March is Developmental Disability Awareness Month

March 1, 2023

Lt. James Coleman with Danny Bain

March is Developmental Disability Awareness Month

Mental Health Matters is a presentation of West Michigan Community Mental Health in partnership with Mason County Press and Oceana County Press.

By: Lori Schummer, Director of Public Relations and Customer Services at WMCMH

March is Developmental Disability Awareness Month. A “developmental disability” can be categorized as any disability that requires treatment for disorders such as autism, cerebral palsy, Prader-Willi syndrome, epilepsy, or related disorders. It also includes intellectual disabilities and those caused by injuries to the brain.

Individuals with developmental or intellectual disabilities deserve to live meaningful lives in our community, and it is our goal to facilitate this to the best of our ability. We aim to enhance independence, self-sufficiency, and productivity and support and encourage community inclusion. 

Part of that happens through work at our WMCMH gathering sites. At Dimensions, Integrations and Progressions job training and coaching are some of the services that occur. West Michigan CMH works to integrate consumers into the community to learn the skills that they need to live as independently as possible. At WMCMH we know that individuals with developmental or intellectual disabilities live meaningful lives in our community, and it’s our goal to facilitate this to the best of our ability. WMCMH supports independence, self-sufficiency, and productivity and encourages community inclusion. 

One of many success stories is Lt. James Coleman at the Michigan State Police Post in Oceana County who was in need of a janitorial service at the post. That is when he remembered the work his friend Carla Shay, community employment living support specialist coordinator did at WMCMH. Jim reached out to Carla and asked if she knew of anybody who would be able to fulfill the janitor role at the Michigan State Police post. She did. Carla and Lt. Coleman then set up an interview with Danny Bain, who eagerly submitted his resume. Danny came to the post for the interview and the rest is history. 

“Danny gets along great with the staff here at the post, he has a fun and pleasant demeanor, and he is an extremely hard worker who is determined to do a good job each day he is here,” Carla said. 

Lt. Coleman said he has had experience working with people who have Autism and reported that “I see the value in giving someone an opportunity who may not be considered otherwise. It is a win/win for all.” Danny shared “It feels good to have a nice routine job and help out the community like this.”

Other employment sites include Meijer of Ludington, Magic Touch Cleaners, HGA (Autism Center), Baldwin Area Schools, Yada Yada Resale Store in Amber Township, The Inn of Ludington, Ludington Bay Brewery, Goodwill Industries in Amber Township, McDonald’s Restaurant, Lundquist’s Furniture, Lamplighter Inn, Yates, Club 37, Kristi’s Pour House in Hart, and Spartan West Bowling Alley in Amber Township.

Volunteer sites include Hart Area Public Library, Yada Yada Resale Store, Lakeshore Food Club in Ludington, Mason County Animal Control, Mason County District Library, Ludington Petunia Parade, Community Gardens, Cup of Kindness, The Ladder Community Center in Shelby, and Love Inc. 

If you are interested in becoming an employment or volunteer site, please reach out to Carla Shay at 231-843-7380. 

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