State Legislators, MHA Recognize Brain Injury and Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

SPRINGFIELD — State legislators toured MHA’s Resource Center last week in recognition of Brain Injury and Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. The center provides day programming for those with developmental disabilities and acquired brain injury, and the local delegation of policymakers got to observe activities and talk with participants. State Sen. Adam Gomez and state Reps. Michael Finn and Bud Williams secured citations from both legislative branches.

MHA Resource Center provides day programming to both populations, and more than 300 of MHA’s employees work in direct care at its more than three dozen residential sites, helping these individuals with daily needs that range from bathing to eating to support in setting goals.

“It was great to have the work of MHA and its staff honored,” said Kimberley Lee, MHA’s vice president of Resource Development and Branding. “Visitors and members also gathered for a photo around the flag that pays tribute to the disabled and discussed ways this population and those who care for them can be better supported.”

The theme of Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, “Worlds Imagined,” and Brain Injury Awareness Month, “More Than My Brain Injury,” were highlighted during the morning visit as the legislators got to observe activities at the center designed to help participants with cognitive and motor skills while engaging in meaningful conversation.

Gomez serves as Senate chair of the Joint Committee on Children, Families, and Persons with Disabilities, and Finn serves as House chair. Other legislators attending included state Rep. Jacob Oliveira, who is a committee member; state Rep. Brian Ashe; and staff from the offices of state Reps. Orlando Ramos and Carlos González.

Guests also heard from several of MHA’s senior leadership, including Cheryl Fasano, president and CEO, and Sara Kyser, vice president of MHA’s New Way Division, which serves those with acquired brain injury. They were also presented notecards with artwork done by an MHA resident.