the educational, therapeutic, residential,
and employment opportunities for those we serve. Our programs and services
include a school, progressive employment programs that promote inclusive
workplaces, pediatric therapies (occupational and speech/language), high school
transition services, Community Living (CILA), and specialized programs with
high team member-to-client ratios for seniors with disabilities.

Have a great month and I will be back soon.

Bridget Brown


Bridget’s Blog August 2023



Can you believe that we are
in mid-August I can’t believe that summer has gone so fast!  I enjoyed this summer of 2023. I hope you all are having
a wonderful time and ready to go back to school or work or just ready for the
fall season.


I started back at UIC in the
CO-OP program.  This is my second year
and I am excited to get started. I also started the LEND program and I am
learning so much about neurodiversity and more important things about
disabilities that will help me be a strong advocate.  


Today I am going to tell you
a dear friend of mine her name is Marge Nykaza. 
She just passed away and I am so sad right now because she made such a
huge difference in the world and in my life.  
She started an amazing organization called  Harmony, Hope and Healing 20 years ago.

She mixed her love of music,
her talent and her faith together and brought music to people in Chicago who
have experienced homelessness.  She saved
many lives with music because people found their voice and that helped them
heal and go on to live full and wonderful lives.  She brought  music and hope into  people’s  hearts, souls, and minds. Marge brought
healing music to homeless and previously homeless people in the Chicago
area. She saved many lives over the years by just giving
marginalized people a chance to find their voice through music


She was a friend and a
wonderful director of this organization. 

I remember what Marge has
giving to people from Chicago and how she

touched so many people and
left a great legacy.  I hope the
organization will continue but I know she will be missed by many but her memory
lives on in the work she started.  


She inspired me to share my
gifts and talents with the world.  I want
to be more like her and help people find their voice so they can share their
gifts with the world.  Many people she
worked with were people with disabilities who struggled in many ways. She was a
friend to all!

Below is some information about Marge.

Marge Nykaza was not just the founder of Harmony, Hope &
Healing; she was the heart and soul that infused our organization with
boundless compassion, unwavering dedication, and an unshakable belief in the
healing power of music. Her journey was a testament to resilience, empathy, and
the extraordinary capacity of one person's vision to transform countless lives.

Marge's belief in the transformative nature of music led her to
create a haven of hope and healing, where individuals facing vulnerability
could find solace and rebuild their lives through musical expression. Her
pioneering spirit introduced music therapy as a cornerstone of our programs,
making Harmony, Hope & Healing a leader in providing accessible and
impactful music therapy services. Through her guidance, our certified music
therapists have empowered individuals to find their voice, process emotions,
and enhance their well-being through the profound connection between music and


But Marge's impact reached far beyond the walls of our
organization. She was a fervent advocate for collaboration, forging
partnerships that extended our reach into schools, community centers,
healthcare facilities, shelters, and other vital community spaces. Through
these collaborations, her vision of healing through music reached those who
needed it most, amplifying her impact and spreading hope throughout Chicago.


Marge's legacy lives on within us. Her values of empathy,
collaboration, and resilience continue to be the guiding principles behind
everything we do. As we mourn the loss of an extraordinary visionary, we also
celebrate the indelible mark she left on Harmony, Hope & Healing. Every
note played, every program conducted, and every life transformed is a testament
to the profound impact of Marge's vision.

She is one of my leaders and
bought so many talented people into this world of music. She mad a difference
in the world.  I will miss her so much
and hope that she is looking down on all of the people who were her friends.   

Bridget Brown


you believe that the summer has gone by so fast and that August is approaching
quickly? I am already planning the dates when I go back to school. 

hope your summer has been busy and you are having fun. 
I hope
you are staying cool with this hottest month of the summer, and swimming to
cool off.

is your favorite part of the summer so far that you enjoyed?


33rd anniversary of the ADA!!

On July
26th, 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law by
President Bush. This act increased accessibility for people with disabilities
all across the country. 

ADA is a radical civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against
individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs,
schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the
general public with disabilities Act (ADA)

am so blessed that I grew up with the ADA so that I could be included in school
and in my community.  Most of us are where we are because of the ADA.


few months ago I was invited by a group called FUN FOR THE DISABLED to be in a
video at the Garfield Park Conservatory in Chicago.   Vanessa 
Harris is the director of Fun  4 the disabled. 
started this project of making videos of individuals with disabilities enjoying
all kinds of fun places in Chicago to see how they accommodate people with
disabilities and make things accessible.  Garfield Park Conservatory is a
beautiful place with tons of interesting plants.  I got a tour with a
guide who showed us  amazing things. The video is just one of many videos
that will feature a person with a disability participating in some of Chicago's
amazing tourist events.   I am not sure when it will all be out on
her website but it is worth checking it out to see all the different things she
has done. 


Mission for FUN 4 THE DISABLED is...

Our mission is to create a
community by, for, and about disabled people, to help each other live our best
lives! Through our videos and articles, we uplift disabled voices and share
life-changing resources. Our videos check all the boxes! We make entertaining
pieces with accessible events and activities, educational pieces about disabled
experiences, and informational pieces about helpful products and organizations.
There’s something for everyone!

 At Fun4theDisabled,
we believe that disabled people have much to contribute to society, and we
celebrate that! We create digital media that provides a platform for disabled
people to share their perspectives, learn about up-and-coming organizations and
movements in the disability community, raise awareness of different
disabilities, and most of all, celebrate disabled people in ways that are truly
F U N ! ! ! ! !


Happy SUMMER !!