Thursday, May 30, 2013

Overcoming Able Bodied Bias

As some of you may know I am currently serving as the Sergeant-at-Arms for The Rotary Club of Bala Cynwyd – Narberth. This post is the first in a series regarding the diverse presentations made at my local Rotary club. Occasionally, I will also write posts about the club that I happen to be visiting as well as any events or training that I attend.

This week we welcomed Michael Kelly who serves as volunteer coordinator at the Inglis House in Philadelphia. Our club has a long standing relationship with Inglis and we are proud of the partnership which has continuously strengthened over the years. With that said, we greatly appreciated Michael taking the time to reintroduce us to the services that Inglis provides to those in need and the inspiration that their programs provide to both participants and the community in general.

Founded in 1877, Inglis House is a specialty nursing care facility providing long-term, residential care for 297 adults with physical disabilities, including multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injury and stroke, among others.  Residents receive rehabilitative medical and nursing care; physical, occupational and speech therapies; and a selection of more than 20 social enrichment and therapeutic recreation programs every day.

Inglis Community Based Services supports more than 800 people living independently in the community through resources including: accessible housing, care management (helping people navigate the health care system), a day program, an MS Evening program and community employment. Inglis is also the largest provider of affordable accessible housing in the Greater Philadelphia region with 208 housing units, and plans for 50 more units by 2015.

All Inglis services and programs are designed to enable people with physical disabilities to enjoy life with the greatest amount of independence and mobility.

It is important to note that Inglis provides services for people from all walks of life and with a wide variety and degree of disabilities all the while emphasizing and encouraging the amazing talents and abilities locked inside uncooperative bodies that are sometimes overlooked by the community.

I encourage you to consider donating your time, either on your own or through an organization such as Rotary, by assisting these amazing individuals in expressing the intelligence and passion that lies just beneath the surface. It will certainly change your perspective and make you appreciate the simple tasks that many of us take for granted. It might also lead you to question your own misconceptions and sever the connection between intelligence and physical ability. To set up an interview with Mike please feel free to call him directly at 215-581-0718. 

For those of you in the local Philadelphia area I welcome you to join us for lunch every Wednesday at 12:15 PM at Aldar Bistro located at 281 Montgomery Avenue in Bala Cynwyd. If you live outside the area or if the meeting time doesn’t work in your schedule I encourage you to find a local Rotary club and learn a little more about who we are and what we do.