On March 1, over 40 A TEAM members from around the state met with their legislators at the state capitol. It was truly a remarkable day again this year making it the 4th annual Day for CHOICE! advocacy event. Each year it keeps getting better and better. This year, the group met with the governor! He was very supportive and commended the group for their advocacy. Not to mention, he enjoyed receiving his very own My Work. My Choice. shirt!
Watch Governor Walker's speech - http://ateamwisconsin.org/video/day-for-choice-2016
View Photo's from the day - http://ateamwisconsin.org/photo/albums/day-for-choice-2016
Before I introduce myself, I want to thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to meet with us. I am sure that the rest of my group joins me on this.
My name is John Tschohl. I am a 66 man with Cerebral Palsy. My disability involves my walking balance, speech and hand coordination. Shortly after I received my high school diploma back in 1969, I began working at Opportunities, Inc in Fort Atkinson where members of my group and I are working at the present time. In 1971, I became editor of our consumer newsletter—a position I still hold today. I feel that I am paid a fair wage for the work I do.
In my opinion, the primary goal of any rehabilitation facility is, and should always be, to help as many individuals as possible on jobs in the community. However, a large dose of realism is required here. Not every individual with a disability, no matter what limitation it is-physical or mental, will be successful in a community job. You just cannot put all of us, no matter how convenient and easy it would be, in a large shaker, shake us up and expect us to be all alike. It simply can’t be achieved. As well as I can write articles, I require some assistance during my workday, whether it is with my computer, setting up for breaks and lunches, or help in the restroom. I, also, am a slow worker and don’t fit into the ‘’GET IT DONE...NOW ‘’ mentality.
While many of us can’t get community employment, it shouldn’t mean that we should stay locked in our homes watching our favorite television programs eight hours a day, or in some day care program. Please don’t get me wrong. These alternatives are wonderful and are enjoyed by many, but this lifestyle shouldn’t be forced on everyone. In our community based employment program, adults with disabilities work for around 100 production customers on a daily bases.
I am not just advocating for my friends and myself, but for the many John Tschohls coming after me who don’t have the skills needed to land community employment, but who can be productive in a community based employment setting. These people will be the real winners or losers in this battle.
Again, thanks so much for your valuable time.