Monthly Archives: July, 2018

Introducing Brad Hastings, Advocacy & Outreach Coordinator

Join us in introducing Disability Network West Michigan’s new Advocacy & Outreach Coordinator, Brad Hastings.

Brad is a Muskegon local and graduated from Reeths-Puffer High School in 2007. From there, Brad attended Michigan State University where he received a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology with a Minor in Philosophy and Law. Through his coursework, Brad studied many topics surrounding human cultures, social systems, and ways of thought. Much of his coursework focused on systematic disadvantage, structural barriers to socio-economic mobility, civil rights, and how historical events and policies have impacted broader societal structures and individual abilities to achieve a basic quality of life and well-being. After college, Brad pursued an internship with Global Youth for Education and Change that took him to a Township in South Africa, where he worked at a drop-in care center for children who had been impacted by HIV/AIDS. In this capacity, Brad helped with after school programs for children, preparing meals, as well as working on basic life and employment skills with young adults.

Prior to Disability Network West Michigan, Brad spent 5 years with TrueNorth Community Services as their Community Food and Wellness Coordinator, overseeing the food pantry, teaching cooking classes, assisting with fundraising efforts, and leading the Newaygo County Hunger Elimination Force. In this position, Brad facilitated community collaboration on issues surrounding poverty and hunger, as well as community outreach and education, and the coordination of policy advocacy efforts. During his tenure with TrueNorth, Brad was also a member of the Staff Training and Social Committee and helped to organize and lead social events, as well as staff trainings and professional development.

In his new role as the Advocacy and Outreach Coordinator, Brad is working toward becoming a Certified Coordinator for the Americans with Disabilities Act. He is excited for the opportunity to promote the many issues impacting people with disabilities as well as the opportunity to work alongside the disability community and local governments, businesses, and other organizations to make sure that people with disabilities have equal access to all the community has to offer. He hopes that the community continues to grow and move forward with accessibility and inclusion as top priorities.

We welcome Brad to the Disability Network West Michigan team!

Introducing Carla Morat, Mobility Manager for Oceana County

Please join us in welcoming Carla Morat to Disability Network West Michigan as our new Mobility Manager for Oceana County.

Carla  has called Oceana County home for the last twelve years. She graduated from Whitehall High School in 1986 and earned her Associates Degree in Human Growth and Development from Wheelock College in 1993.

Carla worked as an Early Childhood Educator for twenty years. She started her career at Wellesley Community Children’s Center in Wellesley, MA.  She developed and implemented curriculum for her young charges.  Her focus was nurturing the developmental stages of each individual, helping them meet age appropriate developmental milestones.

In 1995 Carla returned to Michigan and worked with a consortium of Muskegon businesses to open a non-profit child development center.  She was the Executive Director of this center for twelve years.  During her tenure she created an age appropriate learning center for infants, toddlers and preschool age children. Carla created staff development and worked with state licensing agencies and community agencies.

Carla worked as the Executive Secretary to the Superintendent of Shelby Public Schools for five years. While working for Shelby she was diagnosed with Non Hodgkin Lymphoma.  This prompted her to create The Pink and Green Bowl Fundraiser for Shelby and Hart Schools.  The fundraiser has raised over $125,000 for cancer awareness and student scholarships in the last ten years.

Carla’s relationship with cancer became complicated in 2011 when she was diagnosed with Leukemia. She had to leave the work force for seven years.  Cancer free, Carla is excited to be returning to work as our Mobility Manager for Oceana County.

We welcome her to the Disability Network West Michigan team!



July 9, 2018 Voter Registration Ends: Last day to register for August primary!

August 4, 2018 Absentee Ballot Request deadline – By Mail: Electors who wish to receive an absent voter ballot for the August primary by mail submit absent voter ballot applications By 2:00 p.m.

Click on the link below to register to vote (takes less than 2 minutes!), get your absentee ballot, find your polling place and check your registration status. If you need assistance, please call us at 231-722-0088.

Reasons to Register and Vote

There are as many reasons to vote as there are voters. For this nonprofit

Our nonprofit depends on support from the city or state to maintain our funding and services. Elected officials respond to neighborhoods and communities where more people are registered to vote and vote.

For your community

Neighborhoods and communities that vote get more attention from candidates and office holders. They are less likely to visit and listen to communities that don’t participate in elections.

For our kids and youth

People under 18 can’t vote. Our children or youth depend on us to represent their voices too! When we vote, we are looking out for our kids, and their futures. Vote for their future as well as yours.

For neighbors not yet citizens

Many in this community are not citizens. They can’t vote. They need you/us to vote for them.

To make your voice heard on an issue or candidate (Don’t let others decide for you)

Every vote does count!

Remember: there is power in numbers. When we vote and get our family members to vote, we can impact outcomes and change the debate.

  1. Many elections are decided by less than 100 votes.
  2. You send a message by what candidate or party you vote for. Even if your candidate doesn’t win, the number of votes they do get impacts what’s decided by government.
  3. Just how close the vote is changes who might run and win the next time.

Don’t let others decide for you

If you don’t vote, you’re letting others decide who wins and what issues matter. Today’s non-voters actually favor government and social services (like access to health care, spending on education, income inequality or public safety) at a much higher rate than people who vote regularly.

Send a message. Register to vote for change

More people voting can send the message that we want new policies and more attention to this neighborhood.

Honor our history and the right to vote!

Voting is one of our most important right as citizens. As long as this country has existed, communities like ours have had to fight for the right to vote. There are still people today who don’t want some people to vote. It’s our turn to stand up and vote to preserve this right the honor of those who went before us.