Highlighting IOD Donors
Kathy Bates, Somersworth, NH, is a 1998 graduate of the IOD’s New Hampshire Leadership Series. During the past ten years, she has made giving back to the NH Leadership Series a priority. She has served as a group leader since 2002, and is a regular donor to the program. Kathy lives in her own home, and her artwork has appeared in numerous IOD annual calendars. The following is an excerpt of a letter from Kathy:
I’ve never liked the sound of my own voice. I’ve always had plenty to say, but sometimes it was easier not to say it. The first day of Leadership we had to use a microphone to introduce ourselves. I was petrified that my voice wouldn’t come out when it was my turn. Well that didn’t happen. I survived. In fact I am now a presenter and the first thing I ask for when I am presenting is a microphone. I am just one of hundreds of people who have found their voice as a result of participating in the New Hampshire Leadership Series.
I’ve been part of the Leadership Series for ten years now, and I can honestly say that the journey may be different for everyone, but no matter if you are a parent, a professional, or a person who experiences a disability, there is always a transformation.
Changes happen because when you begin Leadership you realize that you are not alone in your plight. Your plight can be about the IEP process, or helping your son or daughter find their first job, or something as simple as not being able to attend a community event. Maybe the change happens because as you go through the Leadership Series you are educated and doors are open to you as you begin to understand just what is possible.
As a result of participating in the Leadership Series, my expectations for myself and others who experience disabilities are much higher and I’m a much stronger advocate for human rights and citizenship for everyone, no matter what their limitations might be. One of the key themes of Leadership is community. Often those who experience disabilities, and their families, feel they must work harder to be accepted. In Leadership there is an immediate feeling of warmth, acceptance and connection. In this community connections are made, friendships are formed, and futures are changed forever.
I have always known that it was important to me to give back to Leadership. It is an honor to serve as a group leader each year, and to count myself among those whose financial contributions help to keep Leadership going. [Our] support is essential to the continuation of this important program. I encourage [all of my fellow alumni] to make giving to Leadership a priority. It is during difficult times, particularly, that we are reminded of the value that Leadership represents: linking us together to provide support for one another, and ensuring there are effective advocates working to protect crucial programs and supports.
If you would like to learn more about making a tax-deductible gift to the IOD, please contact:
Mary Schuh, Ph.D. – Associate Director of
Development and Consumer Affairs
Institute on Disability / UCED
56 Old Suncook Road, Suite 2
Concord, NH 03301
603.228.2084 | firstname.lastname@example.org
or visit www.iod.unh.edu for easy and secure online donation.