Each year in March The Arc of Luzerne County celebrates National Intellectual and Developmental Disability Awareness Month. We reflect on our history and celebrate the achievements of people with disabilities in our community. We remember those who came before us toadvocate for the rights of people with disabilities and achieved major accomplishments – the right to education, the right to live in the community of their choice, and the right to be included as an equal member of society.
Last week, I had the great honor to participate in several legislative visits at our State Capitol as part of the I Want to Work Campaign (of which The Arc is a partner), a self-advocacy campaign aimed at promoting employment for youth with disabilities. The goal is to ensure that students have internship and part-time job experiences so that they are better prepared for post-graduate employment.
As I sat in the meetings with our elected officials, including Lieutenant Governor Mike Stack, listening to self-advocates explain the importance of supporting legislation to increase their opportunities to enter the workforce, I realized we achieved a major accomplishment. That day people with disabilities were included as equal members of society and treated with the respect and dignity we at The Arc have dedicated our time and energy to for more than 60 years. It’s as important to do good work as an individual agency as it is through coalition building. I am honored The Arc of Luzerne County is an important member in this campaign to support youth with disabilities in search of their future, in Luzerne County and the Commonwealth.