DD Awareness Day, Lauren

Developmental Disabilities Awareness Day

Each year in March, National Disability Awareness month is celebrated. This year’s theme is “Side by Side”. This theme was continued at the Developmental Disabilities Awareness Day, where they also added, “Hand in Hand” and “Heart to Heart”. People with and without disabilities working, going to school, playing and participating in their communities together.

On March 8, hundreds of advocates people gathered at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus to advocate policy issues that impact the lives of people with developmental disabilities. Attendees met with policymakers to educate them about how state government services and policies can be improved, expanded or strengthened.

Our LEND trainees traveled to Columbus to attend this event and put the knowledge they’ve been learning into action. Here’s what they had to say about the event.

Lauren: As I looked around the room, I was excited about the opportunity that we as LEND trainees and those with disabilities have to speak to our elected officials and express concerns about relevant issues. In that moment, I became extremely proud to be involved in this work. Each aide was taking notes and engaged in our meeting. I appreciated them taking the time to meet with us. I was surprised when one of the aides shared that he has a family friend with a disability and was not aware of these legislative issues. Through this experience, I learned that I have a voice, someone will listen to it and that in the future I would better be able to use my voice in a one-on-one setting.