Celebrating Independence

Celebrating Independence

by Jenny Pfeil, Director of Development

When you think of the 4th of July holiday, what images come to mind? Red, white and blue bunting on a porch? Cookouts, fireworks and time with friends and family? Traveling and relaxation?

For me, it’s all about celebrating independence. Our country, our independence and our freedom are ever evolving. We have all seen first-hand that there is work to do in ensuring that every citizen enjoys the freedoms our forefathers envisioned. Freedom and independence, like people, come in many unique and diverse forms. And there are many populations who experience barriers to enjoying their freedom and independence, including individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Individuals with disabilities have a lot in common with individuals who do not. We all have a desire to be loved, have a safe place to live and enjoy meaningful and fulfilling activities. However, for many with disabilities, achieving these things can be especially challenging and even costly. Central Indiana offers many opportunities for community engagement such as beautiful parks, enriching museums, numerous non-profit organizations where one can volunteer and many others. The key to accessing all of those things, though, is transportation. For many individuals with disabilities, especially those who use a wheelchair, finding reliable, accessible transportation can be a challenge.

While Indianapolis offers accessible public transportation, it is not a one-size fits all program. It can be difficult to access, runs on its own schedule, and is not free for caregivers. When public transportation is not an option, a fully accessible conversion van and driver are needed to transport the individual. Many individuals served by New Hope and other disability providers also need a caregiver to accompany them into the community to help with personal care and other needs. This often doubles the cost of attending an event which the individual may or may not be able to afford and can even place the burden of the cost onto the caregiver.

Despite these barriers, we all benefit when individuals with disabilities are truly immersed and engaged in our community. And it’s easy to help. It can be as simple as saying “hi” and talking with them when you see them out. They are just like anyone else; they want to be acknowledged and included. You can also make a financial gift to a local organization that supports individuals with developmental disabilities like New Hope of Indiana. Your gift can help cover the entry costs of outings, provide transportation to ensure that all residents can enjoy the amenities our community offers and help build a more inclusive Central Indiana community.

Recently, three organizations recognized this need and made gifts to help New Hope of Indiana purchase a new, fully accessible van. Our sincere thanks to the Nicholas H. Noyes Jr. Foundation, the Tegna Foundation and the Ayres Foundation for their support in building a more welcoming and inclusive community. If you would like to support New Hope of Indiana, you can easily do so online.

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