A Message From JOHN C. BRAUER, M.A. President and CEO – March 2023

National Disability Awareness Month!

Dear Friends and Supporters,

Every year during the month of March we join with so many others to recognize National Disabilities Awareness month in the hopes of raising awareness about individuals with developmental disabilities who engage in all facets of community life. As we celebrate our Members successes in finding homes, meaningful work, and other opportunities that enable them to reach their goals, we cannot forget the difficulties they continue to face through the very real challenge of living with a disability.

And so, through innovative specialty services such as College to Career and More and our Youth Navigation Center programs, New Horizons is working to help those with disabilities fit into the communities in which they live from the moment they start to express themselves and their deepest desires.

Both services touch on what comes next for those young individuals, as they enter into adult years in the hopes of giving them access to so much of what the world has to offer.

Poetically, Judi Heumann, known as the “mother of the disability rights movement,” passed away this month. She dedicated her life to changing the legal landscape for disabled Americans, doing so through organized protests and advocacy that took her all the way to the White House. And while disabled herself, she would often say that it wasn’t about treating everyone the same. It was about fairness and equity of access.

I couldn’t agree more. That’s why our newest programs have become such a focal point as we move into our 70th year of providing services and resources to those we serve. We’re intentional about following in the footsteps of Ms. Heumann to change the world and make it a more inclusive place. In her book “Being Heumann: An Unrepentant Memoir of a Disability Rights Activist,” she gave us the blueprint to do just that.  She shared that the first thing you need is a belief in yourself and the knowledge that you have rights. The next thing you need is a group of friends to fight back with.

To our Members and all those in the disabled community, New Horizons and our dedicated staff has always been that group of friends. May this National Disabilities Awareness Month be a celebration of all that we have accomplished, and reminder of all that still needs to be done.