Council recognizes individuals with disabilities

who are employed in the community

It was a packed room for the Delaware County Council meeting on Wednesday as residents, employers, and various organizations attended along with self-advocates, to join County Council in recognizing October as Disability Employment Awareness Month.

Since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 27 years ago, people with physical and mental disabilities have made tremendous progress in many areas.

One challenge that remains, however, is finding employment and functioning within the confines of the workplace which may pose difficulties for some with physical disabilities.

The Delaware County Office of Intellectual Disabilities, the Delaware County Employment Forum, the Supported Employment Providers and local businesses all work together with residents and their families to ensure that people who wish to work are employed in the community.

"In Delaware County we are fortunate to have places of employment that are welcoming of the talents of all people, including people with disabilities, which are a critical part of our efforts to build an inclusive community," said County Councilman Dave White, who is the parent of a son with a disability. "At the government center and courthouse, we are proud of the fact that Council offers a workplace that is welcoming of people with disabilities, displaying the value of doing so, while providing our employees with a chance to gain dignity, economic security and self-determination."

During the meeting, individuals with disabilities who are employed in the community were recognized, joined by their employers, including Kaitlin Gong, Front of the House Support, Buffalo Wild Wing; David Perry, Dining Hall Staff, The Café at Widener University (Aramark); Winifred Downey, PA Driver's License Center (SpArc); Erin Perry, Greeter/Ticket Taker, AMC Movie Theater; John O'Malley, Dining Hall Staff, Plush Mills Senior Living, and Marie Stavola, Delaware County Government Center.

"As you can see from the attendance at today's meeting, we have a very diverse, active community of people with intellectual and physical disabilities who work in our county, as a result of their own determination and with the support of their friends, families, employers and advocates here in Delaware County," said Councilman White.

At the meeting, Council also recognized the Delaware County Office of Intellectual Disabilities. As an organization that works to increase the numbers of individuals employed in their communities, the Office of Intellectual Disabilities also helps individuals lead full lives and works to enable them to meet their personal goals and dreams throughout the lifespan.

The Office of Intellectual Disabilities serves over 2,300 individuals and their families each year through administrative and supports coordination services.

Council also recognized the Delaware County Employment Forum, a collaborative group who partners have been working for four years to increase the numbers of individuals who are employed, both full and part time. This past year, due to efforts by the forum, employment providers, and the Delaware County Supports Coordination Organization, more than 230 individuals with intellectual disabilities in Delaware County were employed.

Also recognized was the Arc of Delaware County, a grass roots organization that has advocated for people with disabilities for over 50 years. As an advocacy agency, the Arc has worked with county, state and federal officials to help individuals and their families. One of the most pressing challenges for people with intellectual disabilities is isolation, or difficulty in building friendships beyond their immediate families. The Arc will be holding their annual legislative breakfast on Friday, October 20 at the Lazaretto Ballroom.

Council recognizes individuals with disabilities who are employed in the community

Delaware County Council recognized people with intellectual and physica; disabilities who are self-advocates and work in the community as part of National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Shown at the October 18 meeting are, from left, David Perry, John O'Malley, Marie Stavola, Erin Perry, Councilman Dave White, and Winifred Downey. Second row, from left, Councilman Mike Culp, Vice Chair Colleen Morrone, Chairman Mario J. Civera Jr., and Councilman John McBlain.