WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 03, 2019) – On June 3rd through June 6th, Challenge Unlimited, Inc. joined SourceAmerica and more than 50 other nonprofit agencies for a 3-day event – the SourceAmerica Grassroots Advocacy Conference – to highlight the impact of public policy on employment for people with disabilities.
The conference was held in Washington, D.C. Each year, SourceAmerica engages in a variety of grassroots advocacy activities aimed at educating members of Congress about the need for increased employment options for people with disabilities. Leading up to the event, Challenge Unlimited took part in SourceAmerica training sessions for nonprofit leaders, self-advocates and their family members on how to share stories and help with the advocacy effort.
This year, the Challenge Unlimited team was joined by self-advocate, Keith Pendegraft. Keith is a talented young man with a disability who works at one of Challenge Unlimited’s AbilityOne contracts at Scott Air Force Base. Keith has greatly benefitted from the AbilityOne program and truly enjoys his job. Some of his favorite aspects of his job include the camaraderie, teamwork and assisting his other coworkers when they need help. Keith has stated that his wish is for others to understand that people with disabilities are the same as the general public—they have hopes and dreams, and they also deserve access to meaningful employment opportunities.
During the Grassroots Advocacy conference, Keith, his mother and the Challenge Unlimited team visited Capitol Hill to meet with legislators from the five states in which Challenge Unlimited holds contracts through the AbilityOne program—Illinois, Missouri, Ohio, South Carolina and Wisconsin. These in-person visits are designed to remind lawmakers that the work they do in Washington affects the economy and livelihood of the constituents, including people with disabilities, in their home districts.
“We look forward to bringing these individuals to Capitol Hill so they can share their personal stories and help shape their legislators’ disability employment decisions,” said Challenge President and CEO, Charlotte Hammond. “It’s critical for the self-advocates to make connections, have their voices heard and affect policy at a local, state or national level.”