Volunteers are the heart and soul of non-profits like PGHI. Without your volunteer help, we cannot accomplish our mission nor achieve our goal of making a difference in the lives of the disabled.
Interested in Becoming a Board Member?
Volunteering your time and serving as a Board Member on a non-profit can be a way to “give back” to your community. It will also allow you to share your expertise, knowledge and experience with us, and together we will make a difference. Board Members can come from any facets of life but should have a passion to serve the disabled. Experience in disability rights, accounting, finance, management and law is very helpful as we can collectively organize and plan strategies that will help PGHI realize its mission and accomplish its goals.
Your advocacy for people with disabilities will help ensure that millions of disabled Americans will have the services and supports they need to grow, develop and live in communities across the nation. Please get involved to ensure that these individuals are afforded the same rights as every other citizen of our great nation.
People with disabilities have the right to be fully and openly included and accommodated in all facets of society ranging from education to employment to the physical environment around them. Instead of seeing a person’s impairment as a problem that needs to be addressed or felt bad about, value their unique skills and the perspective they bring to society at large. The focus should not be on trying to overcome the disability simply to be “normal.” Instead advocate for acceptance and accommodation of our differences so that both the disabled and able-bodied
Accessibility means that the physical environment, information and services should be readily accessible to all regardless of whether they have a disability or not. We can advocate for physical accessibility by ensuring that the disabled can easily get around in their communities and beyond. We can advocate for access to information by ensuring that information is readily disseminated to all regardless of their impairment. These efforts can include the use of sign language, large print, Braille for the visually challenged; and easy reading formats for those with learning disabilities. Please advocate for a shift in the way disability is viewed by society. Social and personal accessibility will ensure that the disabled have confidence and believe that they have something valuable to offer society.
Your advocacy for our Veterans who have selflessly served our nation will ensure that millions of them with disabilities will enjoy the benefits and services that the rest of us take for granted. Veterans experience high rates of unemployment, chronic pain syndromes, myriad disabilities, homelessness and neglect. We owe a debt of gratitude to our disabled veterans. Please ensure that they and their families are entitled to employment opportunities, quality health care, vocational training, education and community support.
- Write to your Congressman/Senator about issues that concern you about the rights and needs of the disabled.
- Learn about the latest decisions made by the Federal Government at www.disability.gov
- Learn about the disability benefits and services available to our veterans at www.va.gov
- Learn about local, state, and federal advocacy for people with developmentally disabilities at www.thearc.org
Abuse and Violence Prevention
People with disabilities are susceptible to abuse ranging from neglect to physical abuse or in some cases sexual abuse. We have the obligation to stand up against these horrendous acts against those who are the most vulnerable. To learn more about the victim/offender and abuse issues please click on the following links from The Arc.
- Abuse of Children with Intellectual Disabilities: http://www.thearc.org/page.aspx?pid=2452
- People with Intellectual Deficiencies and Sexual Offences: http://www.thearc.org/page.aspx?pid=2456
- People with Intellectual Deficiencies and the Criminal Justice System: http://www.thearc.org/page.aspx?pid=2458
- Sexual Violence against People with Intellectual Disabilities: http://www.thearc.org/page.aspx?pid=2457
Developmental disabilities include but are not limited to physical, cognitive, psychological, sensory, and speech impairments that can begin anytime during development up to 18 years of age. The cause for these disabilities is not known in a majority of instances. People with developmental disabilities have special needs; however, their basic needs are the same as everyone else’s. They need to have a home; a place to work where they can be productive, contribute and learn useful skills; and they need to develop and sustain relationships with people they care about and who care about them.
People with developmental disabilities who live in communities make excellent neighbors. Their homes are well-maintained. They keep busy during the day. Young children attend special services; school-aged youngsters go to school and many adults are either employed or in vocational services to prepare for jobs. Others may be enrolled at day centers away from home where they learn to use public transportation, manage money, take care of themselves, and communicate.
People with disabilities have skills that can benefit several types of businesses. They just need an opportunity to practice their skills in a work environment. Many people with developmental disabilities can obtain and retain jobs, though some need more support than others. In some organizations that are geared to assist the disabled, trained staff members provide this support. Most states have a variety of vocational training and employment services. Gainfully employed individuals with disabilities enjoy their jobs and the social interaction of the workplace. While they can be employed in a volunteer position, they love being paid for their work, because it proves that they are productive citizens.
We all need friends. Most of us learned that when we were children and interacted with others at school playgrounds during recess and in parks during after-school activities. Even as adults, we enjoy getting together with our friends and families. People with developmental disabilities need companionship too. Although laws exist on books that may guarantee them “social interaction, participation in community affairs, and freedom from isolation,” it does not guarantee friendship. People with developmental disabilities are hurt by social isolation even more than we may be, because they often experience it daily.
We all have a responsibility to be good neighbors, co-workers and friends to those with disabilities!
- Never ignore someone who is disabled! It is okay to offer help, but don’t just do it. Ask first. Or wait for them to ask you for your help.
- Do not pretend that the person is not there! It is okay to ask them about their disabilities and it is equally fine for them not to want to talk about it.
- Introduce yourself; find a common subject to discuss! Treat the person the way you like to be treated and you’ll have a friend for life.
- Never park your vehicles in places reserved for people with disabilities! Don’t sit in seats reserved for the disabled! Offer your seats if no reserved seats are available for the disabled.
- Children should invite friends with disabilities to sleep-overs, come to their house to play, or to birthday parties! Ensure that they can be included in the things that the rest of your friends do.
- Visit an organization in your community that provides services to people with developmental disabilities and ask how you can help. Serve on their board, work on special events, or spend time helping in any capacity you can.