For those with disabilities: Day of Discovery held in Fairmont

FAIRMONT — The 2nd annual Day of Discovery took place on Saturday at the Holiday Inn in Fairmont. It was an opportunity for people with disabilities, their families and staff to share stories about their lives and employment history. Last year, the Day of Discovery took place in Marshall.

Thanks to a Schmeeckle grant given to The Arc Southwest and STEP, Inc. the workshops were completely free to those attending.

Of the 40 people present for the workshops were some who came from Mankato, Redwood Falls, Marshall and the area surrounding Fairmont. Lee Ann Erickson, program director at The Arc, reported that there would be around 70 present for the dinner and dance that would take place in the evening.

Many people who have worked with MRCI, STEP, Inc., or The Arc had the opportunity to share their journey and their stories were met with enthusiasm from those listening.

Suzy Sukalski of Fairmont was a featured speaker and she talked about the employment opportunities she’s had in the past. Sukalski’s endeavors are seen as an inspiration to many and she was asked several questions about how she’s gotten to where she is today. Sukalski gave this message: “You have great potential.”

Another local man, Jonathan Dahlin, along with his Professional Care Assistant, Sam Tow, shared his employment history, with the most recent being at Kahler Automation. Dahlin and Tow have been working together for five years on different skills. Tow said he’s happy to see Dahlin moving forward, and Dahlin expressed how happy he is to have a career.

“We wanted people to come and realize that there are opportunities out there for them,” Erickson said.

STEP, Inc. was given their grant with the specific purpose to work on employment funding.

Susan Eisenmenger of STEP, Inc. said, “we can’t provide these opportunities without the support of the community members and local businesses.”

Of the people who shared their employment history, many spoke of working at Walmart, Super America, Lakeview Methodist Home, and several other businesses in town.

“They each have a good story to tell,” concluded Erickson.