July is a time to celebrate the history and the future of a community of people who shatter stigmas with their societal contributions. While we celebrated the 32nd anniversary of the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) this month, there are still many innovations to be made, legislation to be passed, and communities to grow to keep improving the lives of those within the disability community.
Let’s Talk Autonomous Driving continues to support this cause as we leverage platforms to lift the voices, experiences, and perspectives of people with disabilities. Here are a few of our partners, their missions, and their stories.
Best Buddies Arizona
What They Stand For: Best Buddies Arizona is built on the dedication and enthusiasm of their four mission pillars; one-to-one Friendships, integrated employment, leadership development, and inclusive living for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. They have a dynamic team who takes pride in giving the gifts of friendship, jobs, education, and community.
In Their Own Words: “What brings me pride with my disability is that having cerebral palsy hasn’t stopped me from learning to play the piano with my right hand. Not many people can play piano with one hand, let alone two. On top of this, I discovered my ability to play music by ear.” - Kayla
Read More: This past spring, Best Buddies Arizona held its 11th Annual Friendship Walk raising more than $138,000 for their programs and hosting supporters, like Team Waymo, from across the state.
Get Involved: To become an advocate, volunteer, or to make one-time or monthly donations, learn how to take action here.
Blinded Veterans Association
What They Stand For: The Blinded Veterans Association is dedicated to helping veterans overcome the difficulties of sight loss through medical and rehabilitation treatment. Their advocacy and collaborative efforts through fundraising, community care programs, and meetings with policy makers has bettered the lives of many visually impaired veterans.
In Their Own Words: “I am proud of my fellow veterans who have overcome their loss of sight and are able to travel, educate themselves, and take leadership roles in government, business, politics, and a wide variety of organizations.” - Gary
Read More: Learn about the Blinded Veterans Association, American Braille Flag Project, and the promise that a bronze copy of the Braille Flag will be located in every Veterans Affairs facility throughout the country.
Get Involved: To become an ambassador or a sponsor, visit here to attend one of the training events to learn how you can help.
The Arc San Francisco
What They Stand For: The Arc San Francisco supports individuals with Down syndrome, autism, and other disabilities as leaders through innovation. They believe in being an important resource for the families, supporters, and leaders in the community as innovators for education and career programs, and independent living services.
In Their Own Words: "What brings me pride about having a disability is advocating for others with disabilities. I am proud of who I am and believe in the power of helping others. If I see someone getting picked on or who needs some extra help, I stand up for them." - Gaby
Read More: To stay up to date with The Arc San Francisco’s work and opportunities to support, subscribe to its newsletter here.
Get Involved: To become an annual member or get informed and help enact the Better Care Better Jobs Act, visit here today.
The Epilepsy Foundation
What They Stand For: The Epilepsy Foundation is committed to saving lives and solving the challenges of living with epilepsy and overcoming the obstacles for better care. Their mission, advocacy and research is focused on improving the lives of those who live with epilepsy and their loved ones.
In Their Own Words: "What brings me pride about having a disability is being able to advocate for others living with disabilities. Also, I hope that hearing about the challenges I have overcome encourages others and gives them hope that they can live well with a disability." - Jessica
Read More: After being diagnosed with Epilepsy, Brennan joined The Epilepsy Foundation’s summer camp, and soon after began volunteering and fundraising for the program at only 10 years old. Epilepsy can take away one’s independence from driving or using public transportation, but now with autonomous driving, Brennan is eager to become more self-sufficient. Hear his story here.
Get Involved: Find your local Epilepsy Foundation to learn about the next volunteer, fundraising, or advocacy event near you.
Special Olympics Arizona
What They Stand For: The Special Olympics Arizona offers opportunities for children and adults with intellectual disabilities to be joyful and respected members in their community. They help those who have developmental disabilities get excited and build courage through physical fitness and help their members share these experiences with those close to them.
In Their Own Words: “What brings me pride about having a disability is being able to learn and talk to others about different disabilities. With a disability, I am still able to help fundraise or help Special Olympics Arizona present to community partners. I believe in advocating for others with intellectual disabilities. I have also proved past teachers wrong. They said I would never play sports or be able to represent a community." - Amber
Read More: Learn about how the Special Olympics Arizona athletes competed in the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games, brought home 44 medals, and became “champions for a more inclusive world.”
Get Involved: Looking to volunteer for a day? You can even do it as a group! You can participate in an upcoming event on 8/27 at Bare Aspen in Flagstaff and more soon after when you sign up here.
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