Letter — Celebrating Head Start Awareness Month

Published 2:11 pm Friday, October 29, 2021

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To the Editor:

This month we celebrate Head Start Awareness Month and National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

Both are grounded in care, compassion, fairness and opportunity.

Nationally, Head Start has been helping young children from low-income families prepare to succeed in school through local programs since 1965. Early Head Start and Head Start programs, administered throughout the region by STEPS, promote child development through services that support early learning, health and family well-being.

STEPS is proud to continue this historic tradition. Our mission is “to lead, coordinate, create and deliver quality opportunities to impact self-sufficiency and reduce poverty throughout our region.” Early Head Start and Head Start do exactly that. There is no better program to help children get the opportunity they need. It changes lives and gives hope.

October is also National Disability Employment Awareness Month. This year’s theme is “America’s Recovery: Powered by Inclusion.”

STEPS employs 13 workers with disabilities, and we know how valuable they are to our team. I want to encourage employers to examine the heart and the drive of someone with a disability as they consider filling job vacancies. Everyone deserves a chance to prove what they can do. Especially adults with disabilities.

Really, it just makes sense from a business perspective. Those with disabilities can do just as many wonderful, creative things if we place them in a job where they can succeed. But unfortunately, society often focuses on what they can’t do.

As the President and CEO of STEPS, I have had the pleasure of working with many individuals with disabilities throughout the years. I have found them reliable, committed, passionate members of our team. They take ownership of their work and make sure things are done the right way. They continue to be critical in our recycling and secure document destruction operations.

Unfortunately, we cannot employ them all. So, please, give those with disabilities a chance because inclusion means all of us—everyone pulling together to build better businesses, better communities.

It’s the right thing to do.

Plus, it just makes sense.

Sharon Harrup

President and CEO

of STEPS Inc.