Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tough Start to 2011

2011 is likely to be a very challenging year for Balance and for similar organizations. At the start of the year we received notice that we would be getting a significant reduction in our contracted service rates beginning in February. These reductions amounted to more than 7% of our annual gross income. With these reductions we are required to provide the same level of service to everyone we support. Needless to say, this is a significant challenge. We need to trim more $170,000 from our budget in order to make ends meet.

We are trying to reduce our costs in every way we can while having a minimal impact on those individuals we support and those we employ. More than 80% of our costs as an organization are wages and benefits to all staff members. At this writing we have 77 employees. This is a pretty tall order!

Our other hope is to increase our donations to offset some of these reductions. For 2010 we about broke even thanks to about $50,000 in donations. We will need to increase that a lot in the coming year.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


We are getting settled in this new office space. A bit chaotic, but we'll get there. It's a wonderful place to be in.

The greater excitement surrounds the development of the Connections Center. This is a space that is a part of the new office location. We are setting this up as a place where people with disabilities who live in the community can come and spend a part of their day. Everyone who uses the Connections Center will need to be able to self-supervise and follow a code of conduct. It will be a place to gather with friends, to find new activities, to look for new opportunities and to participate in programs occasionally. This center will hopefully open sometime next month. We are seeking grant money and other sources of support to help cover the costs of the program.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Moving to a new office location is definitely needed, but it has its downsides. One that I am becoming more and more concerned with as we get closer to the move is again being completely separated from our day program. Although the noise and commotion from the program activities can often make it difficult to concentrate or have meetings, but not getting the greetings from the participants, not hearing the laughter or feeling the energy of the activity or hearing the encouragement of the staff will be missed.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

New Space

So just over a year ago - December 2008 - we moved our administrative offices from the Family Enrichment Center in Grafton to a new, larger location in Saukville. This new location would increase the space available for our administrative offices and add space for our growing adult day services program. Well, only about six months later our day services program took over the majority of the new space. In fact, now our administrative offices occupy less space than we had at the FEC. At the end of this month (February 2010), we will be relocating our administrative offices to a new space that is just a couple of blocks away. This will be in addition to the space we currently occupy. I'll have to get some pictures added to show where we are at.

A little side note: With this move Balance will be "celebrating" the 10th, yes, 10th location of our administrative offices over the last 18 years! Enough already!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

We are working on the special summer recreation program for 2009. It's been a struggle getting the number of volunteers we need this year. We could really use several more. This is a great opportunity for high school and college age students. The program runs for the month of July - July 6 through July 31 - mostly in the afternoons. Please contact the office if you are able to volunteer.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

On one of the worst weather days of the year (we got a few inches of snow and some freezing rain), we moved our office and part of our Pace program to a new location. We have been looking forward to this for several months. We have about 1,000 sq ft more than at our previous location. Our new office is located in Saukville at 620 E. Green Bay Ave. #122. It's a beautiful lnew facility with several advantages. We'll have an open house soon.

Monday, June 18, 2007

New Direction

I thought I would add to this blog but change the focus a bit. Some people who know our family are aware that Kevin - mentioned below - has been having some health difficulties. We have been searching for answers for several months. We have had little success figuring out what has been causing his lack of energy, change in personality, loss of balance and several other conditions.

Well, after a recent seizure, Kevin had a CT scan of his brain. It was then that a pituitary adenoma was found. This has led to several more tests and a couple of MRI's. Kevin and I recently travelled to the Brain & Spine Institute in Eau Claire, WI. According to the endoconologist, this was the best place to have this addressed.

Just for a little background, these tumors that are located on the pituitary gland are not uncommon. Apparently, many people have them and never know it. They are often discovered by accident - indeed, that is how Kevin's was found. This tumor presses on the pituitary gland and often causes changes in the production of essetnial hormones in our bodies. If the tumor is large enough it can also press on the nerves that run to the eyes and cause vision problems.

Well, this would explain a number of things that Kevin is struggling with. When we visited with the neurosurgeon who will be removing the tumor, he thought this would help Kevin in a number of ways. It is necessary to remove the tumor if only to prevent further vision loss.

However, the neurosurgeon also felt that there is more going on. He wanted Kevin to have an MRI of his cervical spine. He is concerned that there is more going on there. That has been completed and sent to the institute for review.

Kevin's surgery to remove the tumor is scheduled for July 3rd. It should only take a couple of days for him to recover and return home. We'll also meet there again to review the findings of the spine MRI.

Hopefully, this will bring some answers and help improve Kevin's health and life!

Monday, February 5, 2007

Home Again

We made it back. We got home Saurday evening. We left early figuring we might run into weather difficulties as we travelled. However, it was a beautiful ride. It took us a couple of days but the roads were great. We left just after snow and ice had made things tough in the Southeast and a day before the tornados rearranged central Florida. From the time we left to the time we arrived, we saw a temperature difference of about 80 degrees.

Kevin and Aaron did well on the trip. They seemed to enjoy themselves and remained very healthy. No stunning tans or sun-bleached hair, but we're not complaining!

Thursday, February 1, 2007

February 1, 2007

Now this was a Florida day! It actually reached 80 with a good amount of sun. We took advantage of the weather and headed to Cocoa Beach. It was about an hour away. This one was new for all of us. Unfortunately, the beach wasn’t accessible. There was a boardwalk that allowed us to look over the beach and out into the Atlantic Ocean. It was windy but it didn’t appear to be surfing waves.

Kevin and I did walk down to the water. It seems that he could spend the whole vacation sitting on the beach sifting sand through his hands and feet.

We went shopping at the famous Ron Jon surf shop and had a nice dinner at a steak house – Kevin and Aaron thought we had landed in heaven with the ground steak over garlic mashed potatoes.

It has been raining this evening. This is supposed to be the start of several days of rain. The weather heading north is supposed to be challenging as well. The southeast has been struggling with ice, sleet and snow! Could make our trip back north interesting. We’re probably going to take an extra day to get back. It sounds like we are going to be heading into some mighty cold air as we get closer to home. We may start on Friday.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Our Room

Here are a couple shots of our room. Bathroom shots wouldn't be interesting in most cases, but . . . (Yes, that is dirty laundry on the floor. I'll get to it!) One of these is of one of the three bedrooms. Another is of the accessible shower and the others are of the kitchen and living rooms. Its a very nice place!

January 31, 2007

A beautiful day for visiting the parks today – sunny and about 68 for a high. We decided – okay, I decided, the guys didn’t express a clear opinion – to go to MGM Studios for the day. It was a good choice. We watched an Indiana Jones stunt show, a 3-D movie, some old movies and the parade. We ran into the Power Rangers and shared a huge pretzel. Aaron really enjoyed the music and Kevin tried valiantly to get us on the Tower of Terror!

This evening we went to an outlet mall and got depressed about all the things that we are supposed to have, don’t really want and can’t afford – so we didn’t get anything.

Our morning began early when Kevin started laughing at shortly after 5:00 am. No one knows why – except maybe Kevin – but I don’t think so. He continued to laugh without stopping for the next couple of hours. He took a break for about 45 minutes and then started again. I guess he’s been saving up!

And here are some of the long awaited pictures. I’ll try to add some back to the earlier blogs that they go along with.

Tomorrow is supposed to be the warmest day of our visit. It could even reach 80, but it will be cloudy. Rain by tomorrow evening and through the weekend. They have also been talking about ice and snow on the way north. But we have decided not to listen to them. Okay, I decided again.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

January 30 - Tuesday

Today was Animal Kingdom. Another cool day with a high of about 58 and mostly cloudy. That made it an okay day for hiking around the park. The guys certainly seemed to enjoy the day. We started early and got on the safari ride without any wait. Aaron was pretty excited and pretty apprehensive at the same time. He enjoyed the motion but startled when it rocked from side to side. He used a lot of energy. He really enjoyed the African drummers.

Kevin was in a great mood again. He did a lot of walking today and stuck right with us. He loved the food and enjoyed the ride. We got some good pictures. (Unfortunately, I still haven’t figured out how to download them to the computer.)

Even though the parks are wheelchair accessible, the vast majority of the rides are too much for Aaron. He would need to get out of the chair and sit without assistance in the seat. We end up limiting ourselves to those which allow him to remain in his chair. He certainly seems to enjoy what we have found.

I was worried we ended a bit too early today. We left the park mid-afternoon. However, once we got into the van both of the guys fell asleep for the short ride back to hotel.

The weather is supposed to begin to warm up tomorrow. We will head to either MGM or Magic Kingdom. Hhhmmmmm????

I’ve started to notice that I’m missing reciprocal conversation. Don’t get me wrong. I really enjoy spending time with these guys. However, they are not the best conversationalists. I find myself listening to other conversations that are going on around us. This kind of experience gives you a sense of being left out of what is happening around you. You begin to understand what it means to be present without being included.