March is National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, a time to celebrate the lives of the individuals we serve and renew our commitment to ensuring that they have the supports needed to live life to the fullest. This year, The Network is celebrating Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month by participating in community activities, honoring the caring Host Home providers who open their homes and lives, and raising awareness about the needs of individuals with disabilities in their local communities.
“Thanks to our committed staff, The MENTOR Network and its partners are helping individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities reach new heights in their communities. I am proud to see our staff devoting their time and passion to advocate for more inclusive communities and high-quality supports that enable the people we serve to reach their full potential,” said Bruce Nardella, The MENTOR Network’s President and Chief Executive Officer.
Among the events taking place this month, on March 10, REM Minnesota staff participated in a rally of providers, advocates and individuals served by REM at the state capitol in St. Paul. The rally supported the “5% campaign,” designed to educate legislators of the need for a 5% rate increase to enable higher quality service delivery for individuals with disabilities. REM Minnesota employees also wore orange ribbons during the month to show their support for the individuals they serve.
On March 14, Arizona MENTOR held a Recognition Day to honor the outstanding dedication of its Host Home providers, also known as Mentors. Nearly 200 staff, Mentors and individuals served were in attendance. The event took the form of a potluck dinner, with a performance by an individual served in the Host Home program and a cake walk.
On Saturday March 21, California MENTOR staff in San Diego participated in the National Foundation for Autism Research’s Race for Autism.
On Saturday, March 28, California MENTOR hosted an Autism Awareness Fest, a community event featuring food, fun activities and a resource fair. (For more information about this event, visit www.ca-mentor.com.)
Individuals in REM Iowa’s Marshalltown program are creating art projects to display at the program and in the community. By the end of the month, staff hope to have a piece of art by each individual served in Marshalltown on display and will encourage individuals who wish to submit their work to Hidden Talents: Celebrating Abilities Art Expo, an autism awareness event happening in April.
REM Minnesota, Arizona MENTOR, California MENTOR and REM Iowa are partners of The MENTOR Network.