GRADS Annual Summary, 2023

Here are some of our accomplishments.

1. The GRADS website continues to evolve.

2. We had a Pick-a-Prize raffle for the local food pantry. United Hardware donated 32 turkeys and asked GRADS to deliver them. Half went to Roberts County and half went to Grant County. Valley Express website and local newspapers covered the event.

3. The Lucky Leprechaun raffle was well received. Thank you flyers were printed and mailed to 50 supporters. A thank you was published in the local newspaper.

4. We had a Rummage Sale in July.

5. Katrina Koeppe will be in charge of the ADA picnic. 1st Interstate Bank will sponsor the 2024 event and has provided $300 for food and Bingo items. In 2023, Mayor Pat Raffety read a proclamation that he wrote for the event. Duane Tillman brought the KC Bingo equipment from St. Lawrence and called Bingo numbers.

 6. Laura Maag contacted several service providers and hosted an Information Event at The Bank coffee shop.

7. The Boost for Teacher Award program was continued. 

8. NDEAM event was held in Sisseton at the Family Life Center.

9. Diane Stewart has featured GRADS events in the Arc newsletter. We appreciate the family contact and publicity.

10. A fund request was submitted to the KC’s for $300 from their Toostie roll funds.

11. Brenda Teske has set up Zoom meetings. They have worked out very well.

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.

LifeQuest

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.

Newsletter

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.

NDEAM/Sisseton
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, striping@venturecomm.net.

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 katrina.koeppe@state.sd.us. 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!