23 Feb Raise Your Voice This Disability Awareness Month
by Jenny Pfeil, Development Director
Before joining the team at New Hope of Indiana, my knowledge of individuals with disabilities was probably to similar to most in our society – very uninformed. I had little experience with the day-to-day life of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. I didn’t know how they paid for the support services they need or how difficult daily tasks such as bathing and preparing a meal could be for them. Nor did I understand the extent to which their disability could affect their entire family. What I did know was that individuals with disabilities are not as visible or well represented in our community and in our daily lives as those without disabilities. Despite the efforts of New Hope of Indiana and other organizations like ours, the incredible individuals we serve remain often overlooked and undervalued.
As parents have generously shared their stories of how New Hope has impacted not only the lives of their loved ones, but their entire family, I have been nothing short of inspired. More than one mom has shared that she never dreamed her child would be able to live outside of their family home – and in a place where they are truly loved and able to thrive. Hearing the gratefulness in their voice that New Hope has provided their child an opportunity to live a life better than they had ever thought possible gave me a completely new perspective. Even with the odds against them, those we serve are thriving – and are providing inspiration to everyone they touch. As we prepare to recognize Disability Awareness Month in March, I hope that you will join me in celebrating the individuals we serve and advocating for them throughout our community.
There are many types of developmental disabilities including cerebral palsy, autism, muscular dystrophy, Down syndrome, and fetal alcohol spectrum disorder; all of which affect a person’s growth and/or cognition. Not only does New Hope offer support to individuals and families impacted by developmental disabilities through help with everyday tasks, we also strive to build a more inclusive community where those we serve are welcomed and embraced by all. Disability Awareness Month is an opportunity to raise awareness of the need for inclusion of people with developmental disabilities in all areas of community life, as well as to educate others of the barriers that people with disabilities still face in connecting with the communities in which they live. You can join our efforts to advocate and promote respect for individuals with disabilities by following us on social media and sharing stories of hope from the individuals we serve and their families.
Raise your voice to support those whose voices go unheard.
Want to do more? You can join our efforts by making a donation to New Hope of Indiana to support our efforts and help us provide hope to hundreds of individuals and families each year.