A Personal Story: Why Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month is Important to Me

Joe Meadows with friend Job in front of River Cats Stadium before the game

By Joseph Meadows, former Board Member for Arc of California and Arc of United States

Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month gives me, and other people with disabilities, the chance to share our stories. I have lived in Sacramento, CA and lived independently in a group home for 15 years. I have previously served for many years on the Board of Directors for The Arc of California and The Arc of United States. In November 2022, one of my roommates Jon passed away. Over the years he became much more than just a roommate. He was my best friend, and I miss him dearly.

Jon taught me something important that I want to share with everyone: “People should be seen for their gifts and talents and not their disabilities.”

People with disabilities have a voice and the same desires for what they want in life as anyone else.

My friend had a gift for gardening that he shared with me, and in return, I showed him how to ride the city bus so he could go out into the community. One of our favorite things to do together was attending the Sacramento River Cats baseball games. In the picture above, I am on the left side and Jon is in the middle. We both loved sports and going out to eat at Buffalo Wild Wings.

I continue to be active in the community and grateful I had the opportunity to share my life with a good friend. Jon continues to inspire me to be an advocate and help raise awareness for the disability community and being fully accepted for who we are — a human being.

Join this month’s campaign and share your story! What do you want people to know about living with a disability?

If you are a friend or family member of a person with a disability, share something about them that you love or makes you proud. Email us with your photo and story at info@thearcca.org

Together, we want to build a future of acceptance, equality and inclusion. It starts by understanding each other better. This is our month to help people understand developmental disabilities! Join Us!

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