Put Your Best Face Forward

As human service workers assisting people with disabilities in finding and maintaining employment, we are required to follow a dress code. One of the reasons for this is that we want to be taken seriously by prospective or familiar employers. The way we present ourselves may be the difference between a person gaining a new position, or having a door figuratively, “slammed in their face”. We are the stewards between work and the people we support and it is imperative that we look presentable when out in the community.

Another reason for dressing presentably is that we want to be positive role models for the people we serve. Because of the stigma related to disability we want the folks we work with to dress well so that they are seen in a positive light. A person wearing a mickey mouse shirt to a job interview will be less likely to land the position than a person who arrives wearing business or business casual clothing. It is part of our job to help the people we support recognize the difference.

If we take the time to put our best face forward when arriving at work, those we serve will be more likely to understand the importance of it. If we want to show people with disabilities in a positive light, it is necessary that we take care of ourselves first.


Jobs as Socially Valued Roles

When one meets a new person, there is invariably a dialogue about what each person “does”. Typically jobs are discussed, but in the case that one of the parties does not have a job perhaps a volunteer or a care-giving position are spoken about. When either of the people are lacking these socially valued roles there might be a standstill in the conversation. Perhaps there may even be a judgment made by the working party that the other person is lazy or un-motivated. More often than not, however, the person who does not work has a good reason for it.

When looking at the statistics regarding people with disabilities, it is plain to see that they are a population lacking in opportunities for work. Often times they are discriminated against due to their impairment and not seen for the whole person they truly are. Other times they are hired only for part-time or menial work because of their disability; yet another form of discrimination. I once heard a woman say that people with disabilities are hired for the three F’s: food, flowers, and filth. I would add to that bagging groceries and stocking shelves. Again, forms of discrimination. It’s almost as if employers can’t see past the disability to the unique individual standing in front of them. If they did, they might see that the person is capable of so much more than they are being given credit for.

Socially valued roles are an integral part of our society. People receive their sense of self worth in part because of the roles they play in the world. When one has a job they love it makes them feel better about themselves than if they were merely sitting on a couch twiddling their thumbs all day. Additionally, a person might be a student, a volunteer, or a care-giver and gain the same satisfaction from it. The difference between having a volunteer job and a paid job though, is not only the pay-check but the satisfaction of knowing that one is a contributing member of society; making money as well as paying taxes that help the country go ‘round .

Many roles may be considered socially valued, that of parent or child, mentor or mentee, musician or artist. None however compare to that of worker. It’s just how our country functions. People value one another based upon whether or not they are a contributing member of society. That is why it is imperative to make more jobs available to people with disabilities. Not only jobs, but jobs that fit the person. They are already part of the marginalized populations within our country and we need to make a change that will showcase people with disabilities as hard workers. Workers who are doing what they love and squashing stereotypes that they are unable to work.

Bridgid Preston

The Power of One

The Power of One……

It is less than a month to the national elections and voting, your opportunity to have an impact on what happens in this country.

It is also an opportunity to determine how your state government will be represented.

All of this is possible when you vote.

If you have never voted, there may still be time to register in your locality.

If you are registered but have not voted in the recent past, do you have a plan to get to the polls to vote this year?

For some individuals there is still time to contact your local voter registration office and obtain an absentee ballot.  This assists you in voting without having to go to the voting location.

National polls indicate that fewer individuals of voting age are registered to vote.  This can give groups with a specific interest to have a larger impact for something that may not be a benefit to the community as a whole.

The question of tax funded benefits has been an important topic of debate in this year’s pre election activities.  It is clear that some candidates are committed to reducing or minimizing the level of tax funded benefits received by a defined segment of the population.

Do you know what these cuts for tax funded benefits are?

Do you know which candidates are proposing these changes?

Do you know how this might affect you?

Is this an idea you support?

Are you going to vote on this and other questions?

You may feel as though your vote is so small it does not count.  If everyone who received the email about the right to freedom last March did nothing and did not send it on; in other words show support for the concept (a vote), the Arab Spring would not have happened.  The change that occurred in the Middle East would not have happened.

Each vote adds to the other votes and change happens.

How do you feel about this?


Second Annual NEBA Golf Tournament