Dear Friends,

As a person who works to improve the lives of Americans with disability, let me impress upon you an important fact. Joining a Community Options Business Advisory Council (COBAC) is an undertaking that offers meaning and reward in unanticipated ways. Not many individuals have the privilege of using the skills and talents drawn from their reservoir of personal experience to influence so importantly the lives of others.

This manual conveys essential information and insight into Community Options, Inc. (COI), a unique organization, and a national non-profit that since 1989 has embraced high expectations for persons with disability to become employed and to live independently in their communities.

COI translates these expectations into realities by supporting individuals in homes of their own, and delivering the required training and job placement assistance that results in employment and gives them the means to shape a better future.

COBACs play a critical role in increasing the rate of progress toward better outcomes for persons with disability by making connections on their behalf in the community at large. This work can take many forms-- you can help determine the COBACs areas of focus as well as define your own. But throughout your tenure communicating to others in society about the personal goals of the individuals with disability with whom you interact as a COBAC member, their hard–wrought competencies and their strong motivation to be employed is compelling and effective.

You might, more specifically, help integrate an individual with disability into community activities or help organize a fundraising event for COI. Or educate friends, colleagues, employers, professional contacts and members of the media about the hard-wrought competencies of persons with disability and their strong motivation to be employed. You might create an apprenticeship in your own business for a person with disability and help expand COI’s employer network through your contacts. Or you might meet with potential employers to explore how hiring individuals with disability contributes to business productivity and ways a business can successfully onboard a newly hired individual.

Understanding the mission of Community Options, Inc. (COI) means recognizing its societal impact. By way of explaining the prior statement, I would ask the following question: have you felt the immense satisfaction, the pride that comes from helping to place a person on a path to economic and personal freedom?

You can make a world of difference! Join our team!


Madeleine Will
Chair of Community Options Business Advisory Council
Montgomery County, Maryland