My how far we have come! Let’s stop and take a moment to look back on our humble beginnings in 1967, supporting six developmentally disabled children with the aid of only two staff in the basement of a church. Moving swiftly into 2017, we have grown to now supporting over 200 adults in Charles County with developmental and intellectual disabilities alongside approximately 175 staff and active community members, such as you, who contribute time, skills, money, and efforts. With your help, we have expanded tremendously on a strong foundation that was established nearly 50 years ago, building bridges that close the gap of inequality by providing opportunities for brighter futures in our community. Can you believe since our start in 1967, the disabilities rights movement has brought about the protection of civil rights, provided equal opportunity for employment, equal access to public education, as well as public accommodations such as transportation? We have come a long way, but our work is not done! Now, on the verge of celebrating 50 years, we continue to advocate on behalf of people with disabilities to ensure these rights are protected.
As we embark on a New Year, we embrace Maryland’s Employment First plan, assuring all people supported, regardless of disability, are offered the opportunity to explore employment. In the process, we are adopting technology that will help enhance services making us a mobile organization that sees possibilities far beyond the walls of our physical location. We have made headway in 2016 by researching and implementing systems that will help us move towards a paperless organization. Have you signed up for our electronic mailings to stay informed? Additionally, we have expanded our employment partner list to include many local businesses who are committed to our mission; assisting people with disabilities in achieving their highest level of independence by providing support and employment opportunities for the quality of life they desire within their community.
As a result, this year alone our Supported Employment department has secured many employment placements and implemented a new Discovery Process to reveal skills and interests that could be an asset to particular businesses. In 2017, we are looking forward to expanding these possibilities to everyone supported by our programs. With you on our side, we know this is possible! Already we have seen an expansion of supports with the advancement of our auction. This year’s tremendous support has led to yet another record-breaking year, totaling over $60,000 raised to fund our community programs.
We hope you will be able to join us as we celebrate 50 years of accomplishments and share our future goals during events scheduled throughout 2017. Enclosed, you will find a calendar listing various occasions to observe how far we have come and celebrate our future. Don’t miss out on commemorating these achievements. If you are interested in gaining more information on upcoming events, visit springdellcenter.org. For everything you have done to help enhance Spring Dell’s programs, we thank you and hope you are ready for what our future will bring.