17 Jan Hoosiers with Developmental Disabilities Merit Inclusion
By: Allison Wharry, CEO of New Hope of Indiana
Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb’s State of the State speech gave hope and validation to thousands of Hoosiers around the state with disabilities. Holcomb said, “…we won’t overlook anyone who is aspiring to be successful. That includes Hoosiers with disabilities, who seek to live and work in a safe, affordable and accessible environment.” He went on to thank Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch for her work to make that hope a reality for those with developmental disabilities.
As someone who spends my days working on behalf of Hoosiers with disabilities, I whole-heartedly thank the Governor for recognizing those we serve. I also thank the Lieutenant Governor for her unwavering leadership in this area and her very important work with the 1102 Taskforce. There are about 100,000 Hoosiers with intellectual or developmental disabilities and there is no doubt that they deserve to be included, not only in the Governor’s remarks, but in our society.
At New Hope, we have a variety of programs to help ensure that Hoosiers with developmental disabilities live and work in the community. We were the first large, private residential facility in Indiana for those with developmental disabilities and the first to transition to community-based residential services, and today, we offer a variety of therapy, day, vocational and transition services.
Last year, New Hope launched the only food truck in the Midwest in which the food is prepared by, marketed and served by young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Cheese and Thank You truck was a huge success and we were gratified by the warm reception of the Indianapolis community. We’ll be back again in March with a new group of young adults ready to serve mac-n-cheese throughout Central Indiana.
New Hope is also proud to offer Vocational Services through the State’s Vocational Rehabilitation program in which we provide training and resources for successful employment to individuals with disabilities. If you are an employer looking to create a more inclusive workplace, I encourage you to reach out to me or to an agency like New Hope in your community for suggestions, resources and, in some instances, training to make your company more welcoming to all Hoosiers.
I want to again thank the Governor for remembering the contributions those with developmental disabilities can make and mentioning them in his State of the State speech. New Hope of Indiana is doing its part to make the Governor’s vision of success for all Hoosiers with developmental disabilities a reality.
Allison Wharry is the CEO of New Hope of Indiana. For over forty years, New Hope of Indiana has supported individuals and families, encouraging them to live their most independent lives. Through services for individuals with disabilities, counseling for families in the child welfare system and advocacy efforts, New Hope of Indiana is making an impact in our communities every day.