A recent PSA that has gone viral and can be seen across TV stations around the country is promoting positive employment for people with disabilities. Sponsored by the Campaign for Disability Employment, the PSA features people of all ages and various disabilities (some more apparent than others) declaring how they have gotten to where they are and why they do what they do.
The PSA opens with a little girl declaring: “Because my parents told me I have to be responsible.” The next scene spotlights a young woman in a wheelchair near a swimming pool proclaiming: “Because my first coach told me ‘you can do this,’” followed by a young man with his teacher in a classroom saying: “Because my teacher helped me see the choices.”
Other individuals go onto explain the reasons they are successful, like the young man on a sports field who says: “Because my coach treated me like everybody else,” or the employee with Downs Syndrome proudly exclaiming: “Because my boss showed me how to do a good job.” The last individual highlighted is a business woman wearing a smart suit and speaking at a podium from her wheelchair stating the reason for her success: “Because a mentor believed in my potential.”
Those are just some of the reasons that the individuals in the PSA are where they are today and why they have achieved what they have been able to. A combination of their gifts, talents and hard work in addition to someone who recognized their potential and mentored them into a growing success.
At the end, the individuals ask: “What can YOU do?”
The PSA is sponsored by the "What Can You Do?" campaign, a campaign sponsored by several organizations to promote employment for people with disabilities. If you visit their website, you’ll find resources for employers, people with disabilities, youth with disabilities and families and educators. Their employer page provides excellent resources and lays out the benefits that employers may receive for employing people with disabilities. One of the campaign’s goals is to point out that it is what all employees can do that matters, not what their disability may limit them in doing.
The effort is trying to spread awareness that young people with disabilities should grow up expecting to succeed and contribute and that mentors, families, and communities should support and encourage that expectation. Did you know that people with disabilities represent the third largest market segment in the U.S.? As the aforementioned website states, if you add in the families and friends of people with disabilities, it adds up to a trillion dollars in purchasing power!
My favorite part of the PSA and “What can you do?” campaign is that it sets high expectations for not only people with disabilities but employers, mentors, family and friends. It challenges people with disabilities to set the bar high and go for their goals. We all have something to contribute. Imagine the growth that our economy and our communities could experience if we all set the bar higher!
You can watch the entire PSA here:
What are your thoughts on the "What can you do?" campaign? How do you think we can encourage people with disabilities and employers in our communities to keep setting the bar higher? Share your thoughts in the comments!