Although Mother Nature may not have received the memo, we have entered the month of March — which just happens to be one of our favorite months here at ADEC. It is because March is celebrated across the country as Disabilities Awareness Month.

This year, the Greater Elkhart Chamber of Commerce helped us kick off the celebrations in a big way by naming ADEC the 2018 Nonprofit of the Year.

I was humbled to accept the award at the Chamber’s Annual Meeting on behalf of our employees, our Board of Directors and the people we serve at ADEC.

We are thankful to the Chamber for recognizing ADEC’s 67-year legacy of providing choice and possibility to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in our community.

Since our beginning back in 1952, ADEC has worked to ensure a place in the community for people with disabilities. Even our logo — the flame in the center of a triangle — speaks to that original mission. ADEC was originally named “Aux Chandelles,” which loosely translates from Dutch as “Into the Light.”

For 67 years, ADEC has been bringing the people we serve  out of the darkness of institutions and “Into the Light” of inclusion. We have spent decades advocating for and serving these individuals while showing the community that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities deserve to lead a life of their own filled with choice and possibility — just like anyone else.

The Chamber award helps bring ADEC’s mission “Into the Light” in our community, and we are grateful for the support.

We invite the community to get to know ADEC more by stopping by our new Gaining Grounds Center (located at 19670 S.R. 120 in Bristol), featuring a full-service coffee shop and a retail store stocked with incredible pieces created by the people we serve. Stop in for a cappuccino and leave with a new understanding of our mission.

Thank you to all for making northern Indiana an inclusive community for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Donna L. Belusar, CEO/President