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A Success Story

September 8, 2013

Each morning more than 40 men and women with intellectual challenges make their way into our building. Some have mobility issues and others have problems with their balance. Some deal with tremors, and some with seizures. Others have difficulty with their vision and some with their hearing. Others are almost nonverbal, while some love to talk but their speech is difficult to understand. But no matter what specific issues each person lives with, they all have one thing in common; they are employees of the Meadows Center for Opportunity.

Each day when they come into our facility, their job is always waiting for them. They never have to worry about layoffs or cutbacks. No matter what the economy is like, their jobs are secure for as long as they want them. They will always be allowed to work at their own comfortable pace, and they will never be pressured to work faster or to produce more. And even as they age, and their abilities decline, they do not have to be concerned about being replaced. They will always be a welcome part of our family.

Throughout their lives, the men and women we employ have defied the odds. Most of them have had significant and even life threatening health problems that they and their families have courageously overcome. Many were told that they would never be able to work at a “real” job. They have spent their lives fighting against the ignorance and intolerance that is too often directed at people with developmental disabilities. They have acquired vocational skills that will be valuable to them for the rest of their lives. They have gained the confidence necessary to attempt new tasks. Their ability to interact appropriately in a social context has improved which has earned them the trust and respect of their coworkers, and they have been accepted for themselves. Our employees have faced life altering challenges that most of us have been spared and yet they have triumphed. They are productive members of society.

Their amazing achievements are the result of their incredible hard work and their willingness to test themselves and to grow as human beings. These individuals are leading positive lives while dealing with a wide variety of intellectual, physical and emotional challenges. However, it would be completely wrong to think of them as “victims”. They are survivors. They are perfect examples of the power of the human spirit, and it’s that strength which has enabled some of our workers to remain with us for 20, 25 and even 30 years. Their longevity with our organization is a testament to their desire to be treated as equal members of society. Their employment at the Meadows has become one of the most important aspects of their lives. Their jobs fill their time with meaning and give them an identity that they are rightfully proud of.

The fact that they find their jobs to be rewarding and fulfilling is critically important because each afternoon our workers head back to the reality of their personal lives where some cannot tie their shoes. Some do not know their age. Some cannot remember their phone number. Some cannot tell time, and some cannot read or write. But despite these issues, they feel good about themselves because they have spent the day performing a variety of jobs, including multi-step complex tasks, with complete accuracy, that provide beneficial services to businesses and the public. They have achieved what many people thought was impossible. They have withstood the physical demands of their job and they have risen to the challenge of thinking in new and creative ways. They have experienced the satisfaction of performing at their personal best, and they have enjoyed the camaraderie of working together as part of a team to reach specific goals. Their lives are richer and fuller because of their employment experience, and it has added immeasurably to their self-confidence and self-esteem.

For over three decades we have fulfilled our mission to employ adults with developmental disabilities. We have served our community and the state of Oklahoma with professionalism, offering a variety of services that more than 3,000 customers statewide count on, while at the same time we have been honored to play an important role in the lives of hundreds of families who have loved ones with intellectual challenges.

The current success of our organization is the direct result of the dedication and commitment of the men and women who have worked with us through the years. We are incredibly proud of the individuals we employ. They inspire us in countless ways, but most importantly they demonstrate what a person can accomplish when they are given the opportunity, the support and the tools to succeed.