Today was the potluck at Disability Partners, a Center for Independent Living. In 1978, Congress authorized the Independent Living program to ensure that those living with a disability receive services to remain independent within their communities. Disability Partners provides people living with disabilities (PLD) with donated computers, computer repairs, help with housing searches, and classes on such subjects as self-esteem, gardening, and social media.
Kiel Baumbach is the independent living specialist at the center. His job is to help PLD live as independently as possible in their community by connecting them with resources like wheelchairs or ASL interpreters. Like all the employees at Disability Partners, he is also living with a disability. And who better to understand you struggle than another PLD?
People living with disabilities are very often isolated, which can lead to depression and very low self-worth. To help address this problem, Disability Partners hosts a potluck once a month where PLD can enjoy a good meal and conversation while also learning about issues like fair housing. Although I personally have a pretty active social life, I love to attend these potlucks when I can. It was so nice to talk to Kiel and bond over bumping into things with our power chairs and leaving holes all over the house. These are the kinds of moments that bring a smile to your face and make you feel great to be alive. In the end, we all need to connect with our community to learn, talk, and laugh together.