For some, staying at home during the pandemic posed a challenge mentally and emotionally. For others, it meant a time of personal and professional growth, like The League’s Advocacy Coordinator, Luke Labas. In April, Luke enrolled in the University of Missouri’s ADA Coordinator Training Certification Program. This week, Luke completed his final certification exams and became the organization’s first certified ADA Coordinator.
The League celebrates 70 years as an organization serving all people with all types of disabilities in its Northeast Indiana service area. It takes pride in placing advocacy at the heart of all of its programs and services, as well as being involved in local, state, and government committees and advisory boards to ensure that people with disabilities have a voice at the table and are represented during the planning and development phases of many community projects. Promenade Park is just one example of how advocacy by The League can result in fully inclusive and accessible development projects in our community.
The organization can leverage the expertise of Luke to educate consumers and the general public on the minimum requirements for ADA compliance and serve as a resource on how area businesses, organizations and government can go above and beyond to increase access and ensure full inclusion for all in our community. Full inclusion is not guaranteed by law, the law is just the first step.
As a person with a disability, Luke can use his personal experience and professional knowledge to be a strong advocate for others with disabilities. He states “My hope is to share my knowledge with individuals with disabilities to have the self-confidence to know their rights and advocate for them. I want them to be able to say ‘here are my rights and I’m going to exercise and defend them,’ ’’ Luke continues, “I want every aspect of our community to become as barrier free as possible, leading to a more accurate reflection of the people within our community. Participation through employment, recreation and overall engagement with and for people with disabilities will get us there.”
Luke has organized a peer advocacy group at The League, made of people with disabilities and area leaders to work together as a united voice towards a community that embraces full inclusion for all people of all abilities.
For more information about The League, to get involved as a volunteer advocate or to make a donation, contact The League at 260.441.0551 or learn more by going to www.the-league.org.