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A Word from the President
January 22, 2014
Providing Services for a Lifetime
Over the years, we have come to understand that intellectual disabilities, autism, and mental illness are an inherent part of the human experience. As Keystone Human Services has become a greater resource for our community, it is increasingly common for people to share their personal experience of a son, daughter, grandchild, or other relative who has autism, some form of developmental disability, or is experiencing serious mental illness.
These are life changing conditions, and the question that haunts many family members of a person with a serious disability is “Will my son or daughter be safe when I am no longer here?”
Too often, the solution has been to put people with disabilities away in institutions, where they were segregated from the rest of the community and frequently mistreated. Now the United States and the rest of the world are closing institutions and working to provide home- and community-based services, where people with disabilities are valued and participating members of the community.
Keystone plays an important part in providing support structures that are effective in organizing resources and ensuring effective treatment and services within the community. We have come to understand that, for many people, we must have a “life span” perspective for persons with severe disabilities. This far-reaching vision requires support systems that have a promise of enduring for a lifetime.
Over the past year, Keystone has been supported by $150,000,000 in resources in addition to over 3,000 dedicated staff members who provide the hands and hearts essential to our work. When appropriate treatment is accompanied by adequate resources, the results can be transformational.
Over one thousand children are getting a head start in their education and in life. People with disabilities are finding fulfilling, competitive employment. Adults experiencing a mental illness are continuing on their journey to recovery. Over two hundred people are gaining independence with their service dog. And many other people with disabilities are living in their own homes and building meaningful lives in their communities.
As we move into 2014, we must continue to ask ourselves some of the most important questions for our society: What is the role of persons with a serious disability? What is our obligation to each other? What kind of society do we want to create?
Through the years, we have made wonderful progress. However, we ask that everyone who shares this passion for the more vulnerable members of our community consider deepening your commitment in the areas of volunteering, leadership, financial support, and advocacy. Your personal engagement and advocacy is essential to our movement.