“Disability is a natural part of life. We all have to learn how to get along with people who have different abilities. We need to find ways to make them feel a part of the community just like everyone else. In my new position, I share my story and experiences as a person with different abilities. And if I can achieve the things I have, then so can others,” shared Summit DD’s new Inclusion Advocate staff member, Jessica.
For more than a decade, Jessica has been an essential member of the Summit DD team. For many years she worked diligently in the Records Department but in recent months she has been thriving in a new role as Summit DD’s Inclusion Advocate.
“In time it became evident that we had a chair missing at the table. One essential requirement for the Inclusion Advocate position was that they must be a Summit DD Board Eligible individual. We needed a position that served as an active voice of lived experiences, empathy, equity and flexibility and that’s exactly what Jessica brings to the table, and let me tell you, she does it with flare!” proudly shared Lynnette Klejka, Summit DD Senior Manager of Community Supports and Development.
“Jessica brings to the table years of advocacy and public speaking experience. She is a changemaker and when she speaks, people listen. Summit DD recognizes her role as a model for justice, equity and empathy for all people, with and without disabilities and how, together, our county can and is ensuring all people have access to the world around them while feeling welcome and supported,” Lynnette continued.
Recently, Jessica and her fellow team members have provided inclusion training to over a hundred Head Start Early Childhood Professionals. She also serves as a member of the Summer Camp Training team and Respite Training team where she promotes child engagement through interactive activities, and provides insight on how to adapt these activities to support all children. Jessica is also in the process of building her coaching skills while preparing to use that expertise to help create new community trainings.
“If I can make sure kids get the support they need now to succeed, who knows how far they will go in the future because of the help they receive through accommodations at this point in their life,” Jessica shared. “The part I enjoy most about this position is when I see the impact I make in people’s lives,” she concluded.
Join us in congratulating Jessica on her new role! She is an essential part of the Summit DD family. She is the perfect person to help kick off the importance of National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Learn more about NDEAM here.