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Workplace Wellness - WDA 10

image: Biggest Loser LogoSubmitted by Amanda Taylor - VRC, Madison

We all know how hard it is to control your weight when you work in an office setting where often times the most activity you get is walking from your desk to the printer. In order to combat this, WDA 10 started the "Biggest Loser Challenge" group. The idea behind creating the group was to help support each other in making positive changes in our lives in order to achieve a healthy weight.

We started in January 2012 with ten participants. The group meets once a week, for a half hour, to discuss topics such as: What is working to help me reach my weight loss goals? What makes it hard for me to stick to my weight loss plan? What is one thing I can do in the next week to help me reach my weight loss goal? The group has attempted to include several different ideas into the Biggest Loser Challenge, including: creating healthy meal plans together, a monthly group challenge, and setting weekly individual goals. In order to measure our progress, we do a weigh in each week.

As time went on, the group size decreased to four consistent participants. Even though the group size has decreased, the usefulness of the group meetings has not. Participants have commented that meeting each week has helped with staying motivated to lose weight and/or change unhealthy behaviors. Participants have worked on supporting each other through the ups and downs. One participant commented that she has learned that her weight may not go down every week, but what matters is the weight loss over the long term; looking at her progress over the months, not just day to day.

Overall, the four remaining group members have lost weight since January. The hope is that the group will continue to promote DVR's Workplace Wellness initiative.

Project SEARCH

Project SEARCH is a one-year transition program for young adults with disabilities. DVR works with our partner agencies to identify and refer candidates for the program.

This video follows six Project SEARCH participants at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin.


Workplace Wellness - WDA 8

Last month, WDA 8 shared their wellness activity - a donation drive for several non-profit organizations that provide services to people in Dunn County.

According to Natalie Carlson, coordinator for the activity, "The donation drive went great!" Two carloads full of clothes and household items were donated to the United Way/C-3 Center, and 120 pounds of food to the Stepping Stones food pantry.

Facebook, anyone?

image: Facebook Logo


Did you know that DVR has a Facebook page? Visit http://www.facebook.com/WIEmployAbility and "like" us to get information for job-seekers with disabilities and resources for Wisconsin businesses who want to hire people with disabilities.


Thanks for a Job Well Done

Audrey Merten - DVR Web Coordinator

email received by Kristin Rolling from Larry Dresser, DVR IRIS Specialist

I would like to send out kudos to Audrey Merten. Since the retirement of DVR's SSA Specialist in December 2011, Audrey has stepped in and done a fantastic job.

First, she was heavily involved in an IRIS enhancement report to more accurately account for consumers who were SSA Cost Reimbursement candidates. Next, she seamlessly took over this position's responsibilities to ensure DVR had all the necessary requirements in place to guarantee DVR's records were accurate for future reimbursements.

Finally, based on the previously stated work, she has submitted and DVR has received over $1.1 million in reimbursements during calendar year 2012. Great job Audrey!! Your fellow DVR staff members appreciate this dedication and results.

Terry Conley - VRC, Jefferson

Thanks for listening! I'm both fortunate and grateful to have such a great support system. My journey has given me a new faith and insight into the human experience.

Sandy Ellsworth - VRC, Elkhorn

email received from a consumer's family member

Dear Sandy and Michael (DVR service provider),

I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for allowing me to join David (consumer) and you today. It was a good experience to meet everyone and get a feel for David's support system. Thanks for allowing me an opportunity to ask questions and seek clarification. I appreciate all that you are doing to assist David in his job search. I was impressed and reassured that David has the right people in his corner. Thank you again for your time!

Jerry Jorgenson - VRC, Ashland

Thanks again for your assistance in this "New Career", I know without you or your team, this endeavor would not be happening. I know it takes State monies to provide this service, but you all are the ones that make it work.

What's New/Updated on the Web

  • DVR Invoice Resolution Form (DVR-14726-E); the address has been updated for this form.
  • Confidentiality Guidance Piece - Page 6 & 7 had some changes to include the sharing of records electronically as we are now doing this with some of the DDB records requests.
  • Understanding the Ticket to Work (TTW) Program (DVR-12847-P) Publications - English, Spanish & Hmong Versions.
  • Consumer Fiscal Responsibilities Agreement (DVR-16843-E) Forms - English, Spanish & Hmong Versions. The fourth bullet/sentence in the first section was reworded to state: "The item must be approved in writing by DVR before it is purchased"; it had previously stated authorized (not approved).
  • Knowledgebase Q&A #358 - Reporting grants received from DVR to the IRS.
  • WTCS Financial Aid Officers List (Updated for 2012)

Staff Updates

New Faces/Transfers:

  • Alena Harris, VR Counselor (Milwaukee Northeast)
  • Kimberly Schwartz, VR Counselor (Milwaukee Northwest)
  • Megan Grasser, VR Counselor (Wausau)
  • Cassandra Zegarra, Office Operations Associate (Central Office) - LTE
  • Caralee Morrison, VR Assistant (Marinette) - LTE


  • Donald Meeder, VR Counselor (WDA 6)