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November 18, 2009

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November 18, 2009

I have worked with people living with developmental disabilites for twelve years at The Progress Center. My primary role has been as the maintenance supervisor. This has been a unique role in that I have had the opportunity to get to know the people we support not as a staff person but just as Larry the guy who fixes things. This has been a great opportunity for me and I have learned that people are just people, whether we've been diagnosed or not. We all have dreams, desires and the same basic needs. The biggest and most positive change that I have seen is the move towards community inclusion for the people we support. When I started at The Progress Center we were a typical agency, to " protect " the people we should have allowed to grow we kept them isolated from the general public. We bused them to and from Day Program , kept them in the building doing mundane, often childish activities, herded them on a bus and took them to community activites in large groups, which scared the hell out of people in general and highlighted the disabilites of the people we support. About five years ago we started to adopt the principles of inclusion. That all people flourish doing what they are interested in and in being part of the fabric of the community. Everyone has a gift and to be encouraged to develop that gift and become engaged in the community allows people to develop. I have seen tremendous growth and progress in people's confidence and self worth by being treated with respect and dignity. One person living with a disability sharing their life with us as a classmate, team member, club member,friend, neighbor or coworker is just anouther person and has as much to offer society as anyone. There is no need and it's a great injustice for us in our ignorance and showing our disabilities and need for control to segregate our fellow human beings in special dances, seperate housing , special classes, clubs or sporting events and steal from them the chance to make mistakes and develop naturally that we all take for granted. I am very proud of the development in our attitudes and the fact the we encourage community involvement. It's not easy and requires a commitment in actions not words. There is always a choice between concience and conveinence and I'm proud of the direction The Progress Center has been moving in. L.J.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Community Inclusion

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Focus more on the basics of Co,,unity Inclusion has promoted by Inclusion.Org

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Getting to know the people we support.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Typical humans some great some just taking up space.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

operate a for profit business to fund operations so we could focus on what's really important " The People "

Ways to make it better...

If everyone would get the concept that we all should be treated with dignity and respect

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

Continual Budget Cuts and strings attached to funding.

One thing I'd also say is that...

We make everything too hard it doesn't have to be that complicated. If we're so smart that they give us the keys and the power to make decisions affecting other people's why don't we do a better job of listening/

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

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