Message from the Executive Director- Verna Morris

2022 /2023 was an exciting year for us. For over 60 years the Community has trusted QUEST, Inc. and supported us to ensure no one gets left in the shadows. A Capital Campaign was embarked on the tail of a global pandemic. We do feel we have emerged stronger than ever. Phase 1 of the fundraising program has been completed. Four major physical improvements are underway to be implemented in 2023 including 1) two new fully ADA accessible lavatories, 2) new safer driveway with handicapped parking, 3) renovated accessible main entrance and 4) new windows for the entire facility. We have improved our programming and continue to look for new and exciting ways to serve people with disabilities. Our Board of Directors has grown and with their talent, experience and expertise along with our dedicated extraordinary staff, positions us for exponential growth, allowing us a much larger impact area within our community.

1.3 billion People around the world live with some form of disability, making up around 16% of the global population. According to the World Report on Disability the number of people with disabilities is increasing. This is because the populations are aging (older people have a higher risk of disability) and because of the global increase in chronic health conditions associated with disability, such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and mental illness.

Despite being “the world’s biggest minority”, people with disabilities are often forgotten. They regularly face discrimination and exclusion from healthcare, education, work and community inclusion. And even though people with disabilities are among the poorest and most vulnerable, their needs are often overlooked by governments and international organizations. We continue to make efforts to reduce poverty by including people with disabilities.

The main connections between disability and poverty are:

1) Unhealthy and extremely dangerous living conditions, such as in adequate housing, water, sanitation and unsafe work conditions and sanitation.

2) The inaccessibility or absence of medical care or rehabilitation. People with disabilities are confronted with extra costs related to disability such as personal assistance, healthcare or assistive devices.

3) Limited access to education and employment. People with disabilities are more likely to be unemployed and are generally paid less when they are employed.

4) Social Exclusion: People with disabilities often cannot participate in political decision making as their voices are not heard and their needs are overlooked. Access to public spaces in limited due to physical barriers.

I know there is more work to be done in our community. We look forward to expanding our mission throughout Lebanon and surrounding Counties by providing expanded opportunities for success in the coming year. Thank you for being a part of this life-changing work. Your continued support has played a critical role in the success of our agency and those we support.