At the heart of Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month is awareness – understanding the gap that exists between where we are today and where we need to be in order to fully include people with disabilities.
As important as it is, awareness is just the first step. From there, advocacy can make a real difference. Governmental bodies at the federal, state and local levels control resources and policies that impact how people with disabilities live their lives. Voices of people with disabilities as well as parents, guardians and other interested stakeholders are crucial.
Kurt Rutzen isn’t afraid to make his voice heard. In fact, speaking up on behalf of people with disabilities is his job and his passion. As someone who was born with cerebral palsy, Kurt knows full well the challenges that people with disabilities face.
But what’s most important to Kurt is helping people recognize that individuals with disabilities are just like anyone else – they have hopes and dreams, but just need a little extra support.
Kurt lives in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and grew up not so far from there in Worthington, Minnesota. He attended Worthington High School, graduated with general office assistant certificate from college in Willmar, and worked a variety of retail jobs. But he always knew he wanted to do something to help people with disabilities realize their full potential.
To get started, visit the Bethesda Action Center. There you can find information about issues and can communicate with your lawmakers to encourage them to be part of the solution.