Pod Cast Listings
Summary by Nancy G. Holman
Today Joe Reinecker features Mary Laskowski, Independent Living (IL) Coordinator at the Independence SKIL branch office. Joe and Mary discuss inclusion, a favorite topic of Mary’s, and how SKIL is making a real difference in people’s lives.
Sometimes people are excluded from aspects of life instead of being included, and we all know how that feels. Inclusion for everyone, including people with disabilities, is what drives Mary and her work at Independence SKIL.
“Sometimes, we ignore that (inclusion) and we don’t even know who’s not included,” Laskowski said.
The Independence SKIL office is known for helping people, she noted. Inclusion is very important because a community is not strong unless the people who live in it act responsibly. Reaching out to those who have been isolated or eliminated from community participation is what SKIL does.
Laskowski said SKIL’s open-door policy is well-known in Independence.
“If somebody has a problem, no matter what it is, they’re welcome to come in and talk and if I can find a resource for them to help them better their lives, I do so,” she said. “We present an attitude of acceptance, concern and caring, and they usually come to us.”
Sometimes people have been hurt so much by their life experiences that they lose all sense of trust and belonging, Laskowski said.
“(And) it becomes an emotional difficulty, and it’s going to take a miracle for them to respond,” she said. “But, you know, they do know that they’re cared for and that they can come here…they won’t be judged, they won’t be criticized, they can come here and be fully accepted.”
SKIL offers acceptance and assistance to many who have a wide variety of needs, including housing, utilities, food and independent living skills help, and home and community-based services.
Independence SKIL is a vital part of the Montgomery County community. Laskowski has been an IL coordinator there for going on five years. Listen to the entire interview now.