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Disability Employment Awareness MonthOctober 20, 2014

Hello DHS,

I don’t normally make suggestions like this, but if you’re looking for a good book to read and share, I can highly recommend Rules by Cynthia Lord. It’s a quick read that you’ll find in the children’s section. It’s written for young readers (grades 4-6), and it is a beautiful story about Catherine, a twelve-year old girl who has a brother, David, who has autism. At one point in the story, David asks Catherine to make a wish on some stars and Catherine –acknowledging her wish as a long shot says, “I wish everyone had the same chances...Because it stinks a big one that they don’t.” When you read the book, you’ll be hard pressed not to cry at this point (and then you’ll laugh – when you read David’s wish).

Even if you never read the book, Catherine’s wish should resonate as one of the primary reasons we do what we do: to give more Oregonians the chance to reach their full potential. October is Disability Employment Awareness Month, and it is a great opportunity to recognize the importance of giving people with disabilities – including people with intellectual and developmental disabilities -- the same chances everyone else has to work in an integrated job in their community.

To build awareness and inspire action in celebration of Disability Employment Awareness Month, the Employment First Team will be sharing employment success stories involving local Oregon community efforts to improve employment outcomes. You can read those stories on the Employment First website.

There was also a great video done earlier this year by Oregon Council of Developmental Disabilities. It’s called “Expect me to succeed, I Will,”. Focusing on expectations and outcomes, this video has great information and will also inspire you to “press on” on those tough days when the work is hard.

Because not everyone has the same chances in this life, our work is hard – but that’s ultimately why we are here. Thank you for all you are doing to give more of the same chances to the Oregonians we serve. In the small and big efforts that you make, you make a difference.

Have a great week!


Director's Messages:  2013, 2012, 2011