Get to the Core of it: Individual Advocacy
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>> Operator: Good afternoon, everyone. And welcome to today's
conference call entitled individual advocacy teleconference. Today's
host will be Mr. Tim Fuchs. During the presentation, all participant
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>> Tim Fuchs: Thanks, Julie. Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to
the fourth episode in our series on the four core services. Today's
presentation and the get to the core of it series is individual
advocacy. I'm Tim Fuchs. I work at the National Council on
Independent Living. I want to give you all a brief information about
our project and some housekeeping stuff before we get going. Today's
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Independent Living and center program SILC-NET for Statewide
Independent Living Councils. It operated with a partnership with ILRU,
independent living research utilization out of Houston, Texas and NCIL
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and there's a link at the end of the PowerPoint that will take you
there. Please, please fill that out. It's very quick. Doesn't take
long to complete at all. But it's really important to us. With that I
want to get started for today. I want to introduce both of our
presenters. Greg Jones and Brad Brooks. Greg and Brad both work at
SKILs in Parsons, Kansas. They have a real passion for the work they
do and helping their consumers find their own voice. I have enjoyed
working with you guys for the past couple of months. And I want to
thank you both for the work you put into today's presentation. I'm
going to turn it over to Greg to get us started.
>> Greg Jones: Great, we're going to start out with the
introduction page and as all of you know people with disabilities and
working for and with people with disabilities we experience a wide
range of barriers that prevent us from just simply living free in the
home and community of our choice.
Our style, our goal, is to not only overcome those barriers
ourselves but how to grab others by the hand and teach them how to
utilize and overcome those barriers. Barriers are everywhere. They
are in the bureaucracy we deal with, social security system, Medicaid,
HUD, federal system, local housing authorities, private landlords,
local businesses, just society's view of people with disabilities in
And what follows -- I don't think that we want to call it a hard
road map but what follows is what works in our area and for our
community and for our customers. And I'm going to move on to what you
would call page 3 on the screen.
And I'm kind of the windjammer here so I'm going to turn some of
this over to Brad. He's pointing a finger at me. You know that --
when we use the word customers at SKIL, that's exactly what we mean.
I've been at SKIL 15 years and I came in the door using the term
Client has some -- it's original thing, has some meaning that
equates out to serve. Well our people don't serve for us. I don't
like the idea consumers when I hear the word consumer I think of
somebody drinking milk in a grocery store, a cow in a pasture.
Customers without those folks coming through the doors and without
thinking of them as customers and dealing with them as customers I
don't think that we give them the respect they deserve, the service
they deserve, and I don't think we give them what they actually need to
live independent and free.
>> Brad Brooks: Customers would be a good choice of what we would
call our customers but I like to call them potential friends, future
friends. If you treat them that way you get more respect. Give
respect, you get respect.
>> Greg Jones: Yes, and friends that eventually become a part of
our network which we touch on as we get on into the presentation. But,
yes, some of -- I think I can probably say that some of my best friends
here and afar have been folks we have given a hand with.
The second step is the next one we have of our program is listen,
listen, listen, listen, listen. I'm going to let Brad tell you about
>> Brad Brooks: Basically if you listen to what the customer has to
say you usually find out what the problem is without having to ask a
lot of questions. The more question you ask it makes them
uncomfortable. If they are uncomfortable they are not going to open
up. They are not going to get to the problem. If you don't know what
the problem is you can't find the solution. If you listen you would be
surprised what you can learn.
>> Greg Jones: Another part I think of the listening piece of it is
that a lot of times when folks come through our doors is that they have
been to every place else. They have been to the local emergency
assistance place. They have been to our local social welfare office.
They have -- they have been to the ministerial alliance. Oftentimes is
that they need that -- they just need somebody that will listen and be
empathetic and as you listen to them, as Brad said, you sort through
what the problem is. One of the things I think is critical, critical,
critical and that I will also sometimes even get a little sharp with my
co-workers on is listen, don't interrupt. Don't have the answer before
they are done telling you the problem. Don't look for the details
until you have the whole picture.
Because if you don't have the whole picture and you're interrupting
because you missed a detail along the way, if you sit there long enough
the conversation will come full circle. So listening is essential and
right into listening comes the empathy is essential and that's one of
Brad's strong points and I give that to him.
>> Brad Brooks: Why would you do something like that? Basically
empathy just put yourself in somebody else's shoes. In my particular
case I kind of lived a lot of the life that a lot of our customers are
going through right now. I didn't have SKIL at my fingertips. I
didn't know anything about Independent Living. I didn't know there was
somebody out there that could guide and direct you and give you what
you needed. So I guess basically living the life helps me to
understand what they are going through and what they are dealing with.
That helps me to get them through it a little bit easier.
>> Greg Jones: Well, I think another part of empathy is that oh,
gosh, I've been there, done that.
I didn't magically fall into my position at SKIL. I've been in
positions where I counted pennies out to buy milk at the grocery store.
I've been at the position where I didn't have money to pay the electric
bill or the heat bill or those kinds of things.
And the other part that I do which is sort of unrelated to my actual
job duties is that I'm representative payee for folks that are out
there living on the few hundred bucks a month and surviving and that
create as real sense of empathy and understanding as what they need to
do and the importance of some -- importance and understanding the
consequences of some of the steps they take.
And so empathy, being able to walk just a couple of steps in another
person's shoes goes a long way.
I'm going to let -- I'm going to hand the build trust and
understanding off to Brad. I think that's another one in his arena.
>> Brad Brooks: Just likes to make me go first.
As far as building trust, I like to be honest with my customers.
When they come in and tell me what their issues are, I don't promise
them a fix for their problem because there may not be a fix. But I
don't -- I don't like to leave them discouraged so I might not promise
them a fix but I promise them I'll do everything that I can to see if I
can find a fix or find somebody that can fix the problem for them or at
least give them the tools and guide them in the right direction. If
you lie to them and tell them that everything will be okay when it
probably won't, you are going to lose the trust right away. Trust is
really important with customers. That's how I build my relationship
and friendship with them. I'm just up front with them right off the
bass and tell them I can't promise I can fix everything.
>> Greg Jones: I think the other part that goes along with that and
goes to the trust and understanding and that type of thing is that we
do a lot of advocacy. When I tell the folks in the field this, if you
have five friends that you can call and say I need to pick you up at
8:00 tomorrow because we're going to the capitol and they will follow
you blindly, that's not a result of the barriers that you helped them
overcome, that's not a result of services that you found or created for
them. That's a direct result of having a personal relationship with
someone that will just simply trust you enough to follow you into the
fire wherever you're going and in turn in certain instances we're
expected to follow our customers into the fire to help them overcome
barriers to get what they want. So it becomes a mutual relationship.
The last we have on this page is researching the problem. I guess
the other part of that, I think, that goes along with that is research
and understanding the problem. I'm going to let Brad have that one, as
>> Brad Brooks: Basically on researching the problem, I like to
check with the other organizations to see if there's anything that they
are working on. I don't like to duplicate anything that somebody is
already doing. That's wasting time. There's other avenues that could
probably be researched rather than duplicating what is already going
on. There can be other options out there that nobody knows about
because everybody is doing the same thing. So that's my research
>> Greg Jones: I'm going to back up just a bit as I sit here. I'm
going to back up to the trust and understanding. Is one of the things
that I think gets overlooked in the disability world from time to time
is us as individuals and perhaps agencies as individuals not
understanding cross disability. The life of the blind man is different
from the life of the man in the chair who is different from the fellow
who experienced schizophrenia. And that understanding the disability
and I guess I don't like the word empathy there, understanding the
disability and understanding the mechanics of the disability is pretty
essential and the example I'll use is we had a fellow that came in our
office for several years by the name of John who was once a resident of
our local state institution who came out to a community service
provider who the community service provider washed their hands of him
and he just virtually was on the streets.
John was schizophrenic. Self-medicated with alcohol, snuffing,
sniffing gas, sort of the whole gauntlet. And people at the office
would get real upset when John was acting strange and when John was
petting the rabbit in the hall. And we had to like have a staff
meeting to sit down and explain to them the rabbit that John is petting
in the hall is real. It's real to John and so not to be humorous,
don't kick John's rabbit, understand the disability. And John's
schizophrenia, I mean a disability is a disability is a disability.
And having a cross section of knowledge and understanding those
disabilities it takes some time and it takes some experience and it
takes some open mindedness and some objectivity. And then I'm moving
on to my next slide. Slide 4. That starts out with prepare, execute,
build, believify and dreamify. We're going to rush through the first
and then we're going to get to the second two. When folks come in with
a problem or they call the office with a problem, it's pretty essential
that you at least have a grasp so you need to prepare. Get some common
knowledge. In our world and in our SKIL organization we have ten
satellite offices and there are ten different sets of contacts that
stem out of each of those offices? There's political connections out
of those offices? There's bureaucratic knowledge out of those offices?
And I would put build actually in front of execute, that's probably one
of my editing errors. But sort of build in your mind what this person
is needing coming through the door. Or more importantly than them
coming through the door is what does this person need when I go into
their door? Because we are not like a doctor's office here at SKIL.
We don't have folks -- sure we set appointments and we have a little
waiting area that is a hallway. But oftentimes that staff are required
to go directly to the person. So build what you're going to put
together and then go do the meeting and then execute the plan.
Executing that plan is I'm going to listen first, I'm going to come up
with an action plan. I'm going to explain to the customer what I know.
I'm never going to lie to the customer. I'm never going to tell the
customers that I have the answer that I don't have. As Brad said, I'm
never going to make a promise that I can't keep. I will tell you that
I will do my very best.
Sometimes the reality is our very best just ain't quite enough. But
if the customers sees you doing that, one more time, it goes back to
trust and understanding. And developing that relationship.
>> Brad Brooks: I get many customers that come back even though I
didn't solve their problem previously, they trust me to solve whatever
problem happens to come up in the future because they know I did
everything I could to solve the first problem.
>> Greg Jones: I think another important part to keep in mind is
we're small town America. If we predominantly do services in the eight
counties in southeast Kansas with the largest city being 32,000 people.
Out of Parson's we're 12,000 people. We're pretty small town and if
you build that trust and understanding with one person, that rumor on
the street gets out there and it's a good rumor on the street and that
feeds into what we get to later when we talk about networking.
Kind of keep moving here is believify was a Brad word that he
insisted I put in here. When I come up with it I agreed so I'm going
to let him change it.
>> Brad Brooks: Actually Greg changed that because that's what Greg
does. The word was believability. Believify is fine. I like
believability is because you have to have the ability to believe in
your customers. If you believe in them, that gives them the confidence
to do whatever needs to be done. And that's less work for you. You
can give them the tools, tell them you believe they can solve the
problem. If they go out and solve the problem that makes them feel
good. If they feel good you feel good. Basically that's my biggest
probably success in dealing with my customers has been being able to
give them the tools and let them go out and solve their own problem
because they come back with a big glow knowing they did it all on their
own. The next time it comes around you don't have to work so hard
because they have the confidence to go out and take care of it on their
own. They want to come to you to find out what needs to be done. You
can offer them suggestions? Sometimes they will take it, sometimes
they won't. If they do sometimes it doesn't always fix it but at least
they have the confidence to try. You believe in them.
A lot of people just need you to believe in them.
>> Greg Jones: Believing in them and knowing they will be okay if
they fail. Failure is a reality of the real word is that we take
things that go well for granted and we think we learn from the things
that go bad. My word on this page is dreamify and I think I created
this several years back, actually, with going into an IEP meeting with
a parent and a couple come to mind is that first girl was 7th, 8th grade
in special ed, having an IEP, I hate the word special but in education
with an IEP I talked to her before we go into the meeting and she wants
to be a hairdresser when she gets big, cosmetologist, that's what they
We get in there the professionals surround the table and it's well
Jessica says she wants to be a cosmetologist but you know we decided
that the real reality is that we're just going to have to prepare her
for group home living. It's like -- watch Greg come unglued.
In one sentence they stole the little girl's dreams. And dreams are
our own. Where we want to be and the dreams where we visualize our
future is our own. No professional, no experience veteran, no -- I've
been disabled for 150 years, I know this, has the right to steal
anyone's dreams. People's dreams are really their own and I hands off
dreams. I'll help you get there but I'm never ever going to tell you I
don't think you can make it because I start doing that I'm pretty
>> Brad Brooks: Sometimes people's dreams are so far out there they
can't grasp the fact that the dreams probably not reality but if you
put them in the right direction to try to find that dream along the way
they might find something that they didn't realize was there and it
might work out better for them and give them a new direction.
>> Greg Jones: Another real life example there is a young man going
to the Kansas school for the deaf, which a long story. There's
arguments to get him in. There's arguments to get him out. Then there
was transition plans. What's he going to do when he graduates? The
guy's dream was to be a professional football player. The only way he
knew how to do that was to go to Gallaudet university? We have the
professional from the school of the deaf saying oh, gosh, you're not
smart enough to go to Gallaudet. They are telling him this when he's
15 or 16 years old. Okay. Why should go study because what I want to
do isn't going to work anyway. You guys already told me so. Don't
like stealing people's dreams. I can get kind of passionate about that
one so -- I can give you many, many examples of people over the last 15
years who have -- who don't need me anymore. Who have managed to go
out and get real life jobs and find real lifetime partners and have
figured out how to manage their own money and figured out how to live
on their own and they don't need me anymore. They don't need the
agency anymore. And it's a result of allowing them to take some of
those dreams and giving them a little nudge.
With that I want to move on to the fifth slide. Page 5. Systems
knowledge. This could be a bushel basket, couldn't it? I'm going to
start out and I'm going to let Brad come in. The precursor to
individual advocacy is awareness. I think we touched on some of it.
Preparation for the visit with the customer, understanding the
disability, awareness of the disability. Just knowing the systems and
it's essential to understand that many times in the systems there's not
a simple path. One of the realities in the disability world is that
survival means sometimes many systems all seem to need to mesh together
at the same time to really work. And that takes a lot of guidance and
handholding sometimes but know all of those systems involve an
understanding the complexity of those bureaucracies and what I think is
probably more important than being able to read a manual and know every
rule about social security or every rule about state and federal
Medicaid is to know someone within each of those bureaucracies that you
learn to know and trust and develop a relationship with. Get to know
folks, understand what makes them tick. I guess an example of that is
I have a lady that's worked for us for two years who I had known for
the previous 11 or 12 and had only met in person twice. But we knew
each other working over the phone. When I needed to carry water for
her, I carried it. When I needed her to carry water for me or help me
solve problems, she did it. And it was working within different
agencies and that's done on a mutual trust and respect, just the same.
Mutual trust and respect that we want with our customers. We need that
with relationships with other agencies, as well. And go country, get
to know folks. I think I already touched on the get to know folks, but
you know we're country here. And I happen to think that going country
works wherever you are at. Some people call it BS'ing. Here we call
it wind jamming. If you go country you have enough time to say hello,
how are things in your world? Hey, how is that kid of yours doing that
you were complaining to me the last time. Get to know folks. When
you're calling the social security office, or you're calling the local
Medicaid agency, know that that person that you're going to talk to on
the other end of the phone is going to know you. But just get to know
folks. Don't be afraid of folks.
>> Brad Brooks: Greg pretty much stole all my examples. Basically
get to know people within bureaucracies. I'll give you a brief
example. I work with APS a lot and.
>> Greg Jones: Acronym, please. Adult protective services.
>> Brad Brooks: Excuse me, adult protective services. Before I
will call an APS hot line I will contact my local APS agent and let him
know what I'm in the process of doing so that when the call gets
screened in, he's already aware of the situation and when he gets the
call, he'll contact me back and let me know he got the call and I'll
let him know whatever you need me to do, I can handle the legwork from
here because he's out of town, makes his job easier. We work together
real good. I don't have a problem getting ahold of him. Sometimes you
have a problem with people in burr answering phone calls because they
don't want to deal with anything at that moment.
So on that level you build those relationships with those people and
you will get more accomplished that way.
>> Greg Jones: I'll clean up your mess if you help me clean up
>> Brad Brooks: There you go.
>> Greg Jones: I think that explains it, we'll just move on to the
next slide. Moving on to number six.
When we get to number six it should be a period, there it is. Kind
of self-explanatory, the ability to imagine oneself in another's place
and under the other's feelings, desires, ideas and actions, or seeing a
situation through someone else's eyes. Brad, you can hit the bullet.
>> Brad Brooks: We pretty much done that. I really don't talk
about myself much. I'm quadriplegic in a wheelchair. I do have some
mobility that comes back but I still require a chair to come around
with. I've lived a life where I didn't know where the money was going
to come from to pay the bills. I've been homeless. I've been
I raised my son on my own just all the hardships in life that
everybody else has to deal with makes it that much harder when you have
a disability. If you can remember where you were at that point when
your customers comes in, it helps you to solve their problems, helps
you to -- I hate the word sympathy but it helps you to sympathize with
them a little bit. I don't feel sorry for anybody no matter what
situation they are in. I feel bad for them. To feel sorry for them
that's more after pity thing for me. I don't like to feel sorry for
So pretty much all these on this page we touched in somewhere along
the line so far.
>> Greg Jones: A couple of crib notes I have on this page and the
folks that work for me have heard it before and is we are our
customers. When co-workers come to me and they have a real complicated
issue and it's like what should we do? What should we do? And it's
well we are our customers. What would we do for ourselves? And
keeping that in mind. It's not an us and them thing. It's not we're
the bureaucracies, you're the poor soul needing help thing. It's an us
thing. We are our customers.
Then I love to gather here, feel the pain, feel the anxiety, feel
the crisis. I don't think that we react to all of this but I think
it's essential that we feel it. What might not be painful or create
anxiety or be crisis for us is for our customers at the time and we
have to feel that and we have to understand the need to address some of
that. We don't necessarily have to react to it but I think that we
have to feel it and we have to figure out ways to bring some calm to
it. We have to be sort of the port in the storm, so to speak. We have
to maybe slow things down to the point where we've convinced folks that
they are going to be okay because we're going to be the port in the
storm for today and then something is going to work out tomorrow but
being that I guess a foundation or some place for them to grab on to
Used to be an old standing joke around the office is somebody has to
be here Friday at a quarter to 5:00 because that's when somebody is
going to come through the door. And many times that still holds true.
>> Brad Brooks: Just to touch base on the feel the pain, anxiety
and the crisis, like Greg was saying, somebody needs to be there at a
quarter to 5:00. Sometimes 5:00 might be quitting time. You might
have somebody homeless sitting outside your door and they are looking
for a fix for tonight to get them through until tomorrow until you can
take care of it. If you can feel their pain, anxiety and crisis,
you're going to care enough to not pay attention to that 5:00 quitting
time and you're going to go ahead and do whatever it takes to get that
problem solved right there. If you don't, sometimes it can cause more
problems for you the next day. If you at least take the extra time and
be compassionate and help that person out as a human being, it's going
to make your job a lot easier the next day.
>> Greg Jones: In our agency is if you left somebody out at the
front door and you went on home, we would probably have a discussion
about that. As I refer to that as the three hot in the cot syndrome.
Just because you have your three hots in a cot that doesn't mean that
you don't help your fellow man address his need to have a hot in a cot.
>> Brad Brooks: Sometimes it's hard to sleep at night knowing
somebody else can't sleep at night.
>> Greg Jones: Or has nowhere to sleep at night.
>> Brad Brooks: That's right.
>> Greg Jones: One little sidebar here one of my favorite things is
our office is two, three blocks away from the railroad tracks.
There's, believe it or not, there's still hobos in America and it
doesn't happen so much anymore but they used to -- people would just
move them down the street until they got to the SKIL office and a lot
of times they just come in and really didn't want anything. They
wanted a place to rest or they wanted someone to buy them a meal or you
know what, I have plenty of food in my back sac but I haven't had a
warm cup of coffee for three or four days. Can you help me out? Let's
go. So just be human. We're going to go to the next one about mutual
>> Brad Brooks: Slide 7. Why do you want to give that to me for?
>> Greg Jones: I'm giving Brad a directive on the webinar. He's
going to do the mutual trust page.
>> Brad Brooks: I have a couple of notes here. Some stuff I wasn't
prepared to talk about. Greg usually handles all that. Basically and
excuse my language but I'm kind of a smart ass with my friends, anyway,
that's just the way I talk. That's the way that I'm comfortable with
them. And I have customers come in and they hear me talking to my
friends in a certain tone or certain language and I speak to them the
same way, I've got their trust already because I'm talking to them like
I would if they were my friend. You don't over professionalize.
Sometimes it's good to professionalize. With our customers not
necessarily because they deal with enough professionals anyway. This
is going to surprise Greg, sometimes it's good to professionalize when
you're speaking to professionals like you may be dealing with social
security, it's not good to come across too smug with them. You might
have to use language that you wouldn't usually use with friends or
customers but it helps you get better results if you do act
professional with those people. Somewhere along the line if you talk
to them enough times you get to know them and the professionalism
pretty much goes out the door because they understand who you are and
what you're about.
Intimidation factors. We don't dress in suits and ties at work.
Comb to school -- excuse me -- I come to SKIL in shorts, nice T-shirt,
pair of tennis shoes. My customers are very comfortable with me
because I dress street. That's what I call it. I don't have a bunch
of documents on my wall or certificates I've been to college to show
I'm smarter than anybody else, not that I have ever been to any of
those, if I did I probably wouldn't use that to me if I go into a
doctor's office I see all those intimidation factors and it makes me
feel like they are above me. I don't like to be above my customers. I
like them to feel like I'm on the same playing field as they are. So
basically like I say, if you joke around with your co-workers and then
you have a customers and you joke around with them. They may come in a
really bad mood and have a really bad day. If you start joking with
them you would be surprised how much they ease up and calm down and
things are already better before you ever have to start dealing with
the problem. I might spend 15, 20 minutes just on a personal
conversation with the customers before I ever even get to the problem.
>> Greg Jones: What I can add to that in my crib notes is don't
over professionalize. We very much have a culture in our offices of
not overdressing. Once again we don't want an us and them system. We
want a we system. The way you arrange your office and furniture is
pretty significant is the only places that I ever wanted to look over a
desk -- I never really wanted to look over those desks. The only place
I look over a desk across at someone is when I'm meeting with my banker
or an attorney and typically neither of those are good experiences.
Just the positioning puts that person behind the desk in a position of
control and power. So we like to put our desk against the wall so when
we turn from our desk, there's no barrier, there's no line between us
and our customers. It's a we room, not a he room when we're in our
Brad touched on this when he talked about his professionalism, don't
talk acronyms or jargon with the customers. Chances are they don't
understand it. If you need to use that jargon with the professionals,
yeah, it's a painful price to pay.
Interacting with the new customers. If they hear you joking when
you're coming down the hall or they see you saying how are you doing
today, Bob or did you find the coffee back there? Or we have a very
open door policy at our office so the customers are typically already
hit the coffeepot when I'm coming in the door. Folks hear that as they
are following you back to the office and they are already spinning this
isn't going to be a bad experience. This isn't going to be the sterile
experience I had at the social security office, at the Medicaid
provider's office. It's going to be okay.
So just starting there from the beginning. Now I'm moving on to
number 8. That one, too, is a very good Brad case so I'm going to give
that one to Brad, as well.
>> Brad Brooks: Well, basically they are all lump summed into one
but the biggest one on this page that really hits me is the
relationships that you build. I have several customers that before I
started working for SKIL and started to understand, I may not have
given them the time of day. SKIL helped me to understand a lot about
that stuff. Relationships are really important. You have to build
relationships with the organizations, for one thing. That's very
Personally friends with several people from social security office,
SRS office, the office in southeast Kansas that deals with housing
issues and transportation issues. I can call any of them up and talk
to them like we're friends. Just to give you a good example, there's a
particular lady that worked as SRS and every time I would call her she
always had such a grumpy tone in her voice and to me that's kind of a
mission to try to break through that. So one day just out of the blue
I had to go to SRS with a customer and I get there and she introduces
herself, so you're grumpy. Well, for some reason that struck a nerve
and she started laughing. So ever time I call her at SRS for any kind
of situations I just ask if this is grumpy, that breaks the ice and she
is very pleasant to deal with. Actually way more pleasant than anybody
would have thought about on the telephone. Relationships are not just
important with customers but also the professionals.
>> Greg Jones: I have a laundry list here and it goes back to
relationships, relationships, relationships. Once again never
violating any of the -- never violating your own integrity and your own
word or commitment. An example to that would be Brad referred to adult
protective services earlier. I fixed problems with adult protective
services with -- I'll cover half of that electric bill out of our
consumer expense fund if you can figure out how to cover the other
half. We support the co-workers when they make the deal. We typically
like them to run it past us. If they make the deal, it's our
responsibility as individuals and as an agency to stick to our word and
maintain our integrity because we're not so much going to need their
money in the future but we'll probably need the relationship with have
with them in the future.
So relationships, relationships, relationships, I like to do
business where I have good relationships which I think everybody does.
Once again, that might relate too much to our country approach but it's
what works for us.
I did this one so I kind of grabbed this one. We're now on page 10,
I'm sorry. Page 9. We're moving to page 9. Go retail, go country, go
Charlie Olson. We refer to people as our customers. We treat them
like our customers. We're country, we're not there in cowboy boots and
western shirts but we are hi, how are you, what can I do for you? And
Charlie Olson is our local retail mogul in Parsons, Kansas. He's 83
years old. He's owned the same hardware store for the last 56 years.
And Charlie's motto is the customer is always right until Charlie says
the customer is wrong. And Charlie doesn't say that very much.
So it's respecting that individual as a customers when they come
through the door. It's going country. It's being real with them.
It's being genuine and sincere and do you know what? Your right
typically until our executive director or perhaps me, tell you that
you're wrong. And those are, I think, rare instances in our agency.
Do we have difficult customers? Yeah, we do.
Real life example of that is that we had an elderly man by the name
of Clay who literally would come into the office and he was a Medicaid
waiver customer and he would come into the office every day dressed in
a suit demanding this and that and everybody was pulling their hair out
and they are frustrated with him and just wanting to wring the guy's
neck and I'm sitting in the boss' office one night after work and she
says, you know what, he's just lonely. And so long story short, is
that I grabbed on to what the boss said and he was in fact just lonely.
And I started spending time with him and I started taking him when I
needed to travel from one city to the next just to -- here we don't
call them cities, from one town to the next. We got to be great
friends. We memorialized him by having a watermelon eating contest at
our ADA celebration and we miss him a lot. It's all about just even
though he was a pain, he was a good customers and understanding that
and dealing with him like that, he became a friend.
So now I'm on my page 10. It's execute. The first two bullets are
get what the customer needs. Get what the customer wants. Neither is
your decision. I do my best to tell every new employee do not impose
your personal morals and judgment on the individual.
>> Brad Brooks: Don't judge.
>> Greg Jones: Don't judge. Nobody put you in a black robe. A
black robe doesn't come with the job. It is essential that the needs
and the wants are addressed by the customer. And the customer is the
one that decides whether something is a need or a want, not us. It's
our job to follow what the customer wants us to do. Do we think that
we're going to succeed 100% of the time? The answer to that is no.
But if the customer is adamant about an IEP meeting, an appeal with the
Medicaid agency, an appeal with social security, if that's where they
want us to do, we're going to go and we're going to present what we --
we're going to present our best support and our best supporting
argument to give that customer a hand. And if the customer gets to
drive it. The customer gets to drive it.
If you know that you're bringing that customer up against the
barrier that they are not going to overcome, you can tell them but if
they still want to go, better go bang your head against the wall with
them because that's going to pay off tenfold down the road and add to
>> Brad Brooks: Sometimes you can offer your customer an option.
If they are adamant to what they want and what they need and you may be
pretty sure because maybe you had an experience in the past where that
situation didn't work, you might work a deal with them, okay, this is
what you want to do. We'll do it your way but if it doesn't work can
we try it this way instead. At least you are giving them a chance,
Greg's famous line is, you have to let the customer fall sometimes.
Sometimes they may have to fall before they realize that way wasn't
working. They may have to try something different. They won't know
that until they do fall.
>> Greg Jones: Right on the mark. The last two bullets on that
page are politically correct and stomp on toes. Politically correct is
exactly what it is. And stomp on toes is -- that's how I got started
at SKIL. I was the pull the dog out of the cage, let him go bite who
he needs to bite and then put him back in the cage. It was -- I have
here in my crib notes just good cop and bad cop. And we play that
within the agency and within the community and with another agency
sometimes. Brad is dealing with someone and some political bureaucracy
and I say throw my name in the middle of the mix and tell them I'm kind
of upset about that and see where it lands.
>> Brad Brooks: That makes me look like I'm the good guy because on
the side trying to get something accomplished and they don't want to
deal with Greg so they usually go with -- it usually works out pretty
good. When you stomp on toes sometimes you have to push the rules to
the limit but you don't want to cross the line. Want to keep it legal.
Want to keep it right. But sometimes you have to push it to that
>> Greg Jones: I'm uncertain about the legal part but is that --
the stomp on toes can go a lot of different directions. I'm going to
talk to your boss. I'm going to take the manual home tonight and I'm
going to know it. I mean keep in mind the IL movement itself is -- any
civil rights movement is driven by anger and it is hell no I'm not
going to take it anymore. When I came 15 years ago I didn't know all
the systems and I didn't know everything that worked and it was like I
was angry enough to see people going without or to go without myself
that I didn't have anything to lose except that person not getting what
they needed. And out of anger I would -- it's sometimes it is about
anger and passion. I would read the manual and I would know that
manual better than the people in the agency or I'd pick out two or
three paragraphs of that manual and figure out a way to
bureaucratically beat them up with it. Did they like me? No, there's
some people that still don't like me.
But the good cop/bad cop thing works.
Now we're at page 11, which is questions.
>> Operator: Thank you. Sir. If you would like to ask a question
at this time you can press zero then one on your telephone key pad.
Again, to ask a question you can press zero then one on your telephone
>> Greg Jones: I'm not hearing any question.
>> Operator: The first question comes from Lori Olonof. Go ahead,
>> Operator: Go ahead, ma'am, your line is open.
>> Can you hear me? I want to compliment you on the excellent
presentation. I would like to say I have been a part of the IL
community for -- since 2001 when I had a car accident and had a
traumatic brain injury. Anyway, before that I was a vocational
evaluator. When you were talking about dreamify I could really relate
to that. But one thing I'm -- I mean I know it's a matter of semantics
but for 23 years I referred to -- I worked as clients and to me, client
means there's a relationship there and you are talking about becoming
friends with people and establishing relationship and I mean to me
there's nothing negative about client. I mean customer, consumer, it's
a matter of semantic but it's how you see people and make as difference
and what you're really saying makes sense. Thank you.
>> Brad Brooks: Thank you.
>> Greg Jones: Other questions?
>> Operator: That's the only audio question we have at this time.
Mr. Fuchs do you have any web questions.
>> Tim Fuchs: Thanks, Julie. Let's see, the only web question I
have at this time is the folks from HCIL, the Hawaii center wanted to
ask about being professional and how far is too far so if you could
just elaborate that a bit.
>> Brad Brooks: Our executive -- our CEO, executive director says
clothing is acceptable as long as it doesn't make your customers
uncomfortable. If you're wearing clothing that's making -- that's the
only dress code we have.
>> Greg Jones: If folks see me come into the office in a sport coat
they know that I'm going to a funeral or to the capitol or to a
political event. Casual is good and I think that you dress the culture
without intimidating your culture or with your customers.
>> Brad Brooks: I think not just clothing but your language. Don't
use too much professional language, acronyms, things like that. Just
like I said, like to talk street. If I was seeing them on the street I
would speak to them in the office just like I see them on street as a
>> Tim Fuchs: That's the only question we've got. Let's check in
>> Operator: No, sir, there's no audio questions.
>> Tim Fuchs: Folks from HCIL have clarified the question. If you
have a consume their is homeless and you give them a meal or two, how
far is too far?
>> Greg Jones: Too far is when it becomes blatantly obvious that
the individual has taken advantage of your good nature. You know, we
have folks that we have put up in hotels and have bought food for
sometimes as long as a week knowing that on the out edge of that week
that we're going to be able to get a roof over their heads.
We also have a guy that is well known in probably 20 states that is
a professional at figuring out how to live on the lam and to mooch a
bed and a meal and we know he's not sincere about his needs so we tell
him no at the beginning.
A lot of that is, I think, you have to trust your compassion as a
human and what your belly tells you. Am I really giving him a hand?
Is he accepting it? Or is he taking advantage of me? And people will
take advantage of you.
>> Tim Fuchs: Okay. Thanks. Look we've had a couple more
questions roll in sort of on the same subject. Whether you get a good
sense or negative sense about someone, how do you set relationship
boundaries with your customers.
>> Greg Jones: And you know what, once again, I'll let Brad feed on
this, too, as management is that we allow each of our individual
employees to determine that. I've taken it too far. I've had people
living with me for the record, that's too far. I have lent people
money, sometimes that's worked out wonderfully I've gotten it back.
Sometimes not so guy haven't got it back.
But it's an indicator to the relationship when I don't get it back.
Then I'll let Brad follow up on that one.
>> Brad Brooks: Basically the same here. I've had people living in
my shop facilities. I've loaned money out knowing that I may not get
it back but I live by -- I've thrown more money than that away in the
past sometimes it's worth having somebody so I me some money and not to
have them come back and ask for anything again, as far as another loan
goes. I'm not a very good judge when it comes to how far is too far.
I'll go farther than I probably should in most cases just because I put
myself in that person's shoes. And Greg will admit sometimes it takes
people many times of trying before they actually succeed and if you
don't let yourself go too far sometimes, you won't know if that person
will ever succeed on the fourth or fifth try. We had one person that
came in our office four times before she finally got it right. She is
on trite path, doing everything for herself, got it going on. We don't
have to worry about her anymore.
>> Greg Jones: That's a classic example is, I don't get things
right in the first try sometimes. The particular gal that Brad is
talking about, they came to me the day she came in, and said do we give
her a hand? And it's like yes because this is the land of 11 and 12
and 13 opportunities. She did get it ride this time. She addressed
her mental illness. Addressed her addictions and she successful with
her education. So the reality of it is that I'd rather risk ten or 12
bucks out of my pocket knowing that somebody got what they needed for a
day and keep in mind that I can't do that every day. But I'd rather
get involved with the situation and risk a little bit emotionally and a
little bit financially to know that when I went home at night that I
had done everything I could do rather than just walking away.
>> Tim Fuchs: The questions that are coming in now relate more to
beyond that. How do you move on from there where you're giving them a
hand to making sure they have what they need to have their own voices
as advocates and to help themselves?
>> Greg Jones: That's like planting a seed and watching it grow.
In a real life example of that is that folks see our culture and they
want to get involved. They want to come and be a part of it. They
have dead time in their day. They are in our office. They are wanting
to volunteer. I tell staff and folks at the state level is that's a
good seed. We got to water her. Got to give her plenty of water and
sunshine because she needs to grow. A classic example is that we have
a customer that volunteers in our Chanute office who came from some
pretty humble beginnings. He manages our customer satisfaction survey
program. At a noon luncheon with senator Sam Brownback who is going to
be our new governor in Kansas almost beyond a doubt and that customer
stood up to ask a question and make a comment. I sat with complete
confidence knowing that he knew what to ask, he knew how to ask it, and
I was proud of my co-worker sitting at the table with him because she
was the one that planted the seed and give him plenty of sunshine and
watched him grow. I'm just sitting back in the chair like a proud
daddy going, wow.
>> Brad Brooks: I'll try to shorten this up a little bit because
we're starting to run out of time. But here's a perfect example.
We're full of examples but this has got to be one of the biggest
accomplishments that I got since I worked at SKIL. One of my first
customers came in. He lived in a garage. He had to use the urinal in
a bucket. He was kept in there. Locked in there. Found his way to
Parsons and got SKIL services. Lots of hands up. No hand-outs.
Several times as a matter of fact we finally got him lined up with
housing. He didn't ask for hand-ups anymore. How he's giving hands up
to other people. He's a strong advocate and a strong voice. He has
spoke on behalf of several people that live in the complex, have gotten
housing situations, mold problems taken care of with the housing
This guy goes to the capitol and speaks on behalf of all people with
disabilities, not just himself. He would have never been in this
position if we wouldn't have given him the hand up in the first place.
He would have never had any confidence in the system or in anybody else
because to him the world was against him until we believed in him and
we gave him the hand up. He never wrote have advocated for anybody,
including himself. That's why we believe advocacy is part of getting a
hand up or a hand out.
>> Greg Jones: It sure is.
>> Tim Fuchs: Thanks, guys. It's 4:05. We have 20 minutes for the
presentation left so let's get to the rest of the slide.
>> Greg Jones: I'm going to move on to number 13 and go kind of
quick so we have a chance for a couple of questions. I see them
popping up on the screen. I'm sorry we're at page -- mine says 13 your
screen it should say 12.
>> Tim Fuchs: 12 is right.
>> Greg Jones: Behind the scenes at SKIL. There's an unwritten
expectation in our office to be accountable and to own your mistakes.
Whether the customer asked you to do something, Brad asked me to do
something, you failed in what you were supposed to do, you take
responsibility for your mistakes. One of the things that you don't see
and you don't hear a lot of in human services, don't hear, do you know
what, that's all my fault. I've never heard that in IEP meeting. I
never heard that with any social worker. And very seldom to you hear
So I very much speak it over and over again learn how to say you're
sorry, learn how to own your mistakes. I'd rather have customers
calling and explaining about you rather than nothing happening. The
only decision that I won't support is no decision.
Excuses to the customer. They are unacceptable. Excuses are like
belly buttons, everybody has got one. The customer comes through the
door. They are in search of something.
They have to leave the door with at least a bit, a piece of what
they come in for. I always tell them -- tell folks at work, make sure
they go out with a pill. I used to have a lady friend that was a
veterinarian and she sent a dog out one time and Fifi didn't any
medication. The veterinarian caught heck from her boss because she
didn't give him a pill. Give him a ray of hope, some knowledge they
didn't have when they come in the door. Something. Excuses are
Apologies. Be on the mark, own what you goof up.
>> Brad Brooks: Be accountable.
>> Greg Jones: Be accountable. I made the mistake. It's mine. I
own it. How do I fix it.
>> Brad Brooks: You can't expect them to be accountable if you're
not going to be accountable yourself. Don't be a bad example.
>> Greg Jones: It's okay to make mistakes and be wrong. So with
that I'm going to move on to the next slide which would be 14. This is
just sort of one off the cuff, too, that you know get prepared to go in
the mud or go off the cliff with the customer. It goes back to the
needs and the wants and that kind of thing is number one goal is to
support the customer. You may be the only support that customer has.
And Brad just touched on it. You expect customers to follow your lead
but learn how to follow your customer.
This also goes to that reversal to the previous question, how do you
get folks independent and standing on their own? The same fellow that
Brad was talking about earlier that was living in the garage is -- he
comes in the door with an idea and Brad says, I think that's a good
one. Why don't you trust that? And the customer leads that. The
customer might be -- when I talk about getting in the mud and go off
the cliff, I think of IEP meetings with parents. I mean I know that
we're going to go into a roomful of professionals. Going to be a
psychologist or two in there, going to be an occupational therapist,
all the professionals. I know that I'm either going to get in the mud
or I'm going to fall off the cliff with this mom as we go into the IEP
meeting but you go any way because that's what the customer needs.
You're following the customer.
And it may be difficult. You may have to get aggressive. That's a
Greg line because aggressive is what I've done. I'm trying to tone it
down to assertive.
We're moving on to page 15 and if I'm in sync with the slide it's
handholding to freedom. This is what Brad does well. I'm going to let
him have it.
>> Brad Brooks: I don't know where to start with this. Sometimes
you just basically take what it is. Got to hold somebody's hand and
walk them through things. Sometimes they won't do it on their own.
I'm full of examples, we're running short on time so we're going to
cutback on the examples but when people are trying to get disabilities
started, they get discouraged with the process and they just drop it.
So it's up to you to kind of hold their hand and walk them through the
process so they don't get dropped through the cracks and in the end the
payoff is all worth it. That pretty much explains it all.
>> Greg Jones: I think so. One of the things, too, is that we are
getting better through the years at -- it used to be lots quicker for
us to do things for the customer rather than to send the customer down
the hall to use the phone. Let's not turn that into a 30-minute
problem solving session. I'll just call Bob. Bob will take care of
it, go over there. We're getting much better as an agency is, okay, go
use the phone, this is who you need to call. This is what you need to
When our last thing on that page is draw a map to freedom. I don't
know as I read this. If we actually draw a map is that we allow steps
And we understand that the more that they do the less that -- the
less that we have to do. Do you know what, folks really do want to be
free. They really -- the majority of our customers really -- they want
to do what everybody else does just like everybody does and it all
boils down to free. Just being free.
And then I'm moving on to page 16. This goes back to one of the
questions, too, empowering self-advocates. Nurture one-on-one
relationships. In our hallways we see one-on-one relationships
develop. They either develop and grow or develop and turn into a fire,
one of the two. We introduce folks, not only through our policies and
our openness at the office but we have an ADA celebration, we have ten
picnics throughout the year. We have monthly advocacy meetings that we
get folks together. And we do some handholding and we get folks there
but we nudge them to increase responsibilities. And then Brad is
probably much better at this than I am but he congratulates folks. You
know what, you did that all by yourself. Didn't need me.
>> Brad Brooks: Makes them feel good when they hear that.
>> Greg Jones: I didn't have to do that. And recognition is -- at
each of our picnics there's typically a customer recognition. We
actually do a personal care attendant recognition, maybe a local
community member. But we recognize our customers for who they are and
what they have accomplished. One of our quickly one of our awards at
your annual meeting is proving by doing. It started by we have a woman
named Shirley who spend 25 years of her adult life in adult mental
facilities. She is rough, cantankerous and she chased all of her
support staff out of the house three or four times. The reality is she
is one of the most caring and concerned people we have amongst us and
she has proven to the world she can live on her own without all that
support. Her whole problem -- she had been discharged from
institutions five or six times but her whole problem was that when she
got out, they tried to smother her with support and she didn't want it
nor she didn't need it. So we'll just move on. Acknowledging people
and their accomplishments. It's another thing that is -- I'll give our
CEO credit for is there are no employee awards. 15 years I've been at
SKIL we never given an award to an employee. We are our customers and
always been adamant that the awards and the recognition should go
outward, not inward.
So with that I'll move on to the next slide. Which would be 17.
This one is all my fault here. People first, paper last. That will
make my boss crazy. But that's the reality. We have always had an
open door policy in all of our offices. It's confusing, chaotic, it
makes the people that need quiet to work absolutely crazy. We have
people working with headphones but we wouldn't have it any other way.
People come off the streets. Customers need a place to hang out. They
walk through the door. They don't stop at the receptionist. They are
back at the coffeepot, using the rest room or at the pop machine. Our
thing is that we're convinced the center should be a safe place for all
people. We have had to throw some folks out through the years but
you're never banished to good. Only have to leave for the day until
you can come back and present yourself in a reasonable network -- or
The other part about that open door policy that we're accessible for
customers. Customers come in without appointments all the time. If
they are willing to wait, we're going to sit there and give them a
hand. A lot of times they might sit and wait for 15 minutes for the
>> Brad Brooks: I have customers that will sit for two hours to
wait for me to become available. Open door policy, sometimes it's just
to talk. I had a lot of professionals from other CILs that stop by our
office and can't believe the customer base we have just come up there
and hang out for a place to be and something to do. I'm not sure
whatever CILs do because I'm not talking about Kansas. I'm talking
about people from Missouri, out of CIL offices that have gave us praise
and comments over how we operate like that. So apparently it's not a
>> Greg Jones: With the center being the hub for people with
disabilities is that a network gets created. And it's a network that
we don't -- we didn't design, I mean it just -- it just grew. Brad is
in the office at 7:00 in the morning and by the time I get there
between 8:30 and 9:00 Brad already has the scoop of what went on over
the weekend on Monday morning because that network out in the community
is just there. And we sort of step back from that network. And that
network brings us new customers through the door. That network brings
>> Brad Brooks: That network helps you to prepare what is getting
ready to come through the door.
>> Greg Jones: That's a really good point is that the network heads
you up -- okay, this is the next tragedy.
A real good example of this is we have a fellow with a dramatic
brain injury who I have known for 20 years and a couple of weeks ago on
a Thursday he walked -- he comes in and he tells me he's allowed this
chick to cook meth in his house. Whoa! So we addressed it and then it
ask a question quietly waiting around for that to all unfold. But it
was the network and it was his peers in the network that said, you know
what, you crossed the line. Need to go talk to Greg. Figure out what
to do. So it's important to be a link in the network but to not own
Now I'm moving on to page 18. Don't be afraid to get burned or
embarrassed. New co-workers, especially get frustrated with this one
is that you know I took Jane to the grocery store and I bought her
$25 worth of groceries to get and the next week I saw her using her
vision card. She had money all along.
You know what, if we're going to be out there doing some good for
folks, we're going to have folks that take advantage of our good nature
and violate the norm and those people are the exception, not the rule.
So too many times, too many systems are designed to keep the rule
breakers out which punishes the people that really need a hand. So I
spend a large part of my 15 years trying to keep our policy and
procedure lady away from when we do and don't give a hand to folks
because I want it to be based on compassion and good judgment and not
We already addressed leave your personal morals and values at the
door. Be available beyond the norm. Brad and I are both pretty bad at
this, we have other co-workers that are pretty bad at this.
>> Brad Brooks: Like I was telling Greg today, last night we had a
bad storm. I had a customer call me at a quarter till 2:00 in the
morning. I made myself available to her it would make her more
comfortable. It upset my wife, quite Frankly, but it made her feel
better. So my wife will be happy in the next day or whatever.
>> Greg Jones: A step beyond that, not to brag on Brad but a step
beyond that, he's working with this same gal who has anxiety issues to
get her children back and so the phone call not only impacted her
getting her through a storm but for the day.
So the world has my cell phone number. Now with caller ID I'm
pretty good at not answering at night, but I will and I do and I do
that based upon my trust on the network and who is making the call.
That network that I talked about on the previous page is that -- if you
watch it grow you have to believe it. Just like the tree in your front
yard. Man, I watched it grow. It's a tree. It works, it's real.
Trust that network because -- be a link in it and be a part of it and
it pays off tenfold.
Now I'm moving to page 20. I'm sorry, no, 20. Brad is interfering
with me here. He hadn't looked at the deal. Okay.
Now we're confusing everybody. I'm missing a page. So we're back
to Brad's -- we're going to just talk to this and wrap it up. We're
back to Brad's believify. It's just simply that. You must believe in
the ability of the customer to succeed. It fits right in with my page
20 which is dreamify. Everybody has dreams. Never steal anybody's
dreams. And just to kind of conclude here an old Zig Ziglar saying.
The body completes the picture the mind paints. I really think that
picture is simply freedom. That simply the ability to move around
freely and openly and have the same choices and the same ability and
the same access as people without disability, just simple freedom. So
body completes the picture the mind paints. My picture is freedom.
With that we're going to go to questions again. Sorry about the time.
>> Operator: Thank you, sir. If you would like to ask a question
at this time you can press zero then one on your telephone key pad.
Again, to ask a question through the audio system press zero then one
on your telephone key pad.
And your first question comes from Scout Mary.
>> On number 14 we were a bit confused at the table here regarding
being aggressive. Is that promoted or not?
>> Greg Jones: Well, I'm giggling a little bit because with me it's
just poor impulse control. The other part of that is that
occasionally, yes, that is. Typically I get a heads up from one of my
co-workers that will call me and say do you know what, I've had enough
with so and so at the local social and rehabilitation services office.
I've got the manual here in front of me. I'm going to make her mad
today and it's like, okay. Do it. Get after it. Do you know what,
no, don't go out and pick a fight. But don't let people push you
around and stonewall you and not allow the customer to get what they
>> You're advocating being well informed and going for the rights of
your customer, right?
>> Greg Jones: Yes, getting passionate. Getting passionate enough
about it and doing that. I'm not going to drag you out in the middle
of the street and spank them but if I had the answer and I presented it
to you two days ago and my customer is still going without a roof, I'm
going to get emotionally caught up in that and I'm going to tell you
what I think.
>> Makes total sense. Thank you. Offer I have no other audio
questions for you at this time. Mr. Fuchs, do you have any web
>> Tim Fuchs: Sure. I have a question from the CART screen, this
participant wants to know how you all connect your customers with
legislators and how you teach them to work with them.
>> Greg Jones: That's a really good question and we're in an
election year right now in Kansas. All of our legislators are invited
to each of our advocacy picnics that are held right now in each summer
in nine different locations. Our web page is legislature advocacy
oriented informing them what is going on. We use advocacy alerts to
send out to the different offices and give customers computer access.
>> Brad Brooks: E-mail regularly.
>> Greg Jones: Yeah, the e-mail is the one that we've been using
right now with the -- during the legislative legislation just give you
an example and I'm bragging a little bit, but this year we took people
to the capitol to just be present and we did a visibility thing. And I
imagine our agency probably had 20 or 30 people up there through the
week. Last year through the legislative session is we got a call at
5:00 at night saying that a committee chair had turned on us and the
boss played all the political cards she had and we called staff and
customers and we had around 125 people chanting outside the doors of
So our legislators are encouraged to interact with our customers and
our customers are encouraged to interact with the legislators and both
do a pretty good job.
>> Brad Brooks: We try to keep an updated list of all legislators
and senators as far as e-mail addresses, phone numbers, and actually
personal mail addresses if we have them. We make them accessible to
>> Tim Fuchs: Okay. Great. Pam wants us to get specific. So can
you tell us about a specific advocacy issue that one of your customers
had and how you walked them through it?
>> Greg Jones: A specific advocacy issue I'm going to go back a few
years but one that comes to the top of my head is a guy by the name of
Mark. Mark was very adamant. First I day I met Mark I was going to be
his new case manager so his old case manager told me that I had to go
do introductions. She sat on the couch and scolded Mark for wetting
himself two weeks previously. Mark said yep, yep and when she got done
Mark got up and went and took -- went and pee'd on the kitchen island
just to till her he wasn't going to be bossed around. Not only did I
have to advocate on Mark's behalf because I didn't like the way he was
getting treated by the agency I worked for and the living situation it
was and we found him housing. His mother almost lost him in the
accident. She didn't want to lose her little boy again so she didn't
want to let him drive.
So beings responsible to Mark's needs and wants is that we created a
secret pact with his grandpa and his grandpa took him out and retaught
him how to drive. And then he wanted to live in his own apartment and
he wanted to manage his own money, which he was never any good at. His
mom was all up in the air. Come to find out that somewhere through the
TBI thing he was suddenly OCD about his money and did a wonderful job
with it. Mark's next challenge was employment. He didn't want to sit
at home all day. He was bored. We put him to work in two or three
different printing places and it didn't work out and it didn't work
out. Found an employer with some compassion and some tolerance and put
him to work in the shipping department of a printing company and his
OCD with numbers paid off because now he's in the accounting department
of that company. He is married and has a baby and he's not where his
mom wanted him to be, but he's where he wanted to be, and he
accomplished all his goals which was freedom from me, freedom from the
system, freedom the dependency of a disability check.
>> Tim Fuchs: Great. Well, looks like we just clicked over, 4:30.
So I'm afraid that's all the time we have for today. I want to thank
Brad and Greg for an excellent presentation. I want to thank everyone
in the audience for being with us today. If you didn't get your
question answered, we've got them all recorded. I'll pass them along
to Greg and Brad. Try to respond to you in the next few days. I want
to point to the slide that's up on the webinar screen right now, the
wrap up and evaluation slide and that's the link to the evaluation. As
I mentioned at the beginning of the call, it's really important to us.
We take them very seriously. But they are real short. Very easy to
complete if you're participating in a group, please feel free to
discuss it with the group and to fill it out together. Make sure you
respond. As I mentioned earlier that's the same link that's available
on the training page where you access the webinar link and the
teleconference number so you can get it there, too. If you're looking
at it on the PowerPoint screen you can click on it right there.
Gentlemen, thank you so much. Greg and Brad if you could hold the
line, that would be great. Everyone else have a wonderful afternoon.