COUNTY—In recognition of the more than 7 million Americans affected by developmental disabilities and all the efforts those individuals make as “vibrant and valued members of our community,” the Wayne County Board of Commissioners proclaimed March to be Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month at their business meeting Thursday morning.

The Commissioners' meeting room was full to bursting as a bevy of consumers and service providers involved in the county's developmental programming.

Representatives from the Wayne County Administrative Entity for Developmental Programs, Wayne County Early Intervention, the Human Resources Center, the Park Street Kitchen, Devereux Pocono Center, Care for People Plus, Community Vocational Services, Wayne County Supports Coordination Organization, Wayne Memorial Hospital's Project SEARCH.

Cindy Matthews program director for the county Administrative Entity for Developmental Programs stated, “Not just during the month of March but all year long, we work collectively as a community to raise awareness...”

Matthews explained that collective service entity works to “eradicate any barriers” which may prevent their consumers from fully integrating into their communities.

“There has been a push in the last couple of years to really get these folks out into the community,” said Matthews. “We are beginning to see a lot of results of the fact that it's better for all of us when these folks are out and in the community.”

Margaret Ennis, administrator in the county's Office of Behavioral and Developmental Programs and Early Intervention (BDP/EI), stated “Today is a wonderful celebration,” thanking all assembled for their support.

Several service consumers shared voluminous positive experiences with the county programs and where they've arrived as a result.

Commissioner Wendell Kay noted there has been a surge of sentiment in the last eight to ten years that “We are all equals. We are all the same. We come in with certain abilities and certain things we're maybe not so great at...so it's very important that we respect each other and that we take each other as we find ourselves and help everyone to try and improve.”

Commissioner Joseph Adams added in his three years' experience as a Commissioner “It's great to have the organization of everybody at the county level doing an amazing job of... packaging the whole thing together. It's an honor and a pleasure and a thrill for us as commissioners to support that.”

Adams noted the enthusiasm and commitment displayed by the consumers is “always a thrill to see”

“It's super fulfilling for us and for employees who are taking care of business to integrate and to do great things for our community,” he said.

Noting his 30 years serving as a board member for the Human Resources Center, Adams concluded, “Professionally and personally. It's been the absolute most fulfilling thing I've ever done.”

In recognition of Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, the Commissioners in their proclamation urge Wayne County citizens “...to support and embrace those with a developmental disability and their families in their endeavor to explore our community, meet friends and make meaningful connections that result in fulfillment in living an everyday life.”