A significant piece of an individual’s independence is the ability to work. During the month of October we pay tribute to the accomplishments of men and women with disabilities whose work helps keep our economy strong. We uphold our ongoing commitment to ensure equal opportunity for all citizens.
In recognition of this important event, the NH Employment Leadership Committee (ELC) has put together their October 2020 NH Family Employment Newsletter. This newsletter highlights some of the employment success stories happening across the Granite State. Click here to access this newsletter (pdf).

The latest NH Disability Employment Data report shows that, although progress continues to be made, there is still a long way to go to shrink the disability employment gap. As of late 2019, Region 5 (MDS) reports a 36.3% employment rate for those with disabilities, compared to the NH rate of 33.7%. Nationally, the disability employment rate is under 30%, so NH and the Monadnock Region are doing better than the U.S. as a whole. Click here to read the Dec 2019 Disability Employment Data report.

MDS will offer a weekly Healthy Relationships: Sexuality, Expectations and Safety for Self-Advocates Zoom workshop starting on Monday, October 19 and continuing through April 26, 2021. The series offers information to help individuals make informed decisions and better advocate for themselves. A pre-workshop Q&A session will be held on Monday, October 5 at 5:30 p.m. Registration is required.

The Monday evening series will be led by Mari Hyer Schacht, MDS Quality & Training Coordinator, and Katherine McLaughlin, M.Ed. The class will be presented using the “Sexuality Education for People with Developmental Disabilities” curriculum developed by Katherine McLaughlin, Founder of Elevatus Training.

Katherine McLaughlin is known nationally as an expert on sexuality education for people with Developmental Disabilities. She not only trains this course but also encourages and trains individuals with Development Disabilities to become peer sexuality educators. She has developed two other online courses – “Developmental Disability and Sexuality 101” for professionals, and “Talking to Your Kids: Developmental Disabilities and Sexuality” for parents.

Topics covered will guide individuals as they explore:

How do I make friends?
What kind of relationships do I have with people?
What do I need to know about my body?
How do I stay safe online?
How do I protect myself?
How do I show respect for others?

When: October 19, 2020 through April 26, 2021
Meets Monday evenings from 5:30pm to 7:00pm

Where: Online via ZOOM

Cost: Free to Region 5 consumers. No course fee involved.
Open seats to be made available to individuals from outside Region 5, $100 fee.

Registration Required: Contact Mari Schacht, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 603-352-1304. If responding by phone, please leave email address so we can send confirmation and Zoom information to you.

Click here for workshop flyer.

Hear from candidates and community members in these recorded sessions with area candidates:

Legislative Candidates/MDS Community Forum (Oct 19)  Click here.

Gubernatorial Town Hall Debate (Oct 13). Click here and use passcode 0T2^dQ%n   Click here.

Disability Unscripted 2020: Samuel Habib Interviews NH General Election Candidates  Click here.



MDS brings together candidates for the NH Legislature and members of our our community to discuss disability issues important to families, individuals and staff. The session will be held via Zoom.

Monday, October 19 from 12 to 1 p.m.

Hot topics up for discussion include COVID-19, Workforce Issues, and the DD Wait List. Read about these issues by clicking on the topics.

Registration is required.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to get Zoom details.
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Phone: 603-313-8693
If responding by phone, please leave us your email address so we can send confirmation and Zoom information to you. You must have internet access to participate.


ZOOM details:
Topic: Legislative Coffee
Time: Oct 19, 2020 12:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Meeting ID: 999 1184 6466
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Thank You DSPs!Every September during DSP Appreciation Week we take time to honor our Direct Support Professionals (DSPs). We also choose a DSP and Home Provider of the Year.

During this challenging time, it just doesn’t seem quite right, or possible, to single out someone from the hundreds of DSPs and Home Providers who have all worked so hard.

Every one of these essential heroes has gone above and beyond, safely doing their jobs with compassion and diligence amidst crisis and confusion. How to choose from among them?

Traditionally, our regional DSP and Home Provider of the Year Awards are based on nominations from families, individuals, providers, and staff. We did receive 15 nominations this year. This annual process is also how we submit our regional winners for statewide consideration by the NH Council on Developmental Disabilities.

To satisfy this longstanding tradition and to honor those who took the time to nominate, we felt it was important to select someone from the nominees to send to the Council for statewide honors.

However we would like to announce that, in fact, our Monadnock Region DSP and Home Provider of the Year is EVERYONE.

For submission to the NH Council on Developmental Disabilities, we have chosen these two outstanding caregivers from the Monadnock Region.

DSP Jennifer Sawyer of Jaffrey has been a DSP for more than a decade. She has shown again and again what it is to be an exemplary employee and caregiver. She is always on time and strives to go the extra mile for each individual she comes in contact with.

“Jennifer’s main attribute is her integrity,” says Dirk Doughty, Program Manager at Chesco, Inc. “Her ability to follow policy and balance the individual’s values is what makes her stand out.”

Throughout the COVID-19 situation, Jennifer created an online learning activity to work remotely with an individual to help keep them on task and continue furthering their education, planning a lesson each day before her shift began. She has also created a Craft Group that she plans and runs weekly. Jennifer’s talents and values impact and inspire not just the individuals she serves, but her fellow employees and the community as well.

Home Provider Diane Gregory of Antrim shows extraordinary commitment and dedication to the individual who has lived with her for more than six years and has become a part of the family. From volunteering, doing mowing jobs, weekly shopping trips, and going to church to community suppers, bowling, family celebrations and much more, this individual has a rich life, day in and day out, thanks to Diane’s efforts.

During the coronavirus pandemic, Diane continued this good work, organizing ZOOM church sessions, going fishing and providing other opportunities for the individual to get outside regularly and stay connected.

“Diane would be the last one to feel she is doing anything extraordinary,” says Chris McDermitt, Chesco Program Manager. “In fact, she would say it was part of what a home provider should be doing.”

MDS also received nominations for more than a dozen DSPs and Home Providers.

For DSP: Brandi Bills, Karen Collins, Meghan Jacob, Barry Paton, Natasha Vogel, Holly Wilson.

For Home Provider: Mary Boulay, Kim Carrier, David Garrapy, Scott and Judy Lazzaro, Doreen Madore, Nancy Thompson, Lisa Uskov.

Congratulations and our deepest thanks to ALL of the direct care staff at MDS and our provider agencies who have done amazing work in making sure that the individuals we serve are safe and still connected to the community.

DSP & Home Provider of the Year - EVERYONE!


Questions about COVID-19?  CALL 2-1-1 
Phone: 1-866-444-4211   TTY: 603-634-3388

State of NH COVID-19

Centers for Disease Control COVID-19

Face Masks per NH Public Health/DHHS

City of Keene CV Response Site

Cheshire Medical Center CV Site

Monadnock Hospital CV Site

Dartmouth-Hitchcock CV Site

How to Use Zoom Safely

Relias: CV Free Resources & Training for Healthcare Professionals, Families and Individuals

Other Resources

Family Support Resources

Disability Benefits Resources

Employment Resources

Transportation Resources

Housing Resources

NH Family Voices Maneuvering Through the Maze Resource Guide (updated January 2019)
Statewide guide to resources for people with physical, developmental, mental health and chronic health conditions and their families.

Keene Rotary Family Resource Guide (Cheshire County)

The River Center’s FACT Book Online
Local community resource guide for those living in the eastern Monadnock Region.