This month we celebrate National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. In 2016, Via served almost 150 individuals with developmental disabilities in our travel training and paratransit programs. Through the years, we have served thousands of capable, confident and active people who also live with a developmental disability. During the last few decades, major civil rights developments have occurred, including one called self-determination, which defines the principle that people with disabilities have the right to choose how to live their own lives. For self-determination to be successful, four factors are essential—loved ones, friends in the community, professionals and community services like Via. Via is committed to true inclusion and choice for older adults and individuals living with developmental disabilities.
When you go to the supermarket and there’s the guy with Down syndrome bagging your groceries, do not look at this person as disabled. Look at him as someone with a life story worth knowing. It’s so incredibly important that if you are somebody who feels a passion for people with disabilities because you have a loved one who has a disability, or you have a larger faith that every human being has a purpose on earth that may not be known to you, you need to go out and you need to fight for their rights and services that support self-determination.
Amanda Q., age 30 | Scott L., age 34
Special Olympics teammates | Oskar Blues co-workers | Good friends
PHOTOGRAPHER: RACHEL GOMEZ
Friends, co-workers, teammates, neighbors. Amanda is a very active, very busy young woman with many interests and hobbies. Scott’s intellectual challenges stem from an incident in which he suddenly stopped breathing for about 20 minutes when he was 5 months old. He too, is very physically active, with many interests.
They met when both were on the Longmont Special Olympics basketball team. Amanda still enjoys basketball, as well as volleyball, basketball, track & field and, in the summer, softball, which her father and other athletes’ parents play alongside their children. Scott enjoys bowling, gymnastics, swimming in Special Olympics, and is proud of having won a gold medal in bocce ball this summer.
Both Scott’s mom and Amanda’s dad appreciate the paratransit services their children utilize every week, and feel much more at ease being able to put the safety and well-being of their children into the hands of Via drivers rather than utilizing any other transportation options available to them.
*C.O.R.E. /Labor Source is a Day Program and Supported Employment Service Provider with Imagine!, providing a diverse and dynamic range of classes, community outings and activities for adults with developmental disabilities as well as supported employment opportunities.