Princeton’s Gateway Services is excited to celebrate Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. The month or March was originally designated by former President Ronald Reagan in 1987.
“I invite all individuals, agencies, and organizations concerned with the problem of developmental disabilities to observe this month with appropriate observances and activities directed toward increasing public awareness of the needs and the potential of Americans with developmental disabilities,” Reagan proclaimed. “I urge all Americans to join me in giving our fellow citizens with such disabilities both encouragement and the opportunity they need to lead productive lives and to achieve their full potential.”
Gateway Services stated that the month of March is a chance to raise awareness about inclusion in all aspects of community life and the barriers that people with disabilities sometimes still face.
The theme this year, ‘Worlds Imagined’, focuses on how the world is changing as we all move through and beyond the pandemic.
“As we all look forward to a ‘new normal,’ we are excited about so many opportunities for people including new jobs, new friends, more family time and more time out and about doing the things they love,” said Gateway Services CEO Tracy Wright.
Wright stated that navigating through the pandemic in their field has been a true collective effort by all involved in the organization.
“We would not have weathered this pandemic without the dedication and hard work of all employees,” noted Wright. “Administrative staff kept up with business as usual, despite everything changing sometimes daily. The janitorial crew kept our buildings and contract sites clean and thoroughly sanitized. Drivers safely transported riders throughout the community and sanitized buses multiple times each day.”
Wright also thanked those who work directly with those individuals with developmental disabilities on a daily basis.
“Direct Support Professionals came together and rose to the challenge of providing essential support services for individuals, keeping everyone safe and healthy,” Wright said. “Counselors guided individuals through these uncertain times. Nurses regularly assessed the health of individuals and provided guidance to staff. The management team ensured the needs of all programs were met. Thank you for being there. You made a difference.”
Gateway Services celebrated their staff recently in appreciation of their efforts, tying it in with their birthday party.
The organization has been providing services to the community for 52 years.
“The management team planned a day to celebrate DD Awareness Month and Gateway’s birthday, and it was a huge success,” Wright said. “It seemed fitting to give gifts to all employees as a small token of our ongoing appreciation of their hard work and dedication.”
Plans are also underway for the day program sites to celebrate the month along with the goals and dreams their clients have achieved.
Gateway Services, Inc. opened in March 1970 and continues to provide a variety of services in Bureau, Marshall, and Putnam Counties. Additional information can be found at www.gateway-services.org or on their Facebook page.