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A Place of Courage

September 7, 2015

Each day as people drive past our parking lot they glance over, see our sign and notice our business. But they really have no way of knowing that something amazing is happening inside our building. Monday through Friday people with intellectual and physical challenges come to work at our facility and transform their lives.

The Meadows is a place where disabilities fade and abilities rise to the surface.

Our mission is to provide employment and vocational training to men and women who are too often denied their right to participate in the job market. We accomplish this by not only supplying the opportunity to work, but more importantly by offering understanding and acceptance.

Each person is treated as an individual.

Comparisons are not made - no one is ever measured against someone else. Our organization is built on a foundation of equality which ensures that each person that works here receives the respect they deserve. They are hired because their humanity is valued. They are important. Their life matters.

We do not judge a person based on what they can or cannot do.

They are not judged by their lack of work experience or job skills. They are not judged by their age, gender, or ethnicity. They are not judged by the way they move, the way they speak or the way they think. They are not judged because of complex medical issues that can affect their physical, mental or emotional health. There is no judgment at all.

The Meadows helps to make hopes and dreams come true.

This not only applies to the individuals we hire but to their families as well. We give parents and guardians a place they can trust with their loved one’s safety. We provide assurance that their son or daughter is being productive and is engaged in meaningful work that is expanding their world and giving them important experiences that they would not otherwise have.

We help our employees discover their talents and develop their abilities.

The vocational skills they learn here will benefit them for the rest of their lives. They will be better prepared for the future no matter what type of employment they seek. The self-esteem they gain by performing a variety of job tasks will give them the confidence they need to be successful.

Our workers are never pressured to improve their job performance.

We are not like other businesses because the men and women we employ are allowed to make mistakes and sometimes fail without being made to feel like a failure. They are reassured and encouraged to keep trying and to not give up. Instead of problems, we prefer to focus on promise, potential and progress. There are no harsh expectations, but rather individuals are given the opportunity to do what is possible for them.

All intellectual and physical issues are dealt with compassionately.

We are able to balance structure with adaptability so that we can meet the diverse needs of our employees. Our work environment is filled with caring and consideration. People feel safe and secure. They can focus on their jobs knowing that if a problem develops we are there to help them.

This is where people find a sense of achievement.

Being employed is critically important for people with developmental disabilities. When they are hired it raises their self-esteem to know that someone believes in them. It provides them with opportunities to use all of their talents and to develop new skills. Being given responsibility for vocational tasks imparts a feeling of self-worth. Having a job keeps them active mentally and physically. It allows them to connect with other people and to learn to interact in positive ways.

Each of our employees is accepted and appreciated for who they really are.

They gain a sense of belonging as they become part of a team working for a common goal. We provide an atmosphere of laughter, fun and joy, where friendships are born and thrive. Our organization stands as an example to the community of the beauty and power of diversity as we demonstrate what men and women with disabilities can accomplish when they are given the proper support.

Our employees create memories that will last a lifetime.

Each weekday we open our doors, and our workers slowly stream in. The men and women range in age from 18 to 73. They have autism, Down syndrome, fragile X syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injuries, epilepsy and more. They have survived strokes and brain tumors. They have endured everything from heart surgery to reconstructive orthopedic procedures. Some have paralysis on one side of their body. Some have significant hearing or vision issues. Some use walkers to help with their mobility and some wear leg braces. But each morning - no matter what their particular challenges are - they overcome them and arrive at work ready to perform their jobs to the best of their ability.

That makes the Meadows a place where courage is on display every day.