National Disability Awareness Month (NDEAM) is held every October to celebrate the important contributions that people with disabilities have made to workplaces and to the economy in general. This year, NDEAM’s theme is “America’s Recovery: Powered by Inclusion.” We are proud that so many of the individuals we support at Search are a part of the recovery effort by working in the community and earning competitive wages.
To mark NDEAM and modeling the Campaign for Disability Employment’s (CDE)’s “Working lets me…” public service announcement campaign, JJ’s List asked several Search individuals about what working in their community lets them do.
The general theme that emerged from the group is that employment allows them to be more independent, be responsible members of society, and be included in their communities.
Read what they had to say below.
Working lets me…
“…make money. Having a job will hopefully help me live on my own someday. And it also gives me something to do and learn now that I’m finished with school. Being at Target is letting me learn new things.” – Matt M, Target
“…meet new people and experience new things.” – V.V., Goodwill
“…get out in the community without anyone else and be more independent; help customers to find what they are looking for; to get a paycheck; to go shopping, and to save money so one day I can get my own apartment.” – Maria, Goodwill
“…buy pop; help out my house staff with shopping; meet a lot of nice people, especially my coworkers and my boss; and take on more responsibilities. I feel good helping people out.” – Jacob, Marshall’s
“…pay my bills and expenses; spend my money and go out with my friends; pay my own way in the community; do things I want to do; pay my rent and live on my own.
I am proud that I can go to work and be independent and know that people depend on me. Working and having a set schedule makes me a better person. I am also proud to work with a great support team that cares about me and understands me.” – Anton, Hewn
“…have something to do; make money; buy my own device; feel like part of a team and make friends. I get to help people and that makes me feel good. I bag well. I put all the cold groceries in one bag and all the heavy groceries on the bottom of the bag. I deal with angry customers and give good customer service. I love my job.” – Jimmy, Jewel
“…be myself and work with other people. We are a good team. I have made a lot of friends. They are such great people to work with. Working lets me make money for myself and it is great to have it. I love to work at Trader Joe’s. It is my calling and my happy ending.” – Matthew L, Trader Joe’s
“…show what I can do. For example, it allows me to increase my responsibility by showing people that they can trust me and rely on me to get tasks done. It shows people who I am in the working world. It also helps improve my independence by allowing me to get to and from work on my own. It gives me a sense of purpose and boosts my self- confidence by letting people see how much I can do.
It also shows them that I am more than just my disability. I am Adrian and no one will tell me otherwise. Finally, it shows other people my skills and talents; that way they can see how good I am at something, or multiple things. For me, it all comes down to, “Your disability doesn’t define you. You define your disability.” – Adrian, Fine Line
“…be responsible and more independent; be part of a team; meet new people, and make money to buy my own stuff.” – Henry, Jewel
“…earn money and learn how to budget and spend it responsibly; become more independent and responsible so I can eventually live on my own and pay my own bills; make connections and meet new people; build communication skills, gain confidence, and learn new things.” – Alana, Sunset Foods
“… do things I like to do; take vacations, and spend money. I get pocket cash when I need it and help pay for my living expenses. I get outside when I walk to work and see people out in the community. At work I get to help people out to their cars and talk to them and collect carts. I have worked at Jewel for almost 19 years!” – Sean, Jewel
“…to learn new things, like how to be safe in a store; to be more independent; to talk with customers; to make friends and have laughs; to buy my own groceries and to pay for some of my bills. My job is great. It’s really, really great.” – John V, Mariano’s