March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, and it’s a great time to highlight some of our advocates, who’ve helped spread awareness and advocated for inclusion and equity for their loved ones with developmental disabilities.
Each week this month we’ll be highlighting a different Penn-Mar Advocacy Collective (PMAC) steering committee member, and why they choose to advocate.
To learn more about PMAC, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Q&A with Robert . . .
Q: Tell us a bit about yourself and how you became a part of the Penn-Mar Family?
A: While planning for our son’s transition from high school to the adult world, my wife and I identified Change, Inc., since merged into Penn-Mar, as the agency we wanted to work with our son. It seemed more flexible and willing to adapt to his needs and we were struck by the warm and engaging atmosphere at its Westminster facility. Just when we were about to start our first Penn-Mar DSP the pandemic struck, and we chose to defer exposing our son and ourselves to new sources of infection, so our experience with Penn-Mar has all been virtual.
Q: You decided to accept a volunteer position on the Penn-Mar Advocacy Collective Steering Committee (PMAC). What made you take that next step in advocating for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD)?
A: I volunteered for PMAC because I have always been active in my son’s school and social activities, and I thought that joining with other parents to improve our children’s lives would increase my knowledge about the system and organizations that will structure and support my son for the rest of his life.
Q: What would you say to another Penn-Mar family about becoming an advocate and member of PMAC?
A: We all have different skills and experiences to bring to the common task of ensuring the best possible lives for our children, and we all have a lot to learn from each other.
Q: Is there a favorite activity to do with your loved one with IDD, that brings you joy?
A: Weather permitting, we take two hour walks on Columbia’s paths. In covering the 5+ miles of hilly terrain, we typically stop and chat with neighbors, which my son enjoys tremendously, and the exercise keeps me active.