For a stronger, more inclusive community | Letter to the editor

To the editor:

March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness month. President Ronald Reagan made this national proclamation in 1987, dedicating the month to increasing public awareness of the needs and potential of Americans with developmental disabilities.

Thirty years later the goal is the same today, focusing on the importance of inclusion and living life side-by-side. This year’s theme is “See Me for Me.” This is an effort to highlight the many ways in which people with and without developmental disabilities come together to form strong, diverse communities.

Close to home, we are fortunate to have supportive businesses providing opportunities for people with developmental disabilities to work in inclusive workplaces. Located on Bainbridge and throughout Kitsap County, these workplaces foster a culture of inclusion, which engenders a real confidence for the worker and also spills over into a more understanding and compassionate community. The more workplaces that open their doors to the skills and potential of persons with disabilities, the richer our collective life becomes.

When not at work, or for those unable to find employment, Island Time Activities (ITA), provides opportunities and guidance to people with intellectual disabilities. The organization has a successful program for helping its members to set and achieve goals, build relationships, practice life and work skills and to be involved community members. ITA is a local nonprofit located on Bainbridge Island that serves members from throughout Kitsap County. This nonprofit organization provides a safe, nurturing environment while pushing its members to test their personal boundaries. By encouraging people with intellectual disabilities to participate in local events and interact socially, we build a stronger, more inclusive community, similar to that envisioned by President Reagan 30 years ago.

DENISE VESTMAN, President of the Board

KELLIE CREAMER, Executive Director

Island Time Activities

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