By Rick Bass

Many disabled individuals feel lonely, isolated and marginalized. Changing this reality takes an awareness and sincere desire to strive for an innate equality for all people regardless the limitations. And, when you really think about it, we all have abilities and disabilities that may be hidden or visible.
In my profession I was fortunate to have many opportunities to learn from those who were physically, emotionally and mentally challenged. I experienced many individuals who shared and educated me in ways I didn’t think possible. I learned to laugh more, became aware of how we are far more alike than different and share in the human experience with a more open, kinder and gentler presence. Loneliness was greatly reduced, friendships forged and the quality of life improved vastly for all who connected with this inclusive attitude.

Our rural Vail area location can increase social isolation, loneliness and reduce community connections. When we reach out and take the time to inquire and listen to our neighbors – especially those with disabilities – we create strong human bonds of caring. Those who are challenged with any type of disability need to know that they are not alone.

So this challenge I offer to you…
The next time the opportunity to connect with those who are different, whether it be a disability or any other perceived limitations or stereotype, challenge your immediate expectations. We can break down barriers, feel healthier as a society and reduce loneliness and marginalization to those who have been stigmatized and discarded as too different, limited or incapable to be worthy of our friendships. They deserve no less and you might be truly delighted to realize we have more in common than any dividing differences.

Best wishes to all of our Vail area residents.

Please visit:
Listed below are three important disability resource links:

Usa.Gov Disability Services –
The National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD) –

City of Tucson Information for People with Disabilities –

Rick Bass is a USAF Veteran. He has extensive background in crisis management, suicide prevention and re-source development for the disabled. A lifelong community volunteer and a new age music composer, he enjoys the expansive beauty of the Vail area.

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