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Inspiration: About Wendy Kuehnl


Photo courtesy of 10binary

Wendy has grown up to be an inspiring and life-changing individual to many people in our nation. She grew up in Wisconsin, where she was born and raised as a child and student. Wendy then pursued an education in the 1960s, and then moved onto high school, where she started to be involved with the lives of many disabled people. At the time, there were many civil rights movements in America. Many of which the rights of disabled people were being constantly questioned. Do these people have the right to work? The right to vote? Are they allowed to be involved with the community in any way? From here, Wendy took her stand on the matter and proceeded to obtain a job at a wood-shop building. Even only being in high school, Wendy was already the supervisor for many assembly lines in the company. Many of these people who did assembly jobs turned out to be people with different kinds of disabilities. They did multiple jobs, but many screwed in the nuts and bolts of many machines and toys. Soon after, she also became the very first female bus driver for this wood-shop. What made this bus different than other, was that it had a wheelchair lift that made the bus more accessible. One day when she was aiding a woman with the wheelchair lift, something went horribly wrong. Wendy strapped the woman into her seat, but suddenly she was flung off the chair and onto the ground. Wendy immediately slammed on the brakes, and as she did, uncontrollable apologizing was let out. It just comes to show how vulnerable these individuals are. Our very community and environment does not give these individuals with disabilities equal rights and equal say. This makes them rely on others for aid and guidance, which leads to ultimate vulnerability. If we teach these kinds of people to be dependent on themselves, they would not need anymore guidance in the outside world. This is how Wendy was introduced to Abilities United.

Ten years ago, Wendy started to work for Abilities United. Throughout these many years, she has experienced the inspiring change that the organization has impacted on many individuals. Currently, she does much of the companies web technology, and helps to improve the organization in any way she can. Here, there is a welcoming staff that is very interactive with the disabled. The result is a wonderful environment that is also empowering and life-changing. Through the different abilities of each staff member, the organization was able to change the lives of many. Helping them to find jobs, and helping them to self-guide their own lives. From this, the name “Abilities United” was born. Because of the versatility of the staff members, their abilities are united together to help the disabled lead an easier life. With multiple programs at Abilities United, the staff creates a way of life that the disabled people can follow with ease. One program called Independent Living Skills teaches people with disabilities to learn everyday life through chores and lessons. It is evident that some people need more help than others, and this is what the program does. It helps and guides people to become more capable in their everyday lives. These people should have a chance to learn, and they should also be able to do what they can physically do. These people can have their own power over their life. Another program was also created and shaped by the Abilities United staff one year ago. Letting people with disabilities portray their feelings and emotions through art proved to be very successful. Anyone who had trouble in communicating with others, could use art to portray what they are trying to say. The universal language of art lets them do just that.

No one should be measured by what they cannot due. Wendy believes that everyone is not capable of doing some things that others can do. Regardless, they aren’t different in any way. Even at first glance, you cannot tell who is disabled or not. When first encountering a disabled person, one doesn’t know what exactly to do. If one never encounters a disabled person, he/she will not know how to interact or talk with the other. To prevent this, Wendy believes that being more exposed to these people makes you realize that they are not any different from us. When we first think of a disabled person, we believe that he or she is incapable of doing many things. If we do not even give the opportunity to the disabled to prove themselves, how can we even assume that they are incapable in the first place? Wendy believes that if we all truly live, learn, and play side by side, the imperfection, prejudice, and selectivity will finally go away. Even though it will take many generations to do so, that is what Ability United is ultimately aiming for. People should not care what kind of disability you have. Everyone is the same, and should always be treated equally. In today’s world, more and more schools are welcoming kids with disabilities. Multiple disabilities like autism, down syndrome, and mental retardation are also decreasing in number throughout today’s world.

“What disability does that person have?” “I don’t know.”

It shouldn’t matter what disability a person has. Every person should always be treated equally.

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