By John Tschohl, Consumer News Editor, Opportunities, Inc.
I am personally indebted to Opportunities, Inc. I am a 62 year old man with Cerebral Palsy. My disability involves poor walking balance, poor speech and poor hand coordination. With all these handicaps, who in the community would even consider hiring me?
I would be very fortunate if I would even make it more than a day in this “get it done now” working world. I have been so blessed with the staff helping me find my own "niche to productivity." Since 1971, I have been the editor of Opportunities’ consumer newsletter. I type with guards on the keyboards of my computer and typewriter.
It is simply amazing to me how much Opportunities, Inc. has grown over the years. When I began working in 1969, we were in two rented buildings in Fort Atkinson. I used to know everyone back then, but this would be an impossible task today. Not only does Opportunities, Inc. provide services for residents of Fort Atkinson, as the agency has expanded, with facilities in Madison, Oconomowoc, and Watertown.
I have always been given the encouragement to advance my vocational aspirations beyond the walls of this agency; however it has been my choice to stay. I am so grateful for that choice that protects my right to work where I want and how often I want.
On the other hand, I am so impressed with the services that continue to expand the integrated employment options for many others the agency serves. It is precisely the reason why Opportunities, Inc. exists, which is to maximize independence for persons with disabilities and other life barriers.
I am tremendously proud of Opportunities, Inc. and its mission focused services that have positively impacted the community for over 45 years. I hope you can see what I see!
I am not alone in my appreciation for this agency, as many others have important words to share, as well...
Testimonials from families served by Opportunities, Inc.
"Wayne's life has been transformed by the opportunity provided by Opportunities Inc. It has never been, nor will it ever be, about the money. It's about the chance for Wayne to be a productive member of society while fostering friendships, a sense of belonging, and self-worth."
- Dean Elwood
"My brother has benefitted from his association with Opportunities, Inc. for many years. He is a productive member of his local community, has learned the skills associated with developing a work ethic, has developed friendships and relationships with many other workers, those with disabilities and those without, and developed the self confidence that comes with having been gainfully employed. He is clearly motivated by the process (the work itself) rather than by the end result (wages earned)!"
- Bonnie O’Donnell
"We are so lucky to have Opportunities, Inc., which provides a community service that extends its hand to people with disabilities, while providing love and an extra hug that so many of these individuals need. What would happen if Opportunities, Inc. was not here?"
- Teresa Foelker
"I have experienced the results of Opportunities, inc. in a couple of different ways. First, my younger brother has been associated with the agency for at least 30 years. The developments have been outstanding, as well as, heartwarming. His confidence and pride are truly the rewards for his hard work and your guidance. I am also an employer who has hired persons with disabilities through Opportunities, Inc.’s community employment program since 1989. I cannot say enough about the difference my employees make at Hardees. I don’t have enough time to list everything. I only wish other employers are experiencing similar relationship as we are here."
- Michael Coughlin