I am leaving V-LINC after more than twelve years as its executive director. Twelve years seems like a very short time suddenly. When I began at VME (Volunteers for Medical Engineering), we were a small nonprofit with only two computers that had Internet access (dial up). The gracious Bob Burns, then the head of DORS (MSDE’s Division of Rehabilitation Services), hooked VME up to the building’s Internet service immediately when we asked for his help. VME was home to many engineers who wanted to design and build solutions for people with disabilities. In 2009 we began to look for partners to strengthen VME and to expand our services. LINC (Learning Independence Through Computers) was interested in working with VME, and by 2010 we two were merged and had become V-LINC.
Unfortunately in the past people were much less aware of the difficulties and inequalities that anyone living with a disability faces. Inclusion was just a dream. I am happy to have been a small part of the sea change that has since taken place in peoples’ attitudes toward disabilities and inclusion. This is one of the “last frontiers” of inequality. V-LINC still offers the summer camp that was started in 1992 by LINC – it was the very first inclusive camp in Maryland.
I can’t express how much I’ve personally gained from the people connected with this amazing organization. Volunteers and staff are committed, caring and do anything possible to make sure that each client’s unique needs are met--whether at camp or in a client’s home or workplace. You are superior examples of what humanity can be.
Those people who live with a disability, who I have personally gotten to know, smash all pre-conceptions about people with disabilities. Each person has unique talents and abilities; many families are filled with love and a willingness to do whatever it takes to make life better for loved ones. I admire them all.
I hope to be of some service to V-LINC in the future – it is hard to leave the place that has become like a family to me. Although I also will be happy to have a little more time with my husband, who is retired already, and I plan to start that reading, gardening, swimming and jewelry-making that I never seem to quite get around to.
May its supporters continue to keep V-LINC strong. There is no other V-LINC! We are Maryland’s most unique organization.
I Will Never Forget the People.
Volunteer Helene Dubay is in the foreground. Helene is an Occupational Therapist who takes time out of her work and home life to help assess the needs of each person who requests our services. Here she is checking the strength and abilities of this young girl who is non-verbal, cannot walk and has seizures.