It can feel lonely and overwhelming being a parent to special needs children, but Washtenaw Association for Community Advocacy (ACA) exists to fight for the rights of the developmentally disabled and help them live a life that’s all their own.
“A lot of the times, as a parent, you feel very all alone in the fight and I don’t think any parent should ever feel like that, and it’s overwhelming to know where to start,” said Kathy Homan, president/CEO of Washtenaw ACA.
Washtenaw ACA began in 1949 when a group of parents banded together to seek out better educational opportunities for their mentally-disabled children. Today, ACA is a leader in advocating for the rights of the disabled throughout the state of Michigan and has a successful track record of helping the mentally and physically disabled find employment, receive the financial help in which they may be entitled, gain transportation, and help them stay in their own homes—a benefit that ACA takes very seriously.
“There’s a big movement now to bring institutions back…that really scares us. It’s not individual living when somebody tells you to get up, what to eat, and what to do all day long,” Kathy said. “We believe people should be in their communities, in their own homes, doing what they want to do.”
Kathy came to the organization in 2009 as a Community Work Incentives Coordinator. In June of 2013, she stepped in as president of the organization, bringing a wealth of experience raising two disabled children of her own.
“When we look at society right now, the most repressed group are people with developmental disabilities and the systems are so complex that you need some expertise to get through them and to make sure their rights are protected,” Kathy said. “Most people still see people with disabilities as second-class citizens.”
1100 N. Main St. #205, Ann Arbor. For more information on Washtenaw ACA, call 734-662-1256 or visit washtenawaca.org.