What do you remember from the year 1990? Maybe it’s the reunification of Germany, the end of apartheid in South Africa, or the discovery of “Sue” the massive Tyrannosaurus in South Dakota? I recall all of these things, but the memory that is most vivid in my mind is when President George H.W. Bush signed the American’s With Disabilities Act (ADA) on July 26, 1990.
This was one of the most important and wide-reaching pieces of civil rights legislation in recent U.S. History. Modeled after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the ADA was meant to ensure equal opportunity for all citizens and prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including accommodations, employment, schools, transportation, state/local government services and telecommunications. For many, the ADA was life-changing and created an opportunity for greater independence, full inclusion, and participation in the communities in which they live.
Much has been achieved during the past thirty years, yet work remains to accomplish not just the letter of the law, but the enduring spirit contained in it. United Rehabilitation Services (URS) incorporated language in our Vision Statement that we feel embodies this spirit. It is our mission to “enhance the quality of life for children and adults with disabilities or other special needs”. To achieve our shared vision with the ADA, we strive to support those we serve and their families, but also empower them to advocate for their unique and personal needs and issues. We feel very strongly, especially now, that the rights and interests of people with disabilities must be protected and foremost in our thoughts.
Beyond what URS’ dedicated team of teachers, therapists and program staff does to deliver 5-Star rated Early Childhood Education & School-Age Programs, specialized Therapy Services, and Adult Day Programs to children and adults with special needs, we reach out to legislators and the community at large to raise awareness for the needs and challenges this population faces each and everyday.
During the current pandemic, this is even more important and why we are sharing our message and ask you to join us in celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act! We recently created this new video to provide a virtual tour and an update on what’s happening at URS during this difficult time. I hope you will take a few minutes to watch and listen in to learn more about what URS is doing to support hundreds of children and adults with disabilities in your community so they can lead productive and meaningful lives.