By Steve Germani
The University of Notre Dame is exactly 25.8 miles from ADEC’s administrative offices in Bristol, Indiana. This is not quite as far as the distance traveled in running a marathon (26.2 miles). Which, as I sit here putting my thoughts on paper, makes me realize how incredibly far I still need to travel to reach my goal of running the Chicago Marathon on Sunday, October 13 (http://www.chicagomarathon.com/) of this year. I can’t even imagine running from my office to Notre Dame! But when I think about why I originally established this goal for myself, I’m able to quickly find the inspiration and motivation to accomplish my goal.
I will be running 26 miles in an effort to place 26 ADEC clients in jobs throughout the Michiana area this calendar year. Many people use marathons as a vehicle for raising money for their favorite charitable cause. This is a very similar model, with the difference being that I’m challenging local businesses to sponsor each mile I run by hiring an ADEC client seeking community employment. I’m a very simple person, which is why I’m calling this initiative “26 miles for 26 jobs.”
I don’t consider myself a “runner.” I’ve always attempted to stay in decent physical condition, but I’ve rarely pushed myself beyond my comfort zone since I was in high school athletics. I’m nervous about establishing this challenge for myself. Yet, at the same time, I’m excited about using this effort as a means for telling a much more important story. The story of how there are dozens and dozens of adults with disabilities in our communities who are seeking paid employment despite the (mis)perception that they do not possess the abilities, skills or talents to carry out the functions of a particular job.
Over the course of the next six or seven months, I will periodically be sharing not only the enjoyment (i.e., pain and discomfort) of my training, but also the stories of ADEC clients successfully employed in our community as well as those clients currently seeking employment. I hope you will follow me as I take this journey… and also learn from the many other unique perspectives that will be shared through this blog!
Read more about Steve’s cause in the Elkhart Truth.<