A time of beauty and renewal, spring is the perfect season for a celebration of individuality and diversity. Isn’t it what we all want – to be seen and appreciated for who we are and what makes us unique? That can be challenging for any of us in a sometimes judgmental and callous world. But it can be especially tough for Individuals with a noticeable disability.
Since 1987, March has been recognized as Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, so proclaimed to increase public visibility of both the needs and extraordinary potential of Americans with Developmental Disabilities. Throughout the country, activities such as the “I Am….” Campaign, created by Colorado’s Developmental Pathways and Denver’s Access Gallery, broadcast an appeal to look beyond an Individual’s disability and see them as the person they are.
“Developmental Disabilities” is an umbrella term that, according to the American Association of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities refers to an intellectual disability, but includes other disabilities that are typically apparent during childhood. These severe, chronic disabilities that appear before the age of 22 are likely to be life-long. Examples include cerebral palsy, epilepsy, Down syndrome, and fetal alcohol syndrome. Intellectual disabilities impose significant limitations on cognitive functioning and adaptive behavior. Referred to as “Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities” or “IDD,” these often co-occur and may be physical, cognitive or both.
“See Me for Me” is a very real, over-arching theme every day within the IDD community. Advocating for access to and inclusion in every aspect of life, and demonstrating that IDD challenges do not preclude happy, successful living is an ongoing part of our mission at Evergreen Service Providers. Like any of us, Individuals living with IDD have unique talents and capabilities that afford them the potential to contribute to their communities and experience fulfillment in their own lives.
Among those IDD Individuals served by Evergreen are Special Olympians, theater aficionados, international travelers, culinary fans, animal lovers, fishermen, outdoor enthusiasts, creatives, students, and those who proudly earn an income through meaningful work. These people not only contribute to their communities and their own enrichment but are unintentional ambassadors for IDD Individuals everywhere, demonstrating that their lives are about WHO they are, not about their disabilities.
Like a multihued spring garden, made more intriguing by its variety, so is life when we embrace each other for our uniqueness. Perfect examples of Evergreen’s hope and vision, we salute those we serve for having the courage to share who you are with the world – an inspiring example for us all.
Evergreen Service Providers’ Executive Director, Barbara Myers, shares that, “We work to ensure dignity, stability and growth for IDD adults. In fact, the name ‘Evergreen’ was chosen because it represents lasting growth. Our mission is to help adults facing developmental disabilities improve their quality of life and achieve their goals by connecting them with the perfect residential setting – one that will promote lasting growth in mind, body, and spirit.” With an emphasis on inclusion in every aspect of life, innovative programs such as those of Evergreen Service Providers create customized plans designed to enable the IDD adults we work with to reach their maximum potential.
Building lasting relationships with clients and their families for more than 30 years, Myers assures those Individuals who are the focus of their work that, “We are here for the long haul, to walk with you on each step of your journey.” To learn more about IDD or becoming a host home provider visit www.EvergreenServiceProviders.com.