Here in the Magnolia State, there's an organization helping provide a better way of life for people living with disabilities. The organization "Life of Mississippi" has served more than 35,000 individuals, and while that may seem like a lot, there's room to help so many more.
Sonia Fogal can take a few steps, but after a car accident in 1997 she's relied mainly on her wheelchair to get around. Fogal's wheelchair is pretty noticeable, but she wants you to notice her first."They don't see the person first they see my wheelchair they see the disability first and to me that can be very frustrating," says Fogal.
After her accident, Fogal sought help from "LIFE of Mississippi, Inc." It's an organization helping individuals with disabilities live independently. After she received help from LIFE, Fogal actually got a job there herself. She says, "it's wonderful knowing that you helped somebody find an answer to a question that they did not even realize they had. To me it's one of the most empowering things I can do as a person with a disability."
LIFE has also made a difference in Christina Tims life. Tims was born with achondroplasia or dwarfism, but that hasn't stopped her from living a full life.
"Actually I'm a closing manager at McDade's on Fortification, so that's why I say anybody with a disability is just like everybody else, we can all do the same thing."
In addition to providing services to people with disabilities, LIFE also wants to educate the general public about not using derogatory phrases, like handicapped, retarded, midget and dumb.
Joshua Friedel, the Director of Resource Development for LIFE says "people want to be called people with disabilities, they want you to see the individual first, you say handicapped, you in turn see someone with a handicapped first."
Fogal says, "look at me as a person you know I consider myself a person with a disability, not a disability."
Headquarters for LIFE of Mississippi, Inc. is located at 1304 Vine Street in Jackson, MS. You can contact the organization by calling 601-969-4009. You can also go to their website a http://www.lifeofms.com/index.php.
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