We hear about it a lot these days – Competition for gainful employment is fierce. Our country’s unemployment figure is steadfastly high at 7%+. What is more disturbing though is the rapidly growing number of people who are not working due to “disability”. This number has swelled considerably these past years.

In my birthday blog, I confide that, often at family gatherings, I wonder what our life might be if Lauren were alive and with us today? At age 26, she would have completed schooling. Then what? What future does life offer for handicapped citizens? It is worrisome for aging parents with whom they often live. There are numerous uneasy questions about: learning life skills; work capabilities; transportation; independent living; etc.

What can people with Downs Syndrome, like Lauren, expect to achieve? It’s hard to say because Down Syndrome is not a one size fits all. As with all individuals, there is a wide range of intelligence levels and skills. Suffice to say that they want to work and be productive.

There is help out there though for challenged individuals who want to find work. I’ve become involved with a wonderful non-profit called Gateway Employment Resources.

Gateway’s mission is to provide placement, training, performance monitoring, and ongoing support to enable people with disabilities to secure employment, as well as to educate the business community regarding the potential of such individuals.

I wanted to let you know about a fun Basket Bingo event that Gateway is hosting on Friday May 17th 6PM @ Limerick Fire House. A $20 donation buys you 20 games of bingo. There will be: wonderful raffle prizes (Vera Bradley and Coach bags) for chance wins, food and beverages to buy. I invite you to join me there for a Girls Night Out.

They are looking for program book sponsors and donations for their raffle prizes if you simply want to donate. Please click on their link here for more info about this fun event.

Below you will find a link to a video clip that I love to watch. It is called “Johnny the Bagger”. It’s just a few minutes long and I guarantee that you will find it worth your time. It relates an inspiring story of what Gateway can do to change lives of those with and without disabilities. Please watch. You’ll find yourself smiling.