Each month we take a moment to highlight a DEC Consumer, their experience with our Center and our staff, and their Success. This month we spoke with Leslie Binkley, who is not only a DEC Consumer but also a DEC Board Member and Board Secretary.
I discovered the Disability Empowerment Center while I was attending Millersville University. I needed a place to do my internship and my professor recommended DEC. I contacted the Center and set up an appointment.
During that appointment the staff talked to me about the Independent Living Movement, and the Core Services which DEC provides. It opened my life up to a whole new world. They helped me realize I could do, learn, and become anything I wanted with the proper tools and knowledge.
After completion of my internship, I was accepted to the Advisory Board, which then became the Board of Directors. Now, I am currently in my 9th year on the Board, serving my second term as Board Secretary.
Since my involvement with DEC, I have also become a consumer. I have worked on transportation goals and independent living goals. I have also worked on my social skills and feel like I have gained more independence in my community. This has ultimately me to develop leadership skills, which helped me start my own support group at DEC. Click here to visit our Events page and join the TEACH Support Group.
The DEC staff have been like teachers to me. They have given me the tools for independence. And I can now count many of the staff at DEC as my friends. They give me encouragement, strength, information, education, and support.
They also allow me the opportunity to make my own choices, and give me room to make mistakes, and to learn from those mistakes and grow. DEC is a place where everyone accepts me for who I am. It is part of my lifeline.
Through DEC, I feel accomplished and empowered. It makes me feel good about myself, and shows me I can do anything I set my mind to doing.
Empowerment, to me, means to feel like I have total control over my life and that I can live on my own. That is what the Disability Empowerment Center inspires. It’s a GREAT feeling.