Mosaic is about CONNECTION.

I recently heard a story about a young man with a disability who works in a grocery store. During his work hours, there are people who will wait in that checkout line even if others are available because they have come to know him, not as a person with a disability, or even a grocery clerk, but as a friend. 

Wouldn’t it be great if that were the norm for all people with disabilities?  March is National Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. Our theme at Mosaic is about CONNECTION.

Connection is one of our four core values. It is about having relationships with others that are personal and life-giving. It is about encouraging and appreciating others. It is something we value for everyone associated with Mosaic – people served, donors and volunteers, our workforce, families and guardians.

In the last year, keeping those connections going for the people we support at Mosaic has been challenging, but our workforce and those they serve rose to the occasion. Working together, they found ways to do everything from exercise classes to a prom-like formal to a Christmas pageant to church and so much more in the virtual world. 

It was so good for my heart to hear stories of the many online events for people. More than a few times, I heard about how joyfully someone responded when they saw a friend online whom they hadn’t seen in awhile. Connecting with one another and building relationships is important for everyone. 

It also shows why National Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month is important to acknowledge. People who have disabilities want to be seen as people.

A disability is a part of who they are, but it does not define who they are anymore than one word defines who I am as a person.

I am a daughter, wife, mother, friend, CEO, churchgoer, voter, taxpayer, NASCAR fan, online shopper and more. All of those words could be used to describe different people we support. We have supported people who are married and have children, and we also support people who have started their own businesses, so the CEO title may not be formal, but it is appropriate.

When we make connections, we learn all those things about one another. Connections make us move past any labels and simply see a person – most often, a friend. 

As people we support have gotten their vaccinations, they are starting to venture out more often and I’m glad for that. This month, look for opportunities to connect with people who have disabilities. It may be a retail setting, or your church, or your gym, or any other place. You may find a new friend when you make a connection. 

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