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Thank you for your continued support for the Assistive Technology Independent Living and REquipment Programs. That funding helped provide life-changing technology to Massachusetts citizens with disabilities.
This year, we are advocating for funding these important programs:
** Easterseals seeks to protect the FY19 earmark language for Assistive Technology in line item 4120-4000- provided, that not less than $1,920,000 shall be expended for assistive technology services. This funding supports several Assistive Technology programs including the reuse Durable Medical Equipment (DME) run by REquipment (http://dmerequipment.org/).
** The Massachusetts Youth Leadership Forum (YLF) is operated by Partners for Youth with Disabilities, Inc. The forum is for students with disabilities who are between the ages of 16-25. There is an annual multi-day conference for youth with disabilities during the summer. The workshops and activities foster employment readiness, independence, peer networking, and leadership skills. The funding for this forum has been cut in the past. ($133,000)
** The Youth Leadership Network (YLN) is a year round program, run by Easterseals, is for transition aged youth with disabilities aged 16 to 21 to engage youth in activities that will help them develop the necessary leadership skills to advocate for themselves and the disability community at large. Over 100 youth with disabilities participated in 45 events in FY18. The YLN was created to offer continued engagement to participants of the Massachusetts Youth Leadership Forum, and any other young adult with a disability who wanted an ongoing platform to exercise their leadership and advocacy skills. The network is not fully funded. ($100,000)
I am now asking you to make it one of your priorities to increase the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission's (MRC) Independent Living line item 4120-4000 by $233,000 and keep the FY19 Assistive Technology earmark as one of your top priorities.
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Thank you for considering my request.