As many of you may know, March has been designated as Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month by The National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD), the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) and the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN). The goal for this month is to create awareness about developmental disabilities, tell stories of people who live with a disability and show their lives. As with all the other “awareness months” throughout the year, it gives us an opportunity to reach out to friends, family, and most importantly, to the members of our communities who are not aware of the realities of people living with a developmental disability. The theme for this year’s event is “Side By Side,” highlighting the integration and inclusion of people living with DD in the broader community. The host organizations are focused on Education, Employment, and Community Living.
Our extended FACT family knows that these three areas have been the foundational focus of our programs since the beginning, and they have even increased in prominence in the last couple of years. FACT is expanding in all areas, with particular emphasis on competitive integrated employment. We are also increasing our programming in the San Fernando Valley, where there is a great deal of need and our waiting lists are growing.
WE KNOW WE MUST DO MORE, and so we turn to our broad family of support to help us make that happen. Many of our programs have reimbursement rates that do not cover the cost of the programs, and some services are not compensated at all. And, no funded service covers all the infrastructure necessary to continue to offer services according to need.
At this time in history, with tumultuous changes happening at the State and Federal levels, we turn to our friends to enable us to keep true to our mission. As a nonprofit we do what is needed without regard to individual or third-party compensation. Now more than ever, with all the changes in funding streams and service designs, coupled with the increasing diagnoses of autism spectrum disorders and other mental and developmental disabilities among people of all ages (particularly people of color), we must be able to step up to the changing needs. Our ability to grow and serve is dependent on our ability to create connections between generous donors and deserving clients. With friends like you, we are confident we can do it. Please dig deep, and also connect us with supportive businesses and organizations you may know. Heck, there are even ways to help that give you discounts for your everyday shopping, while supporting FACT.
AND, on a special note….
In early February, our wonderful West LA Adult Program staff, in collaboration with The Strindberg Laboratory and West LA College presented Our Voices Our Stories at the WLAC Black Box Theatre. This performance was the culmination of a semester-long project with the three partnering agencies and a dozen of our clients to create a heartfelt and moving collection of “auto-dramas” that shared the stories in impactful and compelling ways. Our congrats to all who participated, attended and supported this wonderful event. Special thanks to the LA County Board of Supervisors through the LA Arts Commission who granted partial funding for the project.
With thanks and best wishes,