Happy Friday, Have a great Labor Day Weekend!

Disability Mentoring Day 

On October 18, PILR will host Disability Mentoring Day so that high school students can learn what it might be like to work in a career they want to pursue after graduation. This will be the 16th year we have been the local host here in Hutchinson, and the 12th year we have been the host in Pratt. We will have somewhere in the neighborhood of 260 students participating as well as around 100 employers. The local support of this program has been amazing over the years and we hope to see it continue.

To host this program takes considerable staff time and while some of that time is paid for by our independent living grant through the state of Kansas, much of the staff time spent cannot be because the staff member works for a different program which can’t support DMD. Therefore, those costs must be paid through our unrestricted funds which we have less and less of each year. To help us defray some of these costs, we would like to give you the opportunity to sponsor a student for Disability Mentoring Day.

Your $25 sponsorship will cover some of our costs to host DMD, including food on the day of the event as well as a T-shirt for the student. If we found a sponsor for every student we would raise $6500 which would definitely help us a lot. If you sponsor a student, your name will be put in a drawing for a $50 Visa gift card. To sponsor a student, you can send your donation to our Hutchinson office, or donate online through PayPal. If your business would like to learn about being a corporate sponsor, we have opportunities for that as well.

Employment is such an important part of our lives, but 70 percent of people with disabilities never get to find that out because they are unemployed. This is a way to allow high school students to start dreaming about what they will do after graduation and realize how much better their lives can be if they work rather than draw SSI. I remember one day I had gone to Dillons, and was going through the checkout line and a young man started talking to me like we had known each other for years. I had no clue who he was but I figured he knew me through DMD or another program through the center. He rang up my items and after I paid he thanked me for the work we did with Disability Mentoring Day because according to him, had he not participated in DMD, he wouldn’t have gotten that job at Dillons. Over the years, several students have gotten hired because of DMD, you can help this year’s participants learn about employment and maybe even find their first job.

-Roger Frischenmeyer

Note from the Executive Director: In October PILR will once again be the lead in coordinating Disability Mentoring Day in Pratt and Hutchinson.  Approximately 260 students will have the opportunity to job shadow an employer in the field of their choice.  So many youth with disabilities do not believe they will ever have a real job and earn their own money.  That was me… I never thought I’d ever get a job.  I had lots of family support and people who believed in me, but in the back of my mind I always wondered who’d hire a blind woman?  That’s why DMD is such an important day for our youth with disabilities.  The educators, employers, volunteers and PILR staff/board that help make this happen are showing the students that we believe in them; we know they can work and they should work.  Roger has a little article about the event in this newsletter or you can read more about it on our website too.  I want to challenge all of you to join me in sponsoring a youth.  $25 is what it takes per student to make this happen.  If each of you joins me in making that $25 contribution we can fully cover the cost this year.  Looking forward to receiving your donation!

-Chris Owens