Emmaus is a leader in creating an inclusive community. With your help, people with developmental disabilities have overcome stigmatization and exclusion. Emmaus’ presence in our community makes it a welcoming place for people of all abilities.
At Emmaus, inclusion isn’t just a buzzword: Over the last decade, Emmaus helped 100% of clients move from a campus/institution and into neighborhoods like yours and mine. Some homeowner’s associations tried to prevent Emmaus clients from moving into their neighborhoods, but Emmaus advocated for our clients’ rights. We also do our best to help our clients be the best neighbors on the block. Now, many neighbors see that living next door to people with developmental disabilities makes their community stronger and more diverse.
Emmaus supports people of all faiths. Our chaplains provide spiritual support and resources to all faith traditions or those with no faith tradition. Instead of placing people into boxes, they encourage dialogue. Emmaus views spiritual health as part of total well-being.
Emmaus advocates at the local, state, and federal levels to ensure that the rights and needs of people with disabilities are embraced in our society. Emmaus provides opportunities for people we support to develop connections with groups, communicate with others, and have their voices be heard. (Last year, 81% of people belonged to a group outside of Emmaus and 94% of people had friendships outside of Emmaus.)
Using social media, printed publications, and events, Emmaus educates the community about disability rights, inclusion and person-first philosophies (like referring to the person first as an individual, then refer to their disability or characteristics – only if it’s necessary to the conversation).
The Emmaus Board of Directors and Executive Leadership team are committed to diversity and dialogue in our workforce as well. Starting in 2018, Emmaus removed barriers to advancement and created pathways to job growth that resulted in more persons of color holding management positions in our client service team (from 21% to 50%!). Emmaus holds listening sessions with employees to offer a chance to give feedback directly to executive leadership in a small group setting.
While the focus is on inclusion for the people we serve, Emmaus’ work is based on the fundamental idea that a society is only healthy when all kinds of people are part of it.