GRADS Meeting Minutes November 9, 2023

Middlebrook Community Room 6:30 p.m.

Six people were present at the Grant Roberts Area Disability Supports meeting.

Boost for Teachers and Mentors

MaryLou Bullert presented the proposal for 2024. It is included with these minutes. The timeline includes: January 2, 2024-Announcements are sent out.

February 16, 2024-Applications are due.

February 29, 2024- Winners are announced.

Pick-a-Prize Raffle

MaryLou Bullert has organized a pick-a-prize fundraiser. She demonstrated how this fun raffle works. This local project will be started after Thanksgiving with the prize boxes and tickets at The Bank Coffee Shop in Milbank. Proceeds will be split equally between the food pantry and GRADS.


Laura Maag from LifeQuest has requested funding from GRADS to pay for gas for out-of-town recreational events. The group plans to attend “The Birthday Club”, a play in Watertown, as well as to make a visit to the Redlin Art Center. Laura will submit a bill for reimbursement.

Laura Maag expressed concern that transportation costs to and from work will no longer be covered by the Department of Social Services. This greatly impacts individuals with disabilities who travel to their jobs.

NDEAM Review

Rachael Johnson shared the evaluation of the National Disability Employment Awareness Month event in Sisseton held on October 5, 2023. She requested input from the group for the upcoming debriefing meeting in December. Suggestions included expanding the event by inviting other schools to attend. Perhaps Milbank could host an event, too.


Diane Stewart requested information to add to the upcoming Grant County Arc News. We want to include a big THANK YOU to Arc for helping to sponsor the NDEAM event. We also thank Diane for including GRADS information in the newsletter.

Special Olympics

A request was made for for funding for motel costs for adult participants attending the next bowling tournament. We will discuss this again at the January 2024 meeting.

Financial Report

The checking account balance in First Savings and Trust in Milbank was $3,810.13 on September 29, 2023.

Next Meeting

The January 11, 2024 GRADS meeting will be via ZOOM at 6:30 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Rachael Johnson

GRADS Secretary/Treasurer

GRADS Meeting June 8, 2023

Middlebrook Community Room 6:30 p.m.
Four members were in attendance at the June meeting of Grant Roberts Area Disability Supports.

The theme of the 2023 National Disability Employment Awareness Month is Advancing Access and
Equity. The Sisseton event will be on Thursday, October 5, 2023 at the Family Life Center, 404 West
Hickory Street, Sisseton. Dinner will be served at 6:00 p.m. followed by guest speaker, Dan
Card/Think 3D. The evening will end with the recognition of local employers/employees. Please RSVP
by September 29 to Rachael Johnson by phone, 605-698-7445 or email,

ADA /Milbank
The Americans with Disabilities Act celebration will be on Monday, July 31, 2023 at the Milbank
Visitor Center, 1001 East 4th Avenue, Milbank. Subway sandwiches, chips, bars and beverages will be
served from 6:00- 6:30 p.m. A short program will follow. The evening will conclude with BINGO.
RSVP by July 17 to Rachael Johnson will apply for Thrivent Action Team
funds to pay for sandwiches, etc. Charlotte Athey will purchase chips, bottled water, coffee, and paper
products. She will bring the BINGO game and a large thermal coffee server. Rachael will arrange for
people to bring bars. We will all bring BINGO prizes. Speakers will be Laura Maag (LifeQuest),
Charlotte Athey (GRADS), Diane Stewart (Grant County ARC) Mayor Pat Raffety (City of Milbank),
Rachael Johnson (Voc Rehab for Katrina Koeppe), and perhaps someone from Independent Living
Choices. Rachael will put ads in the Sisseton Courier, The Grant County Review, & The Valley
Shopper. Charlotte will contact Tidbits and have posters done before July 15.

Benefit Rummage Sale
There will be a benefit rummage sale on Saturday, July 15, 2023 starting at 9:00 a.m. at the
Middlebrook Community Room, 902 E. Milbank Avenue, Milbank. We will set up late afternoon/early
evening on Friday, July 14. Some item to be sold are counter stools, a water purifier, a humidifier,
puzzles/games, books/magazines, household goods, and some clothes/shoes. If you have things to
donate please reply to this message. Rachael Johnson will place ads in papers and Charlotte Athey will
do posters.

Project Update
Laura Maag (LifeQuest) can use free state park entrance passes from the library. She will also look into
Reading Squared, the summer reading program for adults that they offer. Laura wants to encourage
LifeQuest participants to drink more water. We authorize her to purchase incentives such as movie
passes or pizza certificates for meeting specified goals of drinking water at sponsored activities.

Financial Report
The checking account balance in First Bank &Trust in Milbank was $3,685. on 5/31/23.

Next Meeting
We will have a meeting on July 15 at the rummage sale to finalize plans for the ADA celebration.

The Grant Roberts Area Disability Supports drew their three basket winners on Wednesday, March 15th. The winners are: Brad and Kathy Folk, Milbank; James Johnson, Sisseton; and Karen Nolte, Webster. Pictured at the top is winner Kathy Folk with Mary Lou Bullert from GRADS. Next is James Johnson, below that is winner Karen Nolte of Webster.

Jim Johnson of Sisseton was impressed with the prize box/basket filled with a multitude of items and gift cards. Thanks to GRADS!

The drawing was also attended by GRADS supporters and board members.

Back row LR- Mark Sieverson, Kathy Sieverson, Janet Michlitsch, Sharon Larson, Roy Larson, Bill Sieverson, James Michlitsch, George Boos. Front row LR- Rachael Johnson, Mary Lou Bullert, Cheryl Sieverson, Char Athey, Gloria Boos, Deb Homan. Picture taken by Brian Bullert

Thank you to all who participated and supported our fundraiser!

As 2022 rolls into 2023, we reviewed our GRADS board minutes and we have quite a list of accomplishments to be proud of. Here are some highlights of what we did in 2022:

  1. The GRADS website has continued to improve and evolve. Events on the calendar are now updated more frequently and provide better documentation of events to assist in saving time when planning similar projects.
  2. The Lucky Leprechaun raffle opened the door for GRADS to contact schools in Sisseton, Milbank, St. Lawrence Catholic School, Big Stone, Summit, and Wilmot. Excellent event coverage was provided by the Lake Area Tidbits as well as the Sisseton and Milbank newspapers.
  3. We had a very successful Rummage Sale in June.
  4. GRADS and Life Quest did a gift jar filling activity that utilized measuring, teamwork and socializing skills and concluded with a pizza party. Later, GRADS sold the gift jars to help support organizational goals.
  5. Laura Maag set up a display for the Hartford Beach Parade of Lights and included GRADS.
  6. This past September saw the launch of the Boost for Teachers Award. As a result, GRADS was able to connect with schools in Wilmot, Sisseton, Milbank, Big Stone, and Summit.
  7. The NDEAM event was very successful! Bobbie Jo’s of Beardsley, MN provided an excellent meal and Robert Anthony was our inspirational speaker. Mae Amodia was recognized as the 2022 Boost for Teachers winner.
  8. Plans were made to save GRADS information on the Cloud Forever site. Diane Spilde will provide assistance.
  9. Katrina Koeppe will plan the ADA event in 2023.
  10. Plans for Day Services in Sisseton are being pursued.
  11. Diane Stewart has been very supportive by including GRADS articles in the Grant County Arc News. The Grant County ARC has a substantial mailing list and gives GRADS great publicity without the cost of postage.

Thank you to all who supported and participated in our events! We appreciate your continued support!

GRADS Meeting November 8, 2022

Middlebrook Community Room 6:30 p.m.

Four people were at the November meeting of Grant Roberts Area Disability Supports.


The National Disability Employment Awareness Month celebration was held on October 6 in Sisseton with 56 people attending from towns in Grant and Roberts Counties as well as Aberdeen. We had employers and employees, representatives from GRADS, Grant County Arc, Voc Rehab, LifeQuest, and local schools, and community members in attendance. The attendees enjoyed the meal, the comfortable venue, and the enthusiastic speaker, Robert Anthony. We thank GRADS, Grant County Arc, and Sisseton Public Schools for helping to sponsor this event. We plan to have another event in 2023.

Boost for Teachers

MaryLou Bullert will arrange for another Boost for Teachers grant to be announced in January. Congratulations to May Amodia, Transition-PAES Supervisor (Teacher), from Sisseton. She received a check for $100. for her Lunch Preparation project.


MaryLou Bullert wants to do a Lucky Leprechaun fundraiser again. We also talked about having a grill or patio set raffle.


We will ask Cheryl Polkington for current information on number of views to the site.


Katrina Koeppe can assist with invitations for an Americans with Disabilities Act picnic or bingo event, on the last Monday in July perhaps. We will discuss this further at our April meeting and reserve the venue.

Request for Help

We had a request for obtaining day services for adults with disabilities in the Sisseton area. It was suggested that LifeQuest may be a good option. Charlotte Athey would arrange and attend a meeting with Pam Hannah, LifeQuest CEO, from Mitchell. Information to bring to the meeting should include the number of people who desire services and what services are needed, (eg. recreation, cooking). Rachael Johnson will follow up on this request.

Financial Report

The GRADS checking account balance was $3,135.68 in First Bank & Trust on 9-30-22.

Next Meetings

The next GRADS meeting will be on February 7, 2023 at 6:30 p.m. via ZOOM.

The GRADS annual meeting and election will be on April 11, 2023 at 6:30 p.m. at the Middlebrook Community Room, 902 East Milbank Avenue, Milbank.

GRADS Meeting September 20, 2022

Middlebrook Community Room 6:30 p.m.


There were 5 people at the Grant Roberts Area Disability Supports meeting.



We will add a picture and information about the Boost for Teachers grant recipient on the site. We will also add RSVP information for the NDEAM event in Sisseton.


Business Cards

Charlotte Athey will check with Sean Athey about prices. Then design work can be done.



The National Disability Employment Awareness Month celebration will be on Thursday, October 6, at the Family Life Center, 404 West Hickory Street, Sisseton.

Dinner will be served at 6:00 p.m. and the speaker will begin at 6:45 p.m. The speaker is Robert Anthony, an elite para athlete, whose message is titled “Becoming Your Best Self ”. RSVP to Rachael Johnson by September 30 by email ( or phone (605-698-7445).

MaryLou and Laura will hang posters up in Milbank. Rachael will contact radio stations, and will have articles placed in the paper(s). Invitations have been sent via mail, email, Facebook and delivered in person. The information has been placed on community events calendars in Sisseton and Milbank and has been printed in the Grant CountyArc newsletter.


Boost for Teachers

May Amodia, Transition-PAES Supervisor (Teacher), from Sisseton will receive a check for $100. for her Lunch Preparation project. This project teaches planning, budgeting, marketing, food preparation, cooking and serving a meal, useful in restaurant employment. Congratulations to May.

We plan to do another grant in January.


Financial Report

The GRADS checking account balance is $2,870.23.


Historical Records

Rachael Johnson suggested using Cloud: FOREVER for saving articles, pictures and other documents from GRADS. She will ask Diane Spilde for assistance with this project.


Next Meeting

GRADS will meet on Tuesday, November 8, at 6:30 p.m. at the Middlebrook Community Room, 902 East Milbank Ave., Milbank. The Jan. meeting will be via ZOOM.

Join us for

National Disability Employment Awareness Month 2022!