Dignity Has A Voice was created to tell the real story of adults with the most significant disabilities and their families, who choose employment in sheltered workshops.
Every day, sheltered workshops help hundreds of thousands of adults across the country, experience the pride of success, the dignity of being valued and the fulfillment of accomplishment. For these people, a workshop provides more than just a job; it provides a social network of peers from which to develop true and lasting friendships. For their families and caregivers, a workshop is a place to be relied upon on to protect and support their loved ones on a daily basis, providing them the unique and positive opportunity to be employed.
For years, activists, legislators, government agencies, and other organizations have been telling only one side of the sheltered workshop story: a negative and often misguided view that only supports their agenda. An agenda that unfortunately, has swayed many under-informed people to believe that sheltered workshops should now be closed.
But there is another side to this story.
Developing greater opportunity for people with disabilities to obtain jobs in the community is undeniably the right thing to do. But to deny choice and suggest that this is the only viable option — especially for those with the most significant disabilities — is morally indefensible. It is not necessary to eliminate sheltered workshops in order to advocate for community employment. The time has come to recognize that both options are needed, and to respect the rights of every individual to choose for themselves where they want to work.
Ultimately, the voices of the people who will be most affected by the potential closures of sheltered workshops, employees and their families, need to be heard. Their story needs to be told. So it has become our single mission to ensure their collective voice is successfully brought to the world. Loudly, and clearly.