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We've been working with the Disability Network  West Michigan for a while now.  Located in Muskegon, the Disability Network West Michigan is an awesome organization who's mission is to advocate, educate, empower and provide resources for people with disabilities.  The are also out front when it comes to promoting accessible communities and assuring that accessibility is an accepted civil right.  They are an organization that you might not hear a lot about unless you are in direct need of their help, but for so many who might live with a disability, they are a resource that goes so far beyond what's easily seen, they are a friend, they are fighters and they are a source for compassion and acceptance.  

 

Their work includes access for all.  Helping make sure buildings, parks, benches and more are able to be used by everybody.  Employment.  Hiring and sustaining people with a disability in the workforce.  ADA compliance. The Americans With Disabilities Act is a huge piece of legislation and even though it's been years since it passed, not every place has adapted.  Disability Network also help people understand disability awareness and inclusion training.  We're not all experts when it comes to understanding the challenges life presents to others when there's a disability...there's really no shame in the lack of understanding, but to work toward a better understanding is where Disability Network really shines.  They help take away the scary parts of what's different, and make everything human. disability network logoFollow Disability Network on Facebook

Today, with everything we face, people in the disabled community face a few more challenges.  Increased isolation.  Maybe an increased fear of using necessary things like public transportation.  Common problems like lay off's from work and just the over all uncertainty.  It all adds up on everyone and it could have a heavier toll on those who are already in an uphill battle due to a disability.  Disability Network has continued to go full steam ahead.  They have implemented outreach through digital means.  Welcome to the age of Zoom meetings.  They have also done things like hosting a group watch party of a great documentary on Netflix called "Crip Camp" highlighting a group of teenagers who went to a camp in the 60's and then went on to establish the ADA act.  Sure, the togetherness and all are great, but the one on one contact and the checking up on their people for needs, personal, medical and over all is where Disability Network is really showing their dedication and those who they assist are very fortunate.  

Diane Fleser is the CEO of Disability Network West Michigan and we sat down for a talk about their agency, their work and how we can all help those we know with a disability today.  Take a listen to the conversation.

 

It's about equality. It's about inclusion and it's about making sure that there is an understanding that we're all more the same than we are different.  We all want the ability to live independently.  We all want to contribute to life and society and know that what we did mattered.  Disability Network is unique in their approach to all.  Helping those without disabilities understand with a more accepting perspective and helping those with disabilities get the simple equality we all want.  To learn more about Disability Network West Michigan, click on the image below to visit their site.  They are an amazing group of people we have right here in Muskegon and we're better for it.

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