By Marchelle Juliao
Eight hundred seventy-four thousand people have identified as having a disability that interferes with their activities of daily living in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. On January 26th, 2016, I had the opportunity to attend the 874K Rally held at the State’s Capitol in Frankfort. The rally is held annually and is comprised of individuals with disabilities, their families, providers, individuals that advocate for those with disabilities, as well as the organizations that represent individuals with disabilities.
The coalition advocates the principles of self determination and supports for individuals with disabilities that assist them with independent living or living with little assistance in their communities. The group focuses on inclusion, consumer-centered, and person-directed funding. They make sure there is accessible, affordable, accountable, and available transportation for individuals that do not drive but need to be mobile. Integrated housing, assistive technology, and increased access to Hart Supported Living Programs is also on the list for people who work alongside individuals with disabilities to lend their voices.
Attending the 874K Rally has given me a solid perspective on what my future as a rehabilitation counselor is all about. Counseling is not just supporting people, finding jobs, or giving counsel to a family member; I realized that I am assisting individuals in making choices as well as their own way through life. I believe every future counselor should attend the rally for this experience.