“Service is the rent we pay for being. It is the purpose of life and not something you do in your spare time.”
MARIAN WRIGHT EDELMAN (BORN 1939), FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT OF THE CHILDREN’S DEFENSE FUND, FIRST AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMAN ADMITTED TO MISSISSIPPI STATE BAR, ACTIVIST, REFORMER, EDUCATOR
From grassroots alliances to philanthropic fundraisers to public service organizations—Americans are a nation of people anxious to serve others by sharing their good fortune and helping those who need a hand. And, although a flat economy has affected most of the charities and monetary avenues through which we usually give back to our communities, nowadays, one is more likely to find service-minded individuals “paying back” the old-fashioned way—by rolling up their sleeves and donating their time and efforts to the causes close to their hearts.
As a prime example of how a grassroots movement can vastly improve conditions for its community, advocates of the disabilities community are noted for their activism and outreach efforts, which are aimed at improving the quality of life for individuals with disabilities. Born during the civil rights actions of the 1970s, the Disabilities Rights Movement united both disabled and able-bodied individuals across the nation in a series of campaigns aimed at raising public awareness and improving independent living conditions, accessibility, and safety issues affecting the disabled community—including scores of individuals participating in a 30-day sit-in (organized in 1977) held at the Health, Education, and Welfare offices across the nation. The results of these actions launched a decade-long series of legislation, culminating with then-President George H.W. Bush signing the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) into law, July 29, 1990.
The journey that led to establishing the ADA is just a single example of how one group can cause a ripple effect that can change the world, demonstrating that no effort is too big or too small. For physical medicine and rehabilitation industry professionals, there is no time like the present to roll up your sleeves and become more involved with clients, colleagues, and causes affecting your particular industry niche. You will undoubtedly strengthen your professional relationships, as well as forge a renewed sense of solidarity and pride in your communities, which will benefit all those involved, and your efforts might even bring about a significant change.
We at Rehab Management would like to take the opportunity to honor the late Randy Snow, who passed away in Ecuador on November 19, 2009. Noted Paralympian, activist, philanthropist, and motivational speaker, Snow worked tirelessly in his efforts to establish and broaden national and international programs for individuals with disabilities—drawing from his own experiences, successes, and setbacks to give back to the community, where his absence will be felt for some time to come.
In closing, if you would like to share your own experiences in giving back to your professional community, please share it with us here on this website. In the meantime, as we enter the second decade of the 21st century, we intend to continue to provide our readers with comprehensive, thought-provoking information and, perhaps, occasionally, inspiring content.
—ROGENA SCHUYLER SILVERMAN
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