02 Feb 2017
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Enabling Everyone in a Community to Contribute


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Karen Fonseth (GMP 19, 2015) is CEO of Direct Action in Support of Community Homes (DASCH), a Canadian not-for-profit organization that operates more than 50 residential and outreach programs for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. In this interview, she explains the goals of her organization and her leadership role.

“As CEO of Direct Action in Support of Community Homes, we support about 350 individuals with intellectual disabilities in the community.

“The basis of the organization is that everyone deserves basic human rights.

“We took one individual from an institution in Ontario about two years ago; they said he could not live with other roommates. He was aggressive, he was violent. Within three months, he was off all the meds that he was on; he has a job working in the community; he has three roommates that he loves. And that’s just one example of how a life can be changed if you’re committed to doing it and seeing the person behind the form that we all present.

“I’d say the endgame for what I do as CEO of the organization is to show the world that people with developmental disabilities can contribute, because they are miracles and they have very special traits that we have not tapped into. So to amalgamate everyone in the community and live as a whole already, I think that is my goal.”

(Published February 2017)

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Class of GMP 19

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