“Why do you do what you do?”
“Why do you advocate for people with disabilities?”
“Why do you work in schools to provide inclusive education for people with disabilities?”
“You’re tired… You’re burnt out… But you’re still here. Why?”
Facilitator Kristal Murren looked at a room full of employees who work to provide people with disabilities with competitive, integrated employment in Dubois, Pennsylvania and the surrounding area. She had just asked them a very big question for a Thursday morning.
One brave man raised his hand “people deserve dignity,” he said. “I don’t want my consumers to live a meaningless life. I do not want them to wake up every day and go to work in a job that doesn’t value their talents and abilities. I want my consumers to work in a job where they have responsibility—and their skills and experience is needed. I want them to work in a job that gives them a reason to wake up every morning. That gives me a reason to wake up every morning.”
Other participants raised their hands as well. “The right to work is a part of the human experience,” one participant explained. “People with disabilities shouldn’t be treated ‘special,’ they should be treated like every other human being who has a job to do.”
It didn’t take long for every participant in the room to come to the same conclusion—I do what I do because every person deserves dignity. If I can help provide this to my consumers, my efforts are worthwhile.