March 28 was Disability Day at the Capitol – and what a day it was!  It was a heartwarming experience to see such a huge gathering of people from all around the state sharing a mutual goal.

Riding in the van to St. Paul that day with our participants and staff was an honor for me.  We talked about activities in our day, our interests (both at ProAct and in our spare time), and what they would like to do in the future. We laughed and shared fun stories, and also talked about concerns and how we can make ProAct an even stronger organization. When we arrived at the Capitol, we climbed the MANY steps – huffing and puffing and marveled at the beauty of the building.

At the Capitol, we stood together in passion, excitement, belief, and for a common cause – to recognize the need to support those with disabilities. There were banners and signs on all three floors surrounding the rotunda, all championing our shared cause. And while there were many names and organizations I recognized, many were new to me too! There were speakers from provider organizations, the legislature – on both sides of the aisle, and from the governor and lieutenant governor as well.  It was moving to participate and join in the chant of “Invest in Us” – we were loud!

“Invest in us” was directed toward the need for more Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) and to ensure they are fairly compensated for the critical work that they do. ProAct has invested in our DSPs, and I hope they know how truly appreciated they are. They are the backbone of our programs. Their belief in our mission and commitment to providing excellent quality of service to our participants is what we all strive for.

Disability Day at the Capitol might be one day a year, coming together for a single cause, but carrying out the mission is something we do each and every day at ProAct.

It was a wonderful day – participants were glad they went and so was I!

– Judie Foster-Lupkin, President & CEO