Do you remember your last trip to the grocery store? Or the department store? Perhaps you saw someone working there who had a visible disability (note: many disabilities are invisible).

Odds are, if you saw someone on the job who has an intellectual or developmental disability, they got that position through an organization like Community Living (or even Community Living if you’re in Frederick!)

Many people see people with IDD/DD on the job and might not know that there is a support network operating behind the scenes to assist that individual. As the expression goes, no one is an island. No one becomes successful completely on their own. Community Living exists to provide the support the people we serve need to reach their success — however they define that for themselves. But we operate at as far a distance as we can to ensure the people we serve have independence and dignity.

We have four departments: residential, vocational, support services, and retirement. Our vocational services department finds positions for many of the people you see at some stores around town. Like Karli, right, who works at TJ Maxx, or David, left, who works at Planet Fitness.

Many people in supported employment here at CLI require the help of a job coach throughout the length of their tenure in their position. Others are able to graduate beyond a

job coach and work independently. Whatever they need, we’re here to provide it. We’re here to help them reach their goals.

Because organizations like ours often operate more behind-the-scenes, it can be hard for people in the community to understand the importance of what we do. But without the support of donors and sponsors, we wouldn’t be able to offer these services — not just in our Vocational Services department, but across our entire agency.

Your support might not buy a new building or fund a research project. But it will help someone with an intellectual/developmental disability reach their dreams of having a job. It will help someone see their worth. It will make a difference to the people we support. And to us, that’s everything.