How many years have you served people with developmental disabilities?
I am relatively new to this—I’ve been with the organization for about a year and a half. While I haven’t worked with people with disabilities before, I’ve worked many years in the non-profit world and knew from my first day that this is exactly where I am supposed to be.
What is the biggest challenge you face in your position?
I don’t provide any direct care; I am the storyteller. We have such a diverse organization and broad base of services, so I want to make sure our community understands why we are important in what we do and who we serve. We have success and failure just like any other organization and we want to be as transparent as possible to maintain the exceptional reputation we have built.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
I recently spent 2 days filming 11 moms of children with special needs for our upcoming #mom2mom social media campaign, and a few hours into the interviews I wrote on my notes, “These moms are FIGHTERS!” I am rewarded every day as these families and our consumers trust me to open themselves up for me to tell their story.
What is the one thing you want people to know about Developmental Connections?
We are here to support independence. Part of that job is to educate our community about the awesome people we serve and help them connect to others through community employment, social outings and volunteerism. They have so much to offer!
What is one way in which our community can help foster the mission of Developmental Connections?
If you are an employer, consider hiring a person with a disability. With some creative thinking, you could gain an employee who will show up each day, work hard and will actually want to be there!
How are you personally touched by the work you do?
In December, our music therapy had a children’s program. I ended up having to take my 12 year old boys along with me (the life of a working mom!) When we walked in, they immediately ran over to a group of their friends—these friends were part of the program. I realized that this next generation of citizens doesn’t see the disability, they see their friends! I attribute that to our local schools where integration into classrooms is the norm and the kids with disabilities are just part of the group.