swa5The month of June is a very special month for us at Southwest Airlines. This June we celebrate our 40th Anniversary!

Twenty years ago, our 20th Anniversary Issue of LuvLines (Southwest Airlines' Corporate Newsletter) had a beautiful poem on the cover page – "Dare to Dream" by John Turnipseed. This is a very appropriate poem for the People at Southwest Airlines – because we dare to dream! As we showcase the work of Access to Independence, I thought the poem was a special way to introduce them to you – because they too, dare to dream! I hope their work and dreams inspire you to support this wonderful organization.

 

 

Some people only look at life through eyes that seldom gleam
while others look beyond today as they're guided by a dream
And the dreamers can't be sidetracked by dissenters who may laugh
for only they alone can know how special is their path
But dreams aren't captured easily;
there's much work before you're through
but the time and efforts are all worthwhile
when the impossible comes true
And dreams have strength in numbers
for when a common goal is shared
the once impossible comes true because of all who cared
And once it's seen as reality a dream has just begun
for magically from dreams come dreams
And a walk becomes a run
But with growth of course comes obstacles
and with obstacles come fear
but the dream that is worth dreaming
finds its way to the dear
And the dream continues growing
Reaching heights before unseen
And it's all because of the courage of the dreamers
and their dream.

Thank you, Access to Independence, for creating a world of possibilities!

 

swa1Thirty-five years ago, San Diegans with disabilities established an Independent Living Center—nonresidential, cross-disability, non-profit corporations that provide services to people with disabilities to help them live independently; which was at the time only the third establishment of its kind in the country. Today that organization is known as Access to Independence and it is thriving and changing lives every day.

swa2People with disabilities are the largest minority group in our nation—in fact, more than 190,000 San Diegans face challenges everyday due to a disability, whether it is a reality they have lived with since birth or the result of an accident, illness or even aging. Access to Independence provides services to people with disabilities to help maximize their independence and fully integrate them into their communities. Through its comprehensive programs, such as peer counseling, independent living skills, housing options, employment, and assistive technology, Access to Independence strives to give people living with disabilities the tools needed to live and work more autonomously, to educate others and to be their own advocate. The organization serves about 5,000 consumers in San Diego and Imperial Counties annually through direct participation in programs and provides information and referral service to 11,000 more.

swa3One such program, that Access to Independence is dedicated to developing, is Employment Services, which prepares people with disabilities to join the workforce and assists employers in finding the right job candidate. Since the program's inception less than one year ago, Employment Services has assisted 40 individuals in successfully securing employment. People with disabilities, like everyone else, want to achieve the American Dream — a job, home and family, and the freedom to participate fully in the life of their community. Employers understand the value in employing a motivated individual that brings access to new markets and offers innovative and effective ways of doing business, and Access to Independence believes that nothing contributes more to an individual's independence and confidence than gainful employment.

swa4The feeling of freedom, of independence—an innate human need—is what Access to Independence strives to give each of the consumers it serves. While the organization's vision and mission are vast—systems change to promote the human and civil rights of all people with disabilities—the results are clear. Access to Independence creates possibilities: for people who have disabilities to be autonomous, navigate their own future and fully integrate into and contribute to their communities.

 

Lidia S. Martinez
Manager, Community Affairs & Grassroots
Southwest Airlines

 Lidia S. Martinez 2014

 

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