“Some people feel that our job is to teach individuals with disabilities, but what we learn from them is so much more than any classroom can provide.”
Lolita, welcome to the Open Options Board of Directors! Why did you initially become interested in joining us?
I was introduced to Open Option by Vincent Bustamante (CEO) we worked together many eons ago in a residential setting and it seemed fitting that I become involved with the agency. I appreciate being invited to be a part of such a great agency working to help those with intellectual and developmental disabilities know their total worth.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I was born in raised in the KCMO area. I currently live in Raytown with my fiancé’ son and or 2 dogs. I have worked in the IDD field almost all of my working years, but have been around the population since birth, as my mom has a disability. She was born with Cerebral Palsy and always taught me to never let a disability prevent you from reaching your full capabilities. I took these life lessons to heart watching her become as independent as possible and pushing my brother and I to do the same. I currently as a Service Coordinator for an agency in Wyandotte County
What excites you most about the mission of Open Options?
The mission is reflective of the name. They are open to provide supports to a broad spectrum of individuals and ensure that the services are individualized. Open Options wants people to grow to reach their full potential. It’s impossible to not get excited about that.
What do you wish other people knew about developmental and intellectual disabilities?
That people with intellectual and developmental disabilities want the same things as us, to be acknowledged and be treated with dignity, respect and to be loved. They also want to be touched. A handshake, a hug or even a fist bump that may be small to us could mean the world to someone who has little to no contact with another.
How rewarding is it to know someone with a disability?
It is amazing to know someone with a disability because they can help us see things that we may normally take for granted. The lessons that we can learn from them are priceless.