In 1987, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed March as Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. Since then, the goal has been to raise awareness by having individuals with and without disabilities share their stories about living alongside each other and to highlight inclusion and togetherness.
A large topic surrounding developmental disability awareness is employment. The majority of individuals with developmental disabilities are either underemployed or unemployed, despite their abilities and desire to work in the community. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 30.4% of individuals with a disability ages 16-64 are employed. When you look at just developmental disability employment rates, that number falls to 15% (The ARC).
We are blessed at David’s House that 33% of our residents work and/or volunteer at least one day a week. Together they work/volunteer an average of 100+ hours every week. If you talk with any one of our 14 residents who have the opportunity to share their abilities with the community, they are proud of the work they do and happy to be able to help others. Mark is one of those individuals.
Mark has worked at Great Lakes Bindery for 20 years now! He works 4 days a week making sure that the floors are swept, bathrooms are tidy, and the garbage is emptied. Over the years, he has made many great friends there and says “they are like my family”. Dan, General Manager at Great Lakes Bindery, started working there around the same time as Mark and has had the pleasure of getting to know Mark over their many years together. He says that as a company they aren’t just helping Mark by giving him a job, Mark is helping them out too; he does a great job keeping the shop cleaned up and brings continuous smiles and laughter to the staff.
We are grateful for places like Great Lakes Bindery, Calvary Church, Metro Health, UCOM, and Roots Brew Shop that have continued giving our residents at David’s House Ministries opportunities to share their abilities with the community!