INSPIRED IMPACT is an ongoing blog series that gives voice to mission-driven organizations and passionate leaders and entrepreneurs who are making an impact in their communities and industries.
Marcia Tewell is the E.D. of Colorado Developmental Disabilities Council. Learn more at coddc.org.
WHAT DO YOU DO?
The Colorado Developmental Disabilities Council works on developing policy and best practices to include individuals with disabilities who are traditionally excluded from daily life. Our change efforts focus on policy and grant-making toward innovation and creativity in including people in real life, so to speak. We do not support the segregation of anyone, for any reason. We currently work on employment issues, prevention of abuse, neglect, seclusion and restraint. We promote positive behavior supports and deescalation practices.
WHY DO YOU DO IT?
This is too long of a story for this format, however…It seems like the right thing to do and not many others seem to be doing it. It is hard work as well and never dull.
WHAT IMPACT ARE YOU MAKING?
We are slowly getting people to think twice as they accept segregation, be it in preschool or later in life with accepting segregated work in sheltered workshops or the myriad other settings that segregate people using public and private funds.
WHAT (OR WHO) INSPIRES YOU TO MAKE THIS IMPACT?
The people we meet on a daily basis are pretty convincing of the great joys of being included and part of real life and other stories or difficult lives stemming from isolation also inspire our work. Without the individual stories, we would have little passion.
WHAT’S YOUR BIG DREAM FOR THE ORGANIZATION AND THE IMPACT YOU WANT TO MAKE?
My biggest dream is that the stigma of not being beautiful and competitive and bright and wealthy and perfect would cease. There is a crack in everything, that is how the light gets in. That would truly be a beautiful world! We like social justice issues.
WHAT RESOURCES DO YOU NEED TO MAKE THOSE DREAMS COME TRUE?
We are 100% funded by a federal grant and we spend our time doing advocacy, thus released from attending galas and fundraising. We work with what we have – which is a coalition of advocates who believe in a similar mission.
WHAT IS (OR HAS BEEN) YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE?
The current practice of privatizing human services, education, and health care so that there is so little left for direct care workers or other essential costs. This should not be a big business, but it is in the U.S.
WHAT WORDS OF ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHER LEADERS LOOKING TO MAKE AN IMPACT?
Follow your personal passions, go find them, and follow the money as well!
HOW CAN OTHERS SUPPORT YOU OR YOUR CAUSE?
Start paying attention!
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