December 3, 2022
First Person: International Day of Persons with Disabilities
Today is International Day of Persons with Disabilities, established by the United Nations more than 30 years ago to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights and well-being of people with disabilities. Currently, 1 in 4 American adults has a disability. The barriers people with disabilities face in our world play a role in undermining stability in employment, housing and access to medical care and other services. People with disabilities are among the neighbors we serve at WayForward Resources. Mary is one of those clients, and she recently shared her thoughts with her case manager about what it means to her to be disabled and how WayForward’s services are critical to her stability.
What does the word “disabled” mean? It most likely means something different to almost everyone. …Since I am disabled I have some physical aspects that make daily life challenging. I am currently dealing with three kinds of arthritis and severe scoliosis. My struggles don’t mean much to the general community. My challenge is to find where in the community I can find a network of helpful people who work with disabled or other handicapped people who are seeking similar help. [WayForward] offers help with its food pantry, clothing center and rides. I’ve discovered that many of the social service agencies are interwoven – so you can find lots of friends and suggestions and help with one call.
Recently my [WayForward] case manager has been helping find grants to help pay for veterinary treatment for my little dog, who is my joy. Unfortunately, because I’m currently in a wheelchair, she wasn’t able to find a way for me to take my fur baby to the vet school. After spending hours trying to line up a ride, I ended up having to spend $100 on cab fare. Not on my fixed-income budget!
As far as I can tell, having a disability has definitely filled my heart with love, and somehow all the struggles and phone calls to get the help we need, grows hope.