As many of you have heard me comment, over the last few years the state administration has frowned on Centers for Independent Living "advocating" for funding or services or right of individuals with disabilities; at least when the State is the entity we are appealing to. This has caused so frustration, and even despair for individuals who have spent a lifetime having to advocate for basic rights given to others. This past week a local newspaper ran an article chastising people for demanding jobs and health care, in other words, for Advocating for basic needs. To quote my younger staff; "Seriously??" It's wrong to want basic needs, i though having a job was a good thing. Having access to health care in the most advanced country on the planet is bad??
If any one has thoughts on this, i'd love to hear from you. Advocates clearly need a new plan in this era of blaming the poor, disabled and jobless of our nation.
With our local school going back into session this week it's a sign that summer is nearly over. Our wheat harvest is past and garden produce is starting to slow. It's a time that parents rejoice, but local restaurant owners notice a definite decline as families change their focus from summer fun to school supplies. It reflects the ups and downs of our world and cycle of the seasons. Growing up in an agriculture based family, this time of year has always been family focused. We pull together to make sure the harvest comes in on time, working ridiculous hours in stressful conditions; and throw in the biting flies, burning sun and Kansas winds that are as hot as a wildfire and you wonder why you chose this lifestyle! And then harvest is over; good or bad, you rest, relax, take a vacation, and enjoy family time. And then you say to yourself, why would anyone chose a different lifestyle?
For those whose world isn't based on the cycle of nature, this is something they probably can't begin to understand. Whatever your background, once thing we all understand is that meaningful employment leads to a meaningful life. For individuals with disabilities, access to meaningful employment may have just become a little easier with the passage of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. This update of the old workforce act passed in 1998 increases opportunities by investing in the connection between education and career preparation. I'm always skeptical about ideas shifting from legislation to real action, but just like the wheat we harvested, it starts with a tiny seed. Planted in the right environment, it results in a successful harvest. If we can all be good stewards of these ideas, it will lead to success. I look forward to this particular harvest season more than most!
Sincerely, Audrey Schremmer, Executive Director.
Audrey Schremmer is the Executive Director of Three Rivers Inc. She considers it a blessing to be surrounded by great team members, her peers around the state and country and of course her four legged friends that come with her to work everyday.
Audrey Schremmer-Philip, Executive Director