In the last two weeks, an additional $520.00 has been generously donated to my project, Real Stories, Real People. I am 12% of the way to meeting my goal by May 31, 2015. These funds will be used to create a publication that will educate the public and Georgia legislators about developmental disabilities and the importance of funding to support this population. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation. No amount is too small and any donation is highly appreciated. To make a tax-deductible contribution visit my website at http://www.realstoriesrealpeople.org/donate/
The legislative session in Georgia is coming to a close. Support to fund additional Medicaid waivers was nominal. After learning that the House approved no funds for supported employment I was disheartened. Fortunately, a week later, the Senate voted to appropriate $980,000 for supported employment. If approved by the Conference Committee, these funds will provide support for 125 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (DD) to work in an integrated setting. Supported employment is critical in helping people with developmental disabilities find and keep a job. A job coach works closely with their client in finding a job that is of interest to the individual in addition to a job that utilizes the individual’s strengths and gifts. Furthermore, a job coach trains the employee, works with the employer to provide job adaptations and accommodations, provides on-the-job coaching and ongoing follow-up and support. Over 80% of adults with intellectual disabilities are not employed. An estimated 63% of people with a DD, ages 18-64 who are unemployed want to work. Last summer, I photographed Patrick working at a Gwinnett Braves game. Funding for a job coach made it possible for Patrick to secure this job. In the absence of support Patrick would have been relegated to sitting in the stands instead of doing what he valued most, working and taking home a pay check.
I have received $500.00 thus far towards my goal of $8000.00. These funds will be used to create a publication that will feature photo essays from my project and information about developmental disabilities. The publication will be distributed to the public and our Georgia legislators during the 2016 session. I hope to meet my goal by the end of May. Please consider making a contribution to support my efforts in bringing my project to fruition. To make a tax-deductible contribution visit my website at http://www.realstoriesrealpeople.org/donate/