Introducing Frank Rivas
Frank Rivas is the new Colorado Choice Transitions Coordinator at Center for Independence (CFI). Frank’s job is to assist people to get out of skilled nursing facilities into less restrictive environments. He is uniquely qualified for this position, having worked in a similar capacity at The Resource Exchange – a supported living service program for 2.5 years.
Frank was born and raised in Miami. He was in the military for 17.5 years where he was a U.S. Army medic and all around “jack of all trades”. He left the military in 2001 due to some service connected disabilities in his ankles, knees, hip and shoulders. He also wears hearing aids.
In high school Frank was an extremely shy, “science nerd”. Yet, given a ride in a time machine, he would go back to his youth. When he “grows up” Frank would like to “be worry free’. His “superpower” is understanding others. Frank knows that the secret to understanding others is to understand yourself.
Frank attended Pikes Peak Community College in Colorado Springs for two years. He then attended Colorado State University in Pueblo where he attained a BSW in Social Work with an Emphasis in Psychology in 2008. In 2010 he briefly the School of Nursing at the University of Miami before deciding to return to Colorado where he felt his heart truly belonged.
Frank was previously married but, unfortunately, his wife passed away 21 years ago. “This is one of life’s roller coaster rides” and something Frank has had to come to terms with in his personal journey. At one point in his life, Frank lost his home and moved to Como, Colorado where he lived in a camper with his dog and not much else.
Before CFI, Frank recently worked as a Mental Health clinician at Mind Springs Hospital where he worked facilitating groups and managing clients in an inpatient setting for 5.5 years. Frank found this job very rewarding. However, due to increasing pain from disabilities, Frank understood that he would have to limit his activities and he began looking for a job that would be less demanding on his body.
Frank chose to move to CFI which he finds to have a “non-bureaucratic, open and friendly” culture.
A very interesting side to Frank is his involvement as a “Pirate Reenactor”. He has been a member of the Colorado Rouges in Denver for over 12 years before retiring from that group and has recently joined the Highland
Rogues since moving to Grand Junction. This is a non-profit organization of “Pyrates with a Purpose”. They perform at special events and educate the public about pirates. Frank will be participating in the local and regional Renaissance Faires and other Pirate Invasions around the country.
In his spare time Frank is also an avid snowboarder and kayaker. He is inspired by nature and tries to visit and many natural places in the world as he can.
Frank is also a HAM radio operator. He has his passed the difficult test for his ‘Extra Class” license - which means he can talk to people all over the world. For example, he has made contact with folks as far Sweden and Chile. Frank is also involved in using the HAM radio at the Western Colorado Amateur Radio Club and looking to develop an Emergency Communications Center with the regional Veteran’s Administration Hospital in their Emergency Preparedness Plan that will encourage and help Veteran's with disabilities like low vision and agoraphobia reach out and make meaningful connections around the world and overcome some barriers to make those connections and feel less isolated.
Another fascinating thing about Frank is that he has built his own “Tiny House” on wheels. It has been a labor of love for the last four years and he says once done he wants to use it as his weekend getaway. Frank was a a Sous Chef for a short time but enhancing his cooking skills for years in a private kitchen, but now focuses on the art of Charcuterie(or smoking meats). He is a regular Boucanier which strangely is a root of the word Buccaneer. He is truly a Pirate in all the sense of the word.
Frank says that people think he is intense because of his size and his how he projects his voice. Because some people are triggered by this intensity, Frank tries to come across smaller and softer. However, Frank says he will never “sugar-coat” things. He sees himself as very straightforward. If you ask Frank a question you will get the truth from him.
If Frank found a winning lottery ticket he would look for its rightful owner because he is very satisfied with his life and loves to work. He feels working is good for his soul. On a scale of 1 to 10, he is a 9 in terms of happiness.
The last gift Frank gave someone is “confidence” and a chance to choose one of the 486 inspirational quotes he has in a jar which he shares with people.
A quote that Frank particularly likes is “Sometimes not doing anything is the best you can do”. He also says, “There is no honor in being better than anyone else. The only honor comes from being a better person than you were yesterday” (Hemingway).
The first 3 things Frank did on his first day at work at CFI were; remembered to be thankful for this job; closed the door to his office and was thankful that he has an office; and lastly, he worried.
Frank says he wants to inspire people to reach out and he will take the time to reach out be happy with people you love. He reminds us all that it is important not to leave it to someone else.
Welcome Frank Rivas!
Erika Kiefer is a new happy face here at Center for Independence, (CFI). She is with us in a paid Work Experience position through the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation.
Erika was a little shy at first but has quickly blossomed into a valuable part of the CFI team. Not only has Erika mastered the multi-line phone system, she is able to give anyone who comes into our lobby a warm greeting and quickly find out what they need. She has learned quite a bit about Center for Independence and which staff member handles what type of work, which is not an easy task.
There is nothing Erika won’t attempt to do at CFI. She dives right into any task she is given. For example, Erika helped us get ready for our Voter’s Education and Registration Event by doing everything from making tons of copies to decorating the auditorium.
Erika is very neat, a good organizer, is very detail oriented and has done extensive work with our Record’s Manager getting files created and organized.
We have discovered that Erika is a Computer Wiz! She quickly created a very splashy 259-page PowerPoint for a staff member and is currently working on a big Excel file for another person.
In her spare time, Erika makes Origami animals and has generously shared them with us. Erika takes pleasure in giving and helping others. She enjoys being needed. Erika has a quiet and pleasant disposition, which makes it easy to work with her.
As you can see from this photo, she has a great smile. Welcome Erika!
FYI May is Older Americans Month 2018
Every May, the Administration on Aging, part of the Administration for Community Living, leads our nation's observance of Older American's Month. The 2018 theme, Engage at Every Age, emphasizes that you are never too old (or young) to take part in activities that can enrich your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. It also celebrates the many ways in which older adults make a difference in our communities.
Of Interest to Seniors and Persons
with Disabilities in
On May 8th, 2018 from 8:00 to 11:30, Center for Independence (CFI) at 740 Gunnison Avenue, will be hosting a Voters’ Education & Registration Event. A free breakfast will be served.
This event will help voters get ready to cast their ballots by explaining the voting process and highlighting issues of importance to seniors and persons with disabilities. Olivia Pilcher with the Disability Law Center will give a presentation titled, Voting Rights and Registration”. Volunteers from the League of Women Voters of Mesa County will be on hand to assist attendees with voter registration.
On July 12th, CFI is hosting a Candidates Forum from 8:00 until 11:00 followed by an informal one-on-one time with candidates. This is an opportunity to ask candidates questions pertaining to issues of seniors and persons with disabilities. A free breakfast will be served from 8:00 – 9:00.
Both events are non-partisan.
To register, please call CFI at 970-241-0315 or go to the website at www.cfigj.org. Under CONTACT CFI, fill out the form and include:
Number of people attending
First and Last Name(s)
Which event are you attending?
Run, Walk & Roll!!
Between April, 2018 and April, 2019, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will mail new Medicare cards to all people with Medicare. The new cards will have a new unique Medicare Number instead of a Social Security Number. Medicare will automatically mail the new cards to the beneficiary address on file with the Social Security Administration.
CMS will mail the new cards in waves. Starting in April 2018, people with Medicare will be able to check the status of card mailings in their area on Medicare .gov. The first wave of cards will be mailed between April and June to people with Medicare in the following 11 states and territories:
- American Samoa
- District of Columbia
- Northern Mariana Islands
- West Virginia
After receiving a new card, people with Medicare are advised to take 3 steps to make it harder for someone to steal their information and identity:
- Destroy your old Medicare card.
- Use your new card right away. Doctors, other health care providers, and plans approved by Medicare know that Medicare is replacing the old cards and are ready to accept the new cards.
- Beware of people contacting you about your new Medicare card and asking you for your Medicare Number, personal information, or to pay a fee for your new card. If you think someone is trying to steal your identity or otherwise commit fraud related to the new Medicare cards, you can report them to your local Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP).
Information and resources for partners and providers related to the roll-out of the new cards is available from CMS.gov.
March is Brain Injury Awareness Month.
On Saturday March 24th there will be a fun Run, Walk and Roll Event at the Life Adjustment Program center located at 1405 Wellington. Registration is at 9:00. Event takes place on campus and neighborhood. Registration is $10 and receive a t-shirt for your donation. BBQ lunch and lawn games after run, walk, roll event. ALL FUNDS FROM THIS EVENT GO TO CFI this year! The fun theme is St. Patrick's Day, so please wear green to support this awesome event!
Center for Independence will have a table set up to share information about our Program and we will also be volunteering at this event!