AbleLight Makes Dreams Come True

National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month to be celebrated

Milwaukee – AbleLight is harnessing the power of partnership to advance important issues during National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month in March, driving awareness of how we can all work together to make a difference for the more than 7 million Americans with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

“We have seen again and again how the world shines brighter when we come together to help people with intellectual and developmental disabilities live with greater independence and potential,” said Keith Jones, president and CEO of AbleLight, formerly Bethesda. “It is this promise and the opportunity to change lives that motivates us to work every day on their behalf, and to make the world more inclusive and welcoming for people of all abilities.”

To kick off the month, four people supported by AbleLight traveled to Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., to attend their first NASCAR race, the Auto Club 400, on Sunday, Feb. 27. This dream of a lifetime is a collaboration between AbleLight and Motor Racing Outreach to promote the urgent need to support and include this community.

AbleLight is also partnering with Kendra Scott, the nationwide fine jewelry retailer, as they host several Kendra Scott Gives Back Days in March, with 20 percent of sales coming back to benefit AbleLight’s work.

In addition, throughout March David Ragan, NASCAR driver and FOX sports analyst, will support AbleLight with public service announcements, including a focus on AbleLight’s Brighter Together personal fundraising campaign.

Special month began in 1987

Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month was proclaimed by President Ronald Reagan in 1987. The proclamation called upon all Americans to provide support and opportunities for individuals with developmental disabilities to reach their potential. In 1987, the idea that individuals with developmental disabilities could be productive contributors in the workforce was relatively new, and preconceptions had to be overcome. As the Americans with Disabilities Act came to be in 1990, workplace discrimination against individuals with developmental disabilities became a legally punishable offense. Although people with disabilities have made strides over the years, there is more that can be done.

Making an impact

Many people with intellectual and developmental disabilities live with a host of challenges – everything from a shortage of suitable housing options and unemployment to poor health and a lack of connection to their community. AbleLight focuses efforts to address five core impact areas to enhance the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities:

Safe and Loving Homes: AbleLight provides a variety of housing options to meet every need, including group homes, supported living, and host home arrangements. AbleLight is actively expanding the innovative AbleLight Village concept, a first-of-its-kind residential community uniting individuals with disabilities with people of all abilities in a loving, welcoming environment.

Financial Security: AbleLight’s Financial Services team provides one-on-one consultation and support to help people navigate the complex world of benefits and achieve their financial goals. This includes rep payee services, Medicaid redeterminations, Social Security reporting and ABLE account support and training.

Independence and Wellbeing: AbleLight makes it possible to achieve joy in daily living. As just one example, AbleLight College offers a life and work skills program at Concordia University in Milwaukee and Ann Arbor, Mich.

Innovation and Technology: AbleLight innovates for good, researching and developing new technology to improve all aspects of life for people with disabilities, and provides customized solutions to meet individual needs. Assistive smart home technology is deployed in a growing number of homes, including AbleLight Village, promoting safety, security, and independence.

Community and Faith: A strong connection to the community is vital to a life well lived. AbleLight makes that connection through day programs, virtual programming, faith connections, and volunteering options that bring people together. AbleLight will continue to offer thrift shops as a connection point with the community and a meaningful source of revenue for needed programs.

Getting involved

Everyone can do more to support the disability community. Learn more about Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month and AbleLight’s campaign and resources at The resource center will provide information and include details on various ways to support people with intellectual disabilities, including more information on AbleLight’s Brighter Together fundraising campaign, Kendra Scott Gives Back Days, and shopping and rounding up at AbleLight Thrift Stores.  


About AbleLight

AbleLight is a national leader in pioneering life-changing services that empower people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to thrive. Founded in 1904 in Wisconsin as a Christian mission, AbleLight promotes independence and inclusion across the U.S. through comprehensive and individualized supports that include housing, employment, spiritual life and much more. For details, go to, like our Facebook page and follow us on LinkedIn.