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Disability is Ok!

I once wrote about my pastor’s son going to St. Louis for some specified surgery to relieve spasticity related to cerebral palsy (CP).  He is doing very well and the doctors are extremely pleased with the outcome. Pastor said something about it in one of his sermons which sincerely hit home with me. In preparing to make the trip from Searcy, Arkansas to St. Louis, my pastor asked his son if he was still feeling good about the pending surgery. The response was positive and then further explained: “You know daddy, I’m really not that disappointed with the life I have now.” Dad was dumbfounded!

Those not having to deal with disability in the first-person (they themselves afflicted), often try to push or force “cures,” “healing processes,” or the latest technologies on to those they care for.  For certain, this desire to see a son, daughter, brother or sister cured of their disability stems from a deep, sincere love.

Sometimes though, as stated above, people with disabilities are satisfied to live the life that has been dealt them.  It’s not that bad.  Our desires to see improvements in the quality of life of others are good, commendable and probably natural, especially in the eyes of loving parents.  And, even though parents often know what’s best, it is a good idea (most of the time) to include “everyone” in the decision-making process.

Discuss disabilities with loved ones.  If they are comfortable with life the way life is, it may be best to simply love them like you always have and leave well enough alone.  Just some food for thought!

Thank you for your support. Feel free to call us or email us for copies of brochures like “The Spirit of Volunteerism” or “Faith In Action Caregivers Alliance” that were produced by employees with disabilities right here at Mays Mission.

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Programs

David Marrs: Superhero!

A lot of our donors know that David Marrs is an integral part of the Mays Mission Production Team and has never let his disability hold him down. But you may not know that David Marrs is also heavily involved with the Heber Springs Chamber of Commerce as a volunteer in our community.

David has been volunteering with the Chamber for several years now pitching in at local business grand openings and community events like the local fireworks extravaganza over the Fourth of July every year and big tourist attractions like the upcoming local Springfest where David assists locals and tourists alike in the attractions. David is on a first name basis with many local politicians and business owners because of his volunteering efforts.

The folks at the Chamber of Commerce have made David an ‘Ambassador’ as a representative of Mays Mission and is a past recipient of the Chamber of Commerce ‘Super Hero’ Award for his volunteering achievements. Mays Mission for the Handicapped is proud of David and his community heroics!

David meeting Arkansas Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin at a recent Chamber of Commerce Banquet.

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Programs

Helping John

We recently helped John ‘Indian’ Sparks, a double amputee, get off the streets. John was homeless and in a wheel chair when a local ministry told us about him. He had no one else left to turn to and no where else to go. We found a hotel for him until more permanent housing could be found.

Finding a wheelchair accessible hotel room for a few nights until more permanent housing could be found proved difficult. One would assume that over 30 years after the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), access and design of modern buildings would be accessible to all. But, alas, that is not the case. In instances like this, I strongly encourage you to eagerly and politely advise the establishment of the inconvenience they have caused and ask that it be corrected sometime in the near future.

While we were helping John find a place to stay we also picked up food from a local food bank for him and eventually John was able to find more permanent housing and get off the streets thanks to Mays Mission’s wonderful donors.

If you would like to advocate on behalf of people like John we have free brochures we can provided you like ‘The Americans With Disabilities Act’ and ‘Making Your Community More Accessible’ that can help. These brochures were printed by employees with disabilities at Mays Mission.

Positive Language Empowers!

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Interacting with people who have disabilities

We get asked a lot for help in this area, especially in workplaces, so here are some quick points to always remember:

Don’t make assumptions about people or their disabilities. If you have a question about what to do, how to do it, what language, or terminology to use, or what assistance to offer, ask the person.

Do not assume that a person with a disability is disabled in all areas of life.

Before you help someone with a disability, ask if they’d like help. In some cases, even a person who appears to be struggling is fine and would prefer to complete the task without assistance.

Look for potential obstacles for people with mobility or sensory limitations in your workplace. Identify how you might have those obstacles removed.

When writing or speaking about people with disabilities, use “people first” language: “person with a disability” versus “disabled person.”

And, as always, focus on ability, not disability!

Thank you for your support! For more information call us, message us, or email us at info@maysmission.org for a free, no strings attached copies of our brochures ‘Making Your Community More Accessible’ or ‘The Americans With Disabilities Act’ to help advocate in your community. These brochures were produced by employees with disabilities right here at Mays Mission.

Thanks for your support!

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Programs

Exposure Breeds Comfort

For many people who have little exposure or experience with a disabled individual, the initial focus of the new relationship, unfortunately, is on the disability. As we have come to know, getting truly acquainted with someone takes much more than concentrating on physical characteristics. Focusing on the disability instead of the inner-beauty and personality causes uneasiness. A true and lasting relationship will take much longer to develop. If the disability is deafness, you may become very self-conscious about what you are not saying or communicating with your hands. If the disability is blindness, you may become self-conscious about pointing or saying phrases such as “see you later,” and so on. The truth is that you will probably be uneasy until your relationship has had time to develop. Focusing on a disability will only cause delay in your maturing relationship. Consider this, that you too, must be yourself in order for the good and healthy relationship to properly develop. This is true of all relationships, not simply with the disabled. In a “normal” relationship, factors such as gender, age, race, and physical features seem very pronounced when we first meet. These features quickly become secondary, and we eventually lose awareness of them completely. The same can and should be true when getting to know the disabled. Be at ease. Be yourself. Treat your new-found friend the same way that you would like to be treated. That’s the best way to develop and nurture a relationship that is long and lasting.

Please feel free to share in the comments section. If you would like more information call us at 1-888-503-7955 or email us at info@maysmission.org and thank you for supporting people with disabilities!

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Programs

Our founder’s dream and his mission

The late Ewing W. Mays founded Mays Mission, a non-profit organization…


…in order to give help, encouragement and guidance to the physically and mentally disabled.
As a double amputee (he lost both of his legs during World War II), Ewing knew all to well the anguish and heartache of being disabled. He was only 25 years old when he lost his legs.


For two years he lay in a hospital bed at McCloskey General Hospital in Temple, Texas undergoing one operation after another before being fitted for artificial legs.


Not once did a person with a similar disability ever visit him. No effort was made to offer him encouragement or to help him understand how to overcome his disability.


He found himself wishing for a peaceful death.


He just couldn’t stand the torture, pain and worry of being a burden to his family – of never being able to live as a whole person again.


But God knew his needs better than he did, and He answered Ewing’s prayers with a vocation and a dream…


…to use his disability as a way to help others like him to build a place where disabled people could rebuild their lives. Ewing worked hard at his spiritual and physical therapy, and, with the help of two artificial limbs, was soon able to walk as well as anyone.


In 1951, God opened new doors to him and, as National Commander of the Disabled American Veterans, he toured the military hospitals of Korea and Japan.


His mission was simple – to visit the wounded servicemen, both American and South Korean…
…more than 80,000 men who were facing amputations and had no one to understand their grief or despair.


As he moved from bed to bed, his mind began recording things that seemed to impress those young men with crippled bodies.


And this set the course God had planned for the rest of Ewing Mays’ life.


Year after year, he toured military hospitals across America giving encouragement and stressing back in 1967:


“It’s ability, not disability, that counts.”


During one hospital visit, Gerald D. Schroeder, another young double amputee, asked Ewing how much pressure he could take on the stumps of his legs.


Ewing simply lifted the soldier from his wheelchair, held him for a few minutes and replied, “That’s how much!”


Letters soon began pouring in from hospitals he had visited, requesting that he return…


…newspapers featured articles on the effectiveness of his special brand of therapy and explained how it was changing the lives of “hopeless” young people.


That’s when he started dreaming about building the New Hope Center – a facility where, in addition to offering physical, emotional and spiritual support, training could be provided in various types of work. And we’ve been able to do just that since our opening in 1982.

Unemployment is one of the most profound issues facing the disability community. Only 17% of people with disabilities report being in the labor force, compared to 64% of non-disabled adults. People with disabilities remain twice as likely to drop out of high school, henceforth no skills. In fact, the employment rate for all people with disabilities has remained relatively constant since 1986.


That is why our on-the-job training is so important.

If you would like more information on our On-The-Job Training program call us or email us at info@maysmission.org and we will be glad to provide you with some of our free brochures to hand out to employers in your area and let them know that hiring the disabled is smart business! Thank you for your support!