Disability Awareness Day on July 14 is the world’s largest not-for-profit, voluntary-led observance that celebrates diversity and the contributions of people who are differently abled. The goal for this day is to encourage others to gain a better understanding of people with disabilities and promote inclusivity.
Disability inclusion is mentioned often, but what does it really mean?
It’s one thing to be aware of differences. It takes a conscious effort to understand and appreciate the paths that people of all abilities take to reach common goals. Disability inclusion takes away labels and opens minds to see the value of each unique individual.
Through services and meaningful programs that bring people who have intellectual and developmental disabilities together to encourage, inspire and learn from each other, the STARability Foundation is changing perceptions about the differently abled. There isn’t a day that goes by that STARability team members aren’t inspired by the individuals they serve as well as their co-workers who find innovative ways to adapt to their environments and accomplish what others told them was impossible.
STARability’s employment-centered program, Trailblazer Academy, has the distinction of being one of the only of its kind in Southwest Florida. Meaningful employment for people with disabilities allows them to feel good about their accomplishments, enjoy financial stability and contribute to local economies.
Disability inclusion begins with eliminating preconceived notions and taking active efforts to get to know the individuals who are differently abled in our community. It won’t take long to realize they are just as driven as anyone else to reach their goals and function at the highest level possible.