March is Developmental Disabilities (DD) Awareness Month. We at Jawonio would like to take this opportunity to thank our very generous and compassionate communities in both Rockland and Lower, and strongly voice our commitment to provide the very best services for people with Disabilities and Special Needs of all ages. It is also a time to recognize the special contributions that people with “disabilities” have made to our society, and the great gifts that people of diverse abilities bring to our communities. It is said Franklin Roosevelt would never have been elected to President of the United States if we saw him in a wheelchair.
Thankfully, today, we hope that our children are growing up while sharing the view that there is strength in diversity. I love to read the stories of teen fundraisers, the “no money accepted” birthday parties and donations in lieu of gifts to charity. In the future, will children still understand the critical needs of others who need either short or long-term assistance?
The celebration of people with Developmental Disabilities also gives me the opportunity to issue a “call to arms” in a rapidly changing and complex health care delivery system. Jawonio provides vital services to over 5000 children and adults every year, and while we have been here for 65 years, responding to the needs of the Rockland Community, we wonder aloud if our community knows that without their support, not for profit agencies such as Jawonio may not be here in 5,10,or 20 years. Jawonio will only thrive through the increased and ongoing support of the families of the people we serve as well as the rest of the Rockland community. We have a commitment to be here for you and to always advocate for the rights of people with special needs. Will you make a commitment to us?
During this month, we invite you to call or email us and become actively engaged in supporting the mission of Jawonio. You can volunteer in any one of our children or adult programs, you can advocate for our services locally or in Albany. Perhaps you would like to help us with special events, or direct support of our Foundation. There is something for everyone.
Increasing education, awareness, and community inclusion helps us continue our journey toward improving the quality of life for people with developmental disabilities and mental health challenges.
If you are interested in bringing awareness of the value of including people with developmental disabilities and mental health concerns into our community, and want Jawonio to be there for, you, your children, great-grandchildren and beyond please visit our website at www.jawonio.org or call Carla Virgilio, Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator in the Jawonio Foundation office at 845.708.2000 x1332 for more information.
There is a place for everyone to help and we urge you to contact and bring your special gifts to Jawonio.
Jill A. Warner, LCSW
Executive Director/CEO, Jawonio