What does #DisabilityPride mean to you?

At DESI, we strive daily to celebrate the talents and accomplishments of people with disabilities. We want to live in a more inclusive and equitable world and recognize there is work to be done to achieve this goal.

On a practical level, we do this by providing customized educational services that teach our clients how to live their best lives, day in and day out. Our clients are responsible for defining their own goals and ideals. We help them chart the path they want to live and help them learn to navigate community resources on the way to that end goal. We teach them to stay true to their ideals and themselves.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 4 Americans lives with a disability. How is it that such a large and diverse population often goes unheard? We know that nothing will change unless we not only acknowledge voices in the disability community but elevate their work and actively contribute to their efforts.

We often try to blend storytelling with community service. We recognize both as powerful forms of self-expression and self-advocacy. We promote Inclusion through Service, which allows our clients to find a sense of pride and accomplishment through serving others.

Michael often feels proud of the work he does volunteering at his old elementary school. He likes to assist the adaptive PE teachers — some of whom he worked with as a student in his youth.

“I feel that volunteering has really helped me improve, and [teaches me] not to give up”

Michael’s hard work does not go unrecognized by his community:

“Michael, you are doing such a good job and I am so proud of you,” says Janie Lopez, adaptive PE teacher at Farmdale Elementary School in Los Angeles. “[You are] such a nice, helpful [and] polite young man… you’re just doing such a good job.”

We published a video featuring Michael volunteering. You can watch this video he helped create for our Bridge to the Regional Center / Puente al Centro Regional project.

So, what does #DisabilityPride mean to you? Let us know how you would like to see #DisabilityPride recognized in your community.

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