An outing with a young child can be a challenge for any parent. And that challenge can be even more daunting for families that have a child with a developmental delay or disability. Fortunately, the number of destinations in the Puget Sound region that accommodate children of all abilities is growing every year. We have compiled a modest list of local activities and destinations that are definitely worth checking out.
Stephan knows a thing or two about dancing in the rain. An avid hip-hop dancer, Stephan enjoys every day as a Donations Station Attendant for The Big Blue Truck™, no matter if there are sunny skies or some of our Pacific Northwest mist.
While Stephan is a happy, vital member of The Big Blue Truck™ team, it took some trial and error to find the job where he could excel. A member of the School-to-Work (S2W) program, Stephan was actively preparing himself for employment opportunities before he graduated from high school. It took some job coaching and training, but when Stephan saw the people in the Big Blue Truck™ he knew he wanted to join in.
Dear Northwest Center Community:
I am honored to be the new CEO of Northwest Center, to lead and serve a world class team in our mission “to promote the growth, development, and independence of people with disabilities through programs of education, rehabilitation, and work opportunity.”
Each of us has talents, gifts and potential, and deserves the opportunity to engage and contribute. When society values diverse perspectives, honors all abilities and allows everyone the opportunity to contribute, that society is working at its best and will help the world achieve its collective potential. I am reminded daily of the importance of inclusion through my eyes as a parent. My daughter, Tori, is 24 years old, loves horseback riding, listening to music, shopping, and going out to restaurants…and has Autism. Tori has helped mold me into the person I am today and contributes to my success in immeasurable ways. But her opportunities to engage in our community are limited.
At Northwest Center, inclusion is at our core and we envision a fulfilling future for everyone. Our founding parents insisted that everyone deserves the opportunity to realize their fullest potential and we continue to honor their philosophy today. Now in our 52nd year, Northwest Center provides early intervention and inclusive learning for children, and employment services for individuals with disabilities. We employ people of all abilities in our Social Enterprise, with over 40% of the 950 people on our payroll self-identifying with a disability.
I am humbled to be part of an organization that refuses to allow anyone to be overlooked, mislabeled, marginalized, or denied the opportunity to engage and contribute.
Thank you for everything you do to support Northwest Center. Your partnership is what makes this possible.
Onward and Upward,
What is something special about you?
Though sometimes difficult to answer, Chris Ulmer asks this question to nearly everyone he interviews. Ulmer, a special education teacher turned an internationally renowned speaker, travels the globe interviewing people with disabilities. His goal is to not tell their stories, but to give them the opportunity to tell their story themselves.
When a new shift begins, associates clock in and head to “Stand Up,” an area of the warehouse where managers go over daily announcements and celebrate top performers in front of their coworkers. For Mihret, who has worked for just over six months, Stand Up became a goal from day one.
Mihret, born in Ethiopia, is deaf yet does not know American or Universal Sign Language. English is her second language and this makes communication and connection difficult for her. Yet in June 2017, Mihret came into work and saw her name, written in big green letters. Mihret was awarded top performer. Two days later, Mihret achieved her goal yet again. In fact, that day, three out of the four top performer awards were given to associates placed by Northwest Center, all with diagnosed disabilities.
Northwest Center is the recipient of Value Village’s 50 Year Partnership Award. Since 1967, we have had a long-term partnership with Value Village to collect clothing and household donations with our iconic Big Blue Trucks and blue donation bins. Value Village buys that merchandise to sell in its stores, and the revenue Northwest Center receives funds education and employment programs for children and adults with developmental disabilities in WA State.
Trevor Pacelli grew up in Sammamish, Washington and was diagnosed with a form of autism at age 5. As a child, he published drawings in two children’s magazines and illustrated a children's book at age 15, written by his sister Briana Pacelli, “The Kindergarten Adventures of Amazing Grace." an autism awareness book. At 19, he wrote a book in the "Six-Word Lessons" series to help people with autistic children in their families understand how an autistic person really thinks and feels. He is a graduate of Arizona State University in Film and Media Studies. Trevor recently joined the team at Northwest Center in July 2017.
Trevor shares his journey to gaining employment at NWC and his experience with workforce inclusion.
As an individual on the autism spectrum who has gone through several interviews over the years, I could tell you a lot about my long, endless job search. While confidence wavered on when or if I would find a job in key moments of my life, my jobs across the last five years served to teach me plenty of useful skills, as well as some important wisdom about workforce inclusion.
Seattle’s swaths of downtown real estate are looked after by Debbie, who manages the janitorial teams responsible for the upkeep of government agencies housed in historic office buildings and modern skyscrapers.
Yadier and Yusdel’s smiles are both infectious and light up the room—they are happy to be excelling at the job of their dreams. Both Yadier and Yusdel’s story is one of triumph. Upon emigrating from Cuba, the two roommates were looking to gain meaningful employment that would treat them like everyone else — both Yadier and Yusdel are deaf.
When Darren attended Gonzaga’s mock interview event with HireAbility Spokane he never expected to receive a job offer. But that’s exactly what happened.
As first time parents, Wendy and Leeor thought their life would follow a predetermined plan. That changed when they discovered that Sadie would be born with a heart defect. What was supposed to be a single surgery turned into a six-month hospital stay. It was during this time they were introduced to Northwest Center.
Northwest Center is a leader in advancing equal opportunities for children and adults with disabilities because we’re there in the fight with them. We support and advocate for people with disabilities to thrive early, learn more, and find a place in the world, from birth all the way through retirement. Tomorrow, we are asking you to support us in the very first step. NWC has made the commitment to working with families transitioning home from the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
Written by: Amy & Connor Doran
Edited by: Jennifer Owen
It started as a hobby. Pulling a string, defying gravity with every twist and turn of his body, Connor Doran knows how to fly a kite. He enjoyed gliding his kite through the crisp Washington air, but it wasn’t until 2009 that he thought to share his talents with the rest of the country.
By: Tracee Christie
Writers: Jennifer Owen
Tracee, Senior Area Manager at Integrated Facility Services (IFS), has been with Northwest Center for 15 years and knows what it takes to succeed. From working long hours to personally inspecting with her teams the 1.6 million square feet of property she manages; Tracee knows that hard work and proper management leads to successful teams.
Written by: Wendy Heddrick & Jackie Fountain
Edited by: Jennifer Owen
Innovation blossoms in environments that embrace diversity. At Argus, the female-run janitorial service defies the traditional insular, male dominated profession with a workforce largely consisting of women, minorities, and people of all abilities. We sat down with General Manager Jackie and Senior Manager Wendy to learn about their model of inclusive employment and all the strides Argus is making in the Pacific Northwest.
This past Saturday, April 29th, SODO Park was transformed into a sea of decorative hats and roses, with philanthropic spirit abounding. The Derby was a success for the sixth year running, from the silent and live auctions to the wine pull we raised $267,432 benefiting Northwest Center Kids.
Like many successful young women approaching their 30th birthday, Emily leads a busy fulfilling life. She has a good job, a steady boyfriend, a spunky sense of humor, loves to sew and knit, and dreams of getting married one day. Emily is an important member of the early learning team at Northwest Center Kids Chinook.
Bringing home a new baby is stressful, but for Giselle and Grant, the experience of bringing Griffin home was terrifying. Griffin was born prematurely and spent his first 93 days in UW Medicine’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). The prospect of leaving this expert support system was traumatic.
Devin is just an ordinary guy. Like so many young men in their early 30’s, he has a good job, a girlfriend, goes out dancing, loves music and movies, and adores Justin Timberlake. His slightly sarcastic sense of humor and playful nature make Devin fun to be around. Everyone likes him – a very nice guy.
Northwest Center and Value Village Celebrate 50 years in 2017
By Denise Small
Senior Director, Big Blue Truck
In 1967, just two years after our founding, Northwest Center entered into a partnership with Value Village. We collect clothing and household donations with The Big Blue Truck™ and The Blue Bin. Value Village buys that merchandise to sell in its stores, and the revenue funds our education and employment programs. The innovative “social business” model was decades ahead of its time. Today, the partnership is stronger than ever, collecting state wide.
Northwest Center’s business relationship with Value Village has been the foundation of our entire philosophy of change, which is to use business to create social good. Now the world is embracing the business value of diversity at unprecedented scale, thanks in part to this breakthrough that started 50 years ago right here in Seattle.
April means Autism Awareness month! Be sure to explore the sensory sensitive events taking place throughout Seattle:
We know that workplaces benefit the more diverse they become, but the number of unemployed people with disabilities highlights how much change is yet to come. If you or your organization are interested in hiring individuals with disabilities, consider the following advice and tips to find the right employee.
Last week, my child was bullied.
And while this is more common than not in today’s world, it was a first for our house. It was also a first that I expected sooner rather than later. Knowing this, I assumed I would be fully prepared to know how Sully would respond (poorly) and how I, as his mother, would need to support him (intensely).
Looking to explore something new this weekend? Check out our list of family friendly activities based throughout the Seattle metro area!
Know of other goings-on? Let us know in the comments or on Facebook!
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