This is a question that deserves much pondering. Often, we look around and we readily can see the discrepancies of all people living in the world, or at least we think we do. For a moment let’s consider where the lives of the mentally challenged “matter” in our community.

My daughter is a 40-year-old young lady with Down Syndrome who lives in a community group home environment where she receives great care and unconditional love. She is well aware of her rights and is learning the responsibilities that go along with having certain rights. She is bright, well-mannered and has been educated by the public school systems both in Winchester and Clarke County. But unfortunately, all of these positive attributes have not helped her gain meaningful employment in Frederick County, Winchester City, Warren County or Clarke County. These individuals have job coaches that stay with them on the job to train, mentor and work with the company leaders to make them successful employees.

She goes to the library with her job coaches and learns to fill out applications and resumes, which she sends to local businesses. Sometimes she gets called for an interview and is told she will receive a call back or sometimes she is on an interview and is left sitting for as long as two hours waiting for someone to come and interview her, which never happens. She and her job coach leave those businesses without as much as an acknowledgment.

Donna McDonald is a resident of Berryville.

(2) comments


Is this something that perhaps NW Works could offer some assistance with, I believe they have programs that help people such as your daughter find employment. Sorry if this is something you've looked into or isn't an appropriate suggestion for her situation, just was the first thing that came to mind.


She stated she has a job coach, more than likely that job coach is from NW Works. In order to obtain assistance from NW Works you must have a medicaid waiver in place. In order to get that there are many steps and a very long wait list. One also must go through DARS prior to obtaining NW Works assistance. My daughter is on the wait list and may be there for a long time, we have been waiting for over two years already to be able to obtain assistance from NW Works. It is not their fault that Virginia is slow.

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