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The Meadows Blog
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Public Perceptions

February 5, 2018

As people drive past our building each day it is impossible to get a true sense of what is going on inside our 42,000 sq. ft. facility. That leaves the general public with a natural curiosity about what kind of organization we are and exactly what it is we do.

The Meadows can be considered in two ways. First, we are a business offering a wide range of services to a statewide customer base. Second, and far more importantly, we provide employment and vocational training to adults with intellectual and physical challenges.

Unfortunately, people sometimes have preconceived ideas about individuals with disabilities including the belief that they cannot work. However, they are quick to change their minds when they meet our employees.

Customers are invited into our facility to witness their material being shredded. For many of them, it is their first exposure to adults with disabilities.

Without fail they are always impressed by how conscientious and efficient our employees are as they do their jobs while dealing with a wide range of challenges.

When the public sees their enthusiasm, work ethic, and positive attitude, they realize that these men and women deserve respect for developing their skills and abilities.

Additionally, every weekday, eight to ten of our employees go into the community on our company trucks to pick up paper and other material to be shredded. They spend the day interacting with all types of people in every kind of setting. It is another opportunity for those without disabilities to see that our differences are insignificant compared to what we have in common.

Established customers look forward to our workers visiting their businesses to pick up their bins of paper. They enjoy seeing what individuals with intellectual challenges can accomplish when they are given the opportunity they deserve.

In fact, once they have seen how our employees work, many of our customers choose to use our services exclusively because they believe in our mission. They begin to share our goal of ensuring successful employment for people who would otherwise be left out of the job market.

That kind of interaction benefits everyone because it’s through experience that we discover how connected we really are.

When the public realizes that men and women with intellectual and physical challenges can be a vital part of the workforce and contribute to the greater good, it leads to the understanding that every person deserves the opportunity to have a job. The fact that they might need supports and adaptations to make their employment successful, in no way makes their efforts less meaningful.

When the public gets to see that adults with disabilities can be employed and be productive citizens, it changes their point of view. It expands their perception of what these individuals can achieve.

It is often quite surprising to people when they first see the quality of work that our employees produce. It is a moment that alters previously held beliefs. The realization that adults with challenges are able to perform complicated tasks that were once considered impossible, creates a positive impression that replaces the misconceptions of the past.

When a person with a developmental disability has a job, it gives them a purpose and daily goals to focus on. It makes them feel like they’re part of the community and that they are contributing. It creates a sense of accomplishment, and it builds self-confidence that can lead them to attempt even more in their life than was once thought possible.

We consider it an important part of our mission to ensure that the public has the opportunity to learn about and appreciate the capabilities of men and women with intellectual and physical challenges.