Guest Post: Your Voice Matters!
By Sally Montgomery, Executive Director of Mosaic in Northern Colorado
This morning I took an Uber to work. I wasn’t expecting to discuss anything beyond the usual pleasantries – chilly morning, looking forward to fall, etc. My driver asked me about where I worked and we ended up talking about a young woman that she knows who has been on the services waiting list for eight years. She graduated from the school district’s transition program and now waits for an opportunity to be able to use the skills she has worked on to live the life she wants. She continues to hope for the day she can move in to her own place. She is not alone.
Colorado has approximately 2,900 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities waiting for services. This past year a bill was passed that will take 300 people off the waiting list and increase compensation for Direct Support Professionals. I am grateful for the collaborative work of so many groups and individuals to make this happen. Because people spoke up and let our legislators know the impact low funding and long waiting lists have on people with I/DD and their families, the bill met very little opposition – our voices mattered!
Even with our recent success we have more work to do. At Mosaic, we believe in giving a voice to those we serve. We ask them what they want their life to look like and support them to make it happen. We do that by reaching out and building partnerships in our communities. Many of the people we support are great self-advocates. The biggest joy I find in my work is seeing people connect with others. We use our voice to share our mission and advocate for people to have the opportunity to live a full life.
We invite you to join us. You can attend a Discover the Possibilities lunch to learn more about our mission or, if you want to be a part of our advocacy efforts, you can join Mosaic Allied Voices (MAV) at www.mosaicalliedvoices.org. MAV provides notification of issues being discussed by our lawmakers that will impact people with intellectual disabilities and gives you an easy way to contact your legislators. Our government officials look at how many contacts they get regarding a particular issue/legislation and prioritize from there.
Sometimes it seems like it is impossible to make a difference these days. The tough news stories never seem to stop. Mosaic’s CEO, Linda Timmons, often says “Mosaic is a good news story.” I couldn’t agree more! We need your help to make a positive difference – your voice matters to Mosaic!