Your generous support helps people with disabilities live lives without limits, every day.
Are you a UCP of Eastern CT family member? Tell us your success story. Would you like to have a staff member recognized for their amazing efforts? We’ll share it here ! Email your story to firstname.lastname@example.org
We believe entrepreneurship opens doors to independence.
Watch this video to see how we help people with disabilities in CT combine their passion and pride to fulfill their dreams of financial independence. UCP’s employment team has helped Karyn Jones (KJ) set up her own business. We helped her with funding, business planning and marketing. KJ is now her own boss. She owns K.J. enterprises, an artisan home-based business in New London County. You can also find her work online at this link: https://www.etsy.com/shop/GemsandJokesByKaryn?ref=search_shop_redirect
This month, Karyn will be attending the Niantic Farmers Market on Sunday March 24th (10-2), in front of the L&M Lobby Shop on Friday March 29th (10-1), and the Niantic Farmers Market again on Sunday March 31 (10-2). She will be selling floral wreaths, decorative vases, handmade jewelry, hair pins, and purses. Come visit her to see what’s new!
From a life of existence to acceptance and full inclusion.
When Marie was growing up in North Branford, CT, she was the only known person in town with Cerebral Palsy (CP). She attended a completely non-accessible public school system, since The ADA Act was yet enforced. When she attended community college, that journey took 10 years to complete and the support of her mom, to get a degree in Human Services.
When she was in her 20s and 30s, she found it painful to handle watching her friends and siblings find relationships, get married and land jobs. Feeling isolated and without hope, Marie sought local support for her condition from UCP of Eastern CT. That was about 5 years ago.
UCP of Eastern CT had the program Marie was looking for — a robust Mentor Program that helped her understand CP through education and sharing experiences with others. “One of the first people I met was a woman with CP who was 90 years old,” Marie reminisced. “Listening to her tell stories about her life gave me hope that I too could have relationships, get married and live for a long time.”
Today, Marie not only participates in the Mentor Program at UCP, she helps lead it. She plans relevant topics from safety and social security issues to sign language know-how. She recruits others to join, she volunteers her time and advocates tirelessly for young adults with disabilities to enhance independence in the workforce and their communities. In fact, that has become her life mission as she seeks a wider audience online, as a national blogger.
Marie has created several social media sites, under the umbrella name: WOWCP which stands for: Working Out With CP. The way she explains it, “that could include anything from learning how to put on your shoes and socks to getting a job and starting a family.”
She has become a subject matter expert in the Cerebral Palsy field with more than 1000 followers and over a half dozen social media sites that include meaningful content ranging from government and politics to issues “for women only” — as well as healthy eating and physical education.
“I’m a watcher,” Marie says. “That’s how I learn, by watching and listening.” With her ever-expanding online community, she continues to gain knowledge and give back by hearing what others have to say and sharing her stories of hope — to an audience that is now limitless.
“My parents learned from UCP of Eastern Connecticut that education was the answer,” Marie added. When I was very young, they encouraged me to stand before my classmates in public school to teach them about my disease. Some kids made fun of me at first, but once they understood my condition, then they knew me as Marie, and they knew my disability was not going to hurt them…or me. That was a significant lesson for me to learn — that knowledge is understanding.”
“UCP has helped me blossom into the person I didn’t know was there. The door was locked. I was afraid to understand. Now I’m aware and I live a full life. UCP taught me acceptance — they have an open door policy — if you have a disability, not just CP, they help you out. And now, that’s what I do too on my national sites.” (links to Marie’s sites)
“My dream is to establish a non-profit to create a community where young adults can meet, interact and take workshops online,” Marie explains. “We can dream right!”