Our Important Work Continues

Posted on November 24, 2020

Over 140 million Americans cast their vote in the recent historic presidential election. Millions of people are elated about their candidate’s victory while millions more are having a hard time accepting the results. But this is what our electoral process is all about. And regardless of the outcome, we at Penn-Mar continue to do good works, supporting people with disabilities and advocating for their issues on both sides of the aisle in Harrisburg, Annapolis, and Washington D.C.

The work of our team members is relatively unaffected by who holds any particular government office. Whatever the governing party, whatever the legislation passed affecting our issues – pro or con – we have important work to do today and every day to empower people with disabilities to live courageously, even in the most difficult of times.

And these are difficult times.

I have often used the word “slog” to describe the COVID environment we find ourselves in. Every day eerily the same, a day-to-day survival challenge as we try to stay mission focused.

And that’s where another word – courage – comes into play. I have seen it exemplified in spades at Penn-Mar over the last eight months.

Nowhere was that resolve more evident than in the recent wedding of two individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities who managed to pull off an intimate wedding ceremony in the middle of the pandemic (with a DSP serving as Maid of Honor), showing the world that they, like all of us, deserve to love and BE LOVED.

Your generous contributions support Penn-Mar’s mission to make moments like this happen.

As you are well aware, working behind the scenes at our organization are a group of incredibly courageous people, our DSPs, who have made a commitment to BE THERE for the people we support, to help them live their best life. So many demands have been made on our team members since March to keep the individuals we support safe, unafraid, and motivated. I truly believe that COVID is often harder on our DSPs than the people they support and we are so appreciative of the extraordinary courage they continue to display answering the call.

With your help we can supplement government funding to continue to recruit and retain quality DSPs like these to ensure that every one we support has someone who will be there for them.

I’d venture to say that not many people picture a person with an intellectual or developmental disability as an “essential employee” but with the encouragement of their support team and families, many of the people we support chose to BE BRAVE and work on the front lines during the threat of COVID, returning to their jobs as essential personnel in restaurants, grocery stores, gas stations, assisted living facilities and are thrilled to do so!

Learning about the hopes and dreams of the people we support and finding them the opportunities to live those dreams are just another example of the innovative programming that requires creative financing outside the realm of government subsidies.

A perfect example of this is a new entrepreneurial venture started at Penn-Mar that provides encouragement, training and seed money that allows people with disabilities to BE BOLD and start their own businesses.

In the next few days we’ll be reaching out to you to support our 2020 Year End Annual Giving Campaign.

I couldn’t help but wonder while watching the election returns what an organization like Penn-Mar could do with some of the $100s of millions of dollars that candidates spent on their losing campaigns!

With courage and optimism, Penn-Mar is committed to winning every day by providing opportunities and innovative programming that foster equality and full inclusion for both our team members and the people we support.