Happy National Disability Employment Awareness Month! In October we celebrate the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities. The theme for this year-which marks 70 years since the first observance is “My Disability is One Part of Who I Am.” We strongly believe this ideal at Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation. We believe that we should never identify someone by their disability but by their personality, strengths, and unique characteristics. We believe that it is extremely important for all people to have the right to employment where they can be successful.
The Roundabout Playback Troupe which is an inclusive troupe of actors with and without disabilities had a performance on October 3rd which brought the community together to discuss the importance of employment for all. Playback is a form of theatre where audience members supply emotions, words, stories to a troupe, and then the ensemble performs it on the spot.
A troupe member said to the audience, “Happy National Disability Employment Awareness Month! If you believe that all people should have the right to employment, give me a holler!” The whole room filled with cheers and shouts to support this cause. The troupe member then asked what makes you a valuable employee, audience members answered with words including, honesty, loyalty, flexibility, and patience. The troupe performed these statements using musical instruments, dance scarves as costumes, and movement to really embody these thoughts.
One of the most beautiful moments was when a troupe member asked, “Why should all people have right to employment?” The grandmother of one of the actors said, “The right to dignity.” She then got to see her granddaughter who has a disability stand-up and say while pointing her finger strongly, “I have the right.” You could hear the silence in the room fill in the room as the troupe embodied this thought beautifully.
The performance was a vessel for the community to express ideas and really contemplate the meaning of inclusion.
I chatted with several of our wonderful employees who disabilities and asked them why they love working at Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation.
Patrick: Patrick is a hard working employee who loves teasing his co-workers, making connections with our guests, and folding towels in the Fitness Center. He told me his most favorite part of his job is folding towels and getting to know his co-workers. Patrick has been a part of our team for many years and we have seen him grow into a valuable employee!
Megan: Megan works at the Fitness Center desk, and she greets each guest with a large smile and hello. Her diligence in cleaning each machine is amazing. She completes each task with a grin. She has been with us since it the Monon Community Center opened its doors in 2007, and she wants to stay with us until she retires. We are very lucky to have such a loyal and kind employee.
Dan: Dan has been working with us at the Monon Community Center for a little less than a year. He has dreamed of working with us for almost four years. He feels at home here, and he is very efficient with his job of folding towels, cleaning machines, and getting dirty towels from around the building. We are thrilled to have Dan because he is flexible, diligent, and always cheerful.
Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation welcomes all ages and abilities, and we are lucky to have such a diverse group of hardworking employees.