Forging A Path Forward

May 14, 2020

Social isolation is hard on everyone’s mental health, but it can be especially stressful for people with developmental disabilities. People supported by LADD are used to engaging in the community, attending classes, playing in sport leagues and working at local businesses. Now, broken routines, upsetting news reports and little contact with roommates and friends compound COVID-19 anxieties.

When LADD’s volunteer leadership heard about this issue, they stepped up to ensure people with developmental disabilities know there are people who care for them and want to offer support. The well-being bundle challenge launched organically.

Kim Vincent, a LADD board member, rallied her friends to raise funds for supplies to keep LADD residents engaged and active at home.

“I couldn’t believe the response,” Vincent said. “In 24 hours, I raised $400 on Facebook and another $1000 check was dropped off.” 

With the funds, she was able to drop off a car full of puzzles, games and crafting supplies.

In the meantime, Terri Hogan, who has an adult son with a developmental disability and is also on LADD’s board, saw how challenging and confusing this time was for people with developmental disabilities. She also started purchasing supplies and accepting donations from neighbors. 

“I realized there were thousands of people in our community just like my son who are out of their routine and not understanding this new normal,” Hogan said. “I purchased a ton of stuff I thought would bring people joy and keep them busy. Then invited my neighbors to drop off things they thought people might love. The whole thing just took off naturally.” 

Funds donated so far have been used primarily at Joseph-Beth Booksellers, which opened their doors to allow LADD to shop privately.

“LADD is and will always be about community,” said LADD CEO Susan Brownknight. “We are trying to use donated funds to purchase items at our local shops because they need us now more than ever. Disability has and will always be a great uniter. Now is no different. Just because our folks aren’t currently visible doesn’t mean their presence can’t still be felt with efforts like this.”

Photo of Kim Vincent standing beside her car full of Joseph-Beth Booksellers shopping bags.
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