March is Development Disabilities Awareness Month, which raises awareness and fosters inclusion of people with developmental disabilities in all areas of community life.
President Ronald Reagan was the first to acknowledge the month, by proclamation in 1987 declaring the need to “increase public awareness of the needs and potential of Americans with developmental disabilities.”
Locally, Park Lawn was founded in 1955 by a small group of parents who challenged national and state legislatures that only provided funding for the education of children deemed “educable.”
The parents were determined to provide opportunities to help the children lead active and productive lives. Parents began teaching their children in classroom space donated by a church in Evergreen Park.
In 1968 state funding became available to hire professional staff and construct the first permanent school facility in Oak Lawn. Named after the communities of its origin, Park Lawn soon became a leading resource of hope and opportunity for individuals with developmental disabilities.
More than 6 million Americans with developmental disabilities live, work, play, and contribute to our cities and nation alongside neighbors with and without disabilities. Park Lawn is attempting to raise awareness about the inclusion of people with developmental disabilities in all areas of community life, as well as awareness to the barriers that people with disabilities still sometimes face in connecting to the communities in which they live. DD Awareness Month covers three main areas: education, employment and community living.
Park Lawn accepts donations and fundraising is one way that the not for profit organization raises awareness to support its cause. Since last February, Park Lawn has had “Queen of Hearts Raffle”. The drawing is every Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. and the last ticket is sold at 6:45 p.m.
Tickets are $5 for six tickets and the winner receives 60 percent of the pot while Park Lawn receives 40 percent.
Tickets are being sold at “At the Office Sports Bar & Grill”, 4901 Cal Sag Road, Crestwood. The hours for At the Office Sports Bar and Grill for the sale are Monday through Sunday 11 a.m. until 2 a.m. Tickets are also available at Park Lawn at 10833 Laporte Ave. and 5040 W. 111th St., in Oak Lawn, Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. until 4 p.m.
Since 1955, Park Lawn’s mission is to provide services that promote independence, choice, and access to community living for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.