Two people CDS Monarch serves went to Monroe Community College Wednesday, Dec. 2nd to speak to students in the human services' Supporting and Communication with Individuals with Disabilities class. Angel, left, and Dan, who are both on the CDS Monarch board of directors, engaged in a casual dialogue with the class. They detailed a few facts about themselves, where they live, and what it's like living with disabilities.
Angel spoke about how, just because he and Dan have disabilities, doesn't mean they're different from anyone else. He said that they "have as much fun as anyone," which was evident by how many jokes he and Dan shared, often sending laughter rumbling through the classroom. They talked about their favorite music, songs, and, when someone asked how much they get paid for working at Unistel's workshops, that they make minimum wage.
One of the students asked where Dan and Angel grew up. Angel detailed a story about how he was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico. In 1977, he came to the Special Olympics in the United States. "You wouldn't know it because I have a gut now," Angel joked. It was there that his family was told Angel would be better off in the United States, so in 1980 Angel and his family moved here.
Dan said he was born in Henrietta. He had been in school for a few years, but when he was 10 years old he had to have back surgery. During his recovery, Dan worked with a tutor where it was discovered that he could read at a fifth-grade level. When he fully recovered from his surgery, Dan entered public school. Today, he has a degree in human services and, in addition to serving on the CDS Monarch board of directors, he is an active member of the Handicapables advocacy group.
Ultimately, Angel and Dan were able to share valuable information and experience with MCC's students. They offered a piece of themselves--a bit of insight--into what it's like for them to live with disabilities. By the end, it was clear that Angel and Dan live as great a life as anyone else.