On Friday, March 10th at 11 a.m. Laurel Mayor Johnny Magee met with members of the ARC of the Pine Belt Region to recognize March as Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities (IDD) Awareness Month.
March was first recognized as such in 1987 when President Ronald Regan issued a public proclamation to encourage Americans to provide those with intellectual/developmental disabilities “the encouragement and opportunities they need to lead productive lives and to achieve their full potential.”
Since then, many states and municipalities have continued the tradition and worked to bring awareness to the issues facing individuals with IDD to members of their local communities.
The ARC of the Pine Belt Region, which began in 1962, has been working with community members to provide recreational services and enrichment programs to individuals with IDD throughout the Pine Belt. “We plan social events for people with IDD so that they can have fun stuff to do in the community, “ Executive Director Melanie Jacobsen explained. The organization hosts monthly community outings for local individuals with IDD. These events include movie nights, trips to the zoo, bowling nights, and annual Valentine and Christmas parties.
Community members interested in volunteering or offering financial support for the ARC of the Pine Belt Region can contact Jacobsen at 601.498.5693.
The proclamation read as follows:
Whereas, some of the citizens of the City of Laurel have intellectual or developmental disabilities; and
Whereas, people with intellectual or developmental disabilities share the same desires as other Mississippians including goals in education, meaningful work, and an independent community life; and
Whereas, Mississippians with intellectual or developmental disabilities have the ability and the right to work, worship, learn, and enjoy life wherever they choose; and
Whereas, Mississippians with intellectual or developmental disabilities contribute significantly to their schools, families, relationships, neighborhoods, faith communities, and the workforce; and
Whereas, people with intellectual or developmental disabilities deserve the total support, respect, and acceptance of all citizens of the City of Laurel
Now, therefore, I Johnny Magee, Mayor of the City of Laurel, hereby proclaim the month of March 2023 as
Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month
In the City of Laurel and encourage all citizens to join me in recognizing the unique strengths and contributions of people with intellectual or developmental disabilities and in showing appreciation for the ways in which they enrich the City of Laurel and make it a better place to live for everyone.
In witness thereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the City of Laurel, Mississippi, to be affixed this the 10th day of March, A.D. 2023.