Peckham, Inc. operates IEL's Ready to Achieve Mentoring Program (RAMP) in Lansing, Michigan. RAMP is a career-focused mentoring program for youth with disabilities.
In the Lansing RAMP community session at Peckham Inc., students have been talking about the ADA and its importance. The RAMP Specialist at Peckham shared with the students how a different RAMP site wrote a letter to a restaurant advocating that they build a ramp so customers who are in wheelchairs have easy accessibility. This led the Lansing group to start talking about restaurants in the area and their accommodations or lack thereof. The Lansing RAMP students decided to follow suit and also write a letter to a restaurant in the area that needs to improve their accommodations for folks with disabilities.
Students were also posed with the question, what does “disability” mean to you? They responded by explaining that someone with a disability is someone who has a barrier or problem that is sometimes unseen which can prevent them from achieving tasks and goals. The Lansing youth have a wide assortment of diagnoses including physical disabilities, ADHD, anxiety, PTSD, heart conditions, learning disabilities, and language impairments.
The Lansing RAMP students seemed to enjoy learning about the ADA and voiced how they want to help others with disabilities to achieve their full potential. The youth have been discussing ways that they could help people with disabilities. One way they came up with is to be kind to all people no matter what their abilities are; this includes to not stare at others who have physical differences and to help others feel included.
Without the ADA the students believe that RAMP would not be possible and Peckham Inc. would probably be a totally different company. The youth are grateful for all that has happened so far and can’t wait for the next 25 years to see more accommodations and inclusion activities for people with disabilities. The Lansing RAMP youth also want to thank OJJDP, IEL and Peckham Inc. for supporting a program like RAMP where they have a safe place to learn, grow, and have a second family.
The Lansing RAMP students are planning a trip to the State Capitol on September 17th to engage with other individuals in the state in celebration of ADA’s 25th Anniversary. This Celebration is from 9 am to 3 pm and individuals from Peckham, Inc. are planning on speaking and participating. This is a great opportunity for the Lansing RAMP students to start advocating for themselves and others.