(Atlantic) Persons with disabilities are capable of performing many of the same tasks as everyone else in the community. That was the message at Tuesday's Community Conversation sponsored by ID Action and Cass Incorporated.
Tara Christensen, Barbara Curtis, and Sally Fischer shared stories of how they have been able to overcome challenges and accomplish many of their goals. Fischer told the audience at Iowa Western Community College yesterday that initially she was reluctant to get involved in the community until she found out until she got started with the New Horizons program at Cass Incorporated and found there are a lot of people who care about her.
“This program has taught me the importance of giving back to our community in a variety of ways. Some of my favorite volunteer opportunities are meals on wheels, hanging the bloodmobile posters, participating in planting the downtown flowers cleaning up local parks, assisting with the lunch program at the YMCA, sacking popcorn for the children at Santa’s village, raising money for adopt-a-family, and reading to the children at Ann Wickman.”
Barbara Curtis says she has had the opportunity to experience many firsts since moving to Atlantic. That list ranges from sitting on a bike for the first time to moving into a house with two roommates.
“Once I was settled and comfortable with my home I had an idea for another first for me. Both of my roommates go to the daily acivity program at Cass too. They also go to work on the work floor several hours a week. Even though I never had a job before I decided it was something I wanted to try. With the help of my service coordinator at Cass I got the chance to work two afternoons week starting in May. It makes me feel really good that I get to work for a living and I was excited to take home my first pay check.”
Tara Christensen is one of over 30 Cass Incorporated clients who are employed in the community.
“Getting a job is the community is a little scary but I did it. I achieved it. I did it on March 12, 2012.”
Christensen works for an after school program at a local church.
“I now work five afternoons per week preparing snack, doing crafts, and playing with the children, the perfect job for me.”
The event was sponsored by ID Action which is a federally funded state agency that advocates for the development of services and supports that allow Iowans with developmental disabilities to make choices and take greater control of their lives.