Didlake Self-Advocates Raise Awareness at Virginia Capitol

A group of self-advocates represented Didlake, Inc. at the Coalition for Mentally Disabled Citizens Community for All Rally in Richmond January 16. Self-advocates, pictured left to right, were Joseph Wage, Shameka Hannah, Kathy Weaver, Katie Kelly, and Vincent Jesionka.

Manassas, VA – A group of self-advocates from Didlake, Inc. traveled to Richmond for the Coalition for Mentally Disabled Citizens Community for All Rally on January 16. Their mission was to raise the awareness of state senators and delegates of the needs of Virginians with disabilities. A key issue the group lobbied for was a new initiative for people with disabilities called “Employment First.”

“It’s a tribute to the individuals we support, our staff and Didlake as an organization that we have self-advocates who can go to the capitol, meet face to face with their delegates and senators, speak for themselves and deliver a clear and purposeful message that is well received and appreciated by their representatives,” said Didlake Vice President for Rehabilitation Services John Craig.

The group began the rally outside the General Assembly building on Capitol Square, followed by personal visits with senators and delegates. The attendees included Joseph Wage, Kathy Weaver, Katie Kelly, Shameka Hannah, Vincent Jesionka and Didlake staff John Craig and Donna Tucker.

About Didlake

Didlake, Inc. is a not-for-profit corporation headquartered in Manassas, Virginia. It was founded in 1965 to create opportunities for people with disabilities through services that connect them to employment, education and the community. It provides contract business services for commercial and government customers and has won numerous awards for its facilities maintenance; packaging/ assembly; and administrative services. The organization operates throughout the Washington, D.C. metro area, in the Roanoke Valley and in Greater Hampton Roads. It serves more than 1,600 people with disabilities annually. Didlake, Inc. is licensed by the Commonwealth of Virginia, accredited by CARF and proudly serves the nation through the AbilityOne program. Its partners include the Virginia Department of Rehabilitative Services, local Community Services Boards and United Way of the National Capital Area. For more information, visit www.didlake.org.