I am a husband, father, son, brother, uncle and friend. I believe in sharing my talents and experiences by giving back to the community by giving my time to coaching, church and especially to the disability community. I truly believe that all men and women are created equally.
Governor Scott Walker has declared February “Better Together” month in recognition of the contributions people with disabilities bring to Wisconsin communities.
In honor of the month, The Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities announces its “Better Together: Sharing Stories, Sharing Lives” public awareness effort to share the positive impacts Wisconsin residents have had on their neighbors, workplaces, schools, and communities.
Governor Walker, who in his recent State of the State address encouraged Wisconsin businesses to “support employment opportunities for people with disabilities,” issued the proclamation that says the State of Wisconsin is proud to recognize the contributions people with disabilities make to Wisconsin’s businesses, communities, commerce, schools, families, and as contributing citizens.
Hundreds of personal stories have been shared during the campaign, celebrating the many ways ordinary people come together to support one another across their personal and professional lives. “I think many people in our communities still see what people can’t do; see their deficits,” shared Angie of Wausau, Wisconsin. “But it takes getting to know people with disabilities on a personal level to really understand their strengths.” Twin sisters Laura and Melissa, of Sheboygan, WI, encourage others growing up with disabilities to “…find someone to talk to; find someone to share your life with. Living with a disability can be difficult, but like anything, it is more difficult when you’re alone.” Laurie of Almond, WI says in her story, “Mary has led an extraordinary life. She continues to beat the odds. She’s an inspiration to me on so many levels. She’s taught me to be a better person, how to forgive others and how to keep pushing on, no matter what obstacles life throws you.”
“People with disabilities still face many obstacles to success in many Wisconsin communities,” said Beth Swedeen, BPDD Executive Director. “These barriers can be overcome when policy-makers, professionals, friends and neighbors get to know and welcome people with disabilities and their families as valued members of the community. The Better Together effort uses stories and videos that share personal stories of the many ways people of all abilities in Wisconsin benefit and are “better together” when people with and without disabilities get to know each other.”
To be a part of Better Together month, people across Wisconsin are invited to reach out to people with disabilities in their communities, share a personal story on the Better Together website, http://www.bettertogether.wi-bpdd.org, or contact the BPDD to learn more. Schools, civic, chamber, and other groups are encouraged to use the stories, videos and memes on the website to promote discussions around inclusivity, integration and community connectedness.
Storytellers across Wisconsin may still participate in Better Together. People living with a developmental disability - or who have a family member, friend, coworker or other acquaintance with a developmental disability - can visit the Better Together website, http://www.bettertogether.wi-bpdd.org, or the BPDD’s Facebook page to share their story and learn more. Stories should be short personal accounts of about a page or less relating their experience of a life touched by disability. Storytellers have until March 31st to share their story.
The Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities was established to advocate on behalf of individuals with developmental disabilities, foster welcoming and inclusive communities, and improve the disability service system. The Board's mission is to help people with developmental disabilities become independent, productive, and included in all facets of community life. The Board promotes the full inclusion of people with developmental disabilities in their communities and is dedicated to improving the independence, productivity and integration of people with developmental disabilities.