March 29, 2020 | post-gazette.com
Medical staff and first responders care for those most in need of treatment. We all remain in utmost admiration of their skills and bravery. Celebrities and philanthropists exemplify extraordinary kindness with generosity and noted pledges to recognize their strength and courage.
There are also those making little more than minimum wage — the direct-care professionals driving and taking public transit to group homes to care for those who have disabilities. These professionals are dedicated to helping those who have little family or no one else to help them. They care for people with autism or other developmental and intellectual disabilities. The facilities often are funded through nonprofits.
As nonprofits, we have no stock to buy back. Our front-line staff commutes to homes from Jefferson Hills to Westmoreland County to Butler to Mt. Lebanon to Churchill.
What happens when those staff members become exposed to a person within the home who has been infected by the coronavirus? They shelter in place within their own home. Who wants to replace them in their current role of providing care?
All of us are moved by their dedication and bravery. When we founded our nonprofit in 1989, we did it to help people with disabilities. Now, the very fabric of their already fragile lives has become tenuous because the staff is stretched so far.
We ask for help from anyone who respects our way of giving freedom and joy to people with disabilities.
For the next 10 weeks, every extra gift will be used to increase the pay for the averaged $12-an-hour direct-care staff employee on the front line. It is combat pay in the war to keep the virus at bay. We could always use the help.
President & CEO