To the Editor:
We are writing to support the levy on the May 7 for services through the Delaware County Board of Developmental Disabilities. The economy over the past several years has caused hardships for us all. However, those in our community who use the DCBDD programs are and will suffer to a greater degree if we do not renew our levy.
We know this to be true as a result of having an adult daughter with Down syndrome who lives independently in the county. She has been living independently in the community for the past seven years and would not be able to do so without DCBDD. Her life is full and she is happy and content living in an apartment with a roommate. She feels she is an equal to her siblings and other family members who have grown up and made their way into the world. She is active in Special Olympics, keeps herself busy and increases her independence and learning by being able to participate in community activities, camps, social and volunteer opportunities. She has volunteered for the past 10-plus years to read at a local preschool, makes visits to local nursing home to visit with the elderly, and participates in cooking classes that expand her capacities in her own home.
None of these things will be ongoing if funding for transportation and staffing needs are no longer available. She loves her apartment and roommate. Living independently has made a huge impact on her life and our family. It is tremendously rewarding for all of her family to see her doing so well. She is currently without employment, so a cut in her rent subsidy would be devastating for her.
We have always felt very fortunate to live in Delaware County where support has been available for handicapped citizens. The reports and statistics prepared by DCBDD and presented at a recent board meeting indicate the county is a leader and has found many ways to stretch their dollars and specialized programs and allow our handicapped children and adults to receive the services they must have in order to live a normal life -- not anything above and beyond, but a standard existence. We have had many, many conversations with other families in other counties who lack these services. It is sad to know that others are not as fortunate.
Delaware County is highly progressive and recognized in many aspects throughout the state, one of them being its support of their citizens who are less fortunate by no fault of their own. We have always supported levies for fire, safety, senior citizens, etc., within the county. We strongly urge the people of Delaware County to continue to support our citizens who are disabled.
Robert and Cindy Smithson