Pency Engmawii grew up with 11 siblings in a small Burmese village where education was difficult to acquire without wealth. Education is also approached differently in her home country.
July 26 marks the 28th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a civil rights law that created protections for people with disabilities. The law comprehensively covers public accommodations, such as access to public buildings and government services, and also guarantees equal opportunity in the areas of employment, education, housing, even telecommunications and technology. People living with disabilities represent one of the largest minority populations in the U.S.
Goodwill is a longtime champion when it comes to inclusion for the nearly 50 million Americans — one out of five people — living with a disability. We advocate, create, and support opportunities both within and outside the walls of our own organization. Approximately 19% of Hoosiers experience some level of disability.
Here are some thoughts on the ADA from Betsy Delgado, Vice President of Mission and Education Initiatives:
What was life like for people living with disabilities before the ADA?
“The ADA really leveled the playing field. It afforded those with physical, intellectual or cognitive disabilities the opportunity to have fairer access to education, employment, housing, transportation and many other areas. The law is significant because all of those things make a difference in an individual’s ability to be independent — to have a productive and fulfilling life. The action word in Goodwill’s mission is ‘empowering.’ Through our many programs, including disability services, we create avenues for all people to lead independent lives and reach their highest potential. The ADA complements Goodwill’s mission across the organization.”
Brian Russelburg’s journey from a United States Post Office worker to Goodwill’s art appraiser wasn’t the most direct, but when it comes to your dream career, it’s better late than never.
At the age of 5, when most children are still mastering the art of doodling, Brian was drawing cartoon characters. At 10 years old, he became enthralled with a magazine his father gave him that was filled with iconic images from World War II and ended up building his own dark room for developing photos. His talents took him to the Herron School of Art in 1975, but his direction soon changed.
“The United States Postal Service offered me $11 an hour to come work for them, which was equivalent to $30 an hour today,” Brian said. “I was young and thinking about my future. It was an offer I couldn’t refuse.”
Nurse-Family Partnership mom Christina, 29, credits her pregnancy, the birth of her daughter Kalea and the help of Goodwill’s Nurse-Family Partnership as reasons why she’s not another statistic.
Cordarryl Gray, 29, enrolled at The Excel Center® Meadows in April 2017. He quickly proved that he was motivated to succeed.
Mental Health Matters
About one in seven women will experience some type of mood or anxiety disorder during pregnancy or through the first year postpartum. While depression and anxiety are common, pregnant and postpartum women can experience a myriad of mental health conditions, including panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder and, in rare cases, psychosis.