The president of EsperanzaEnterprises, Peg Meerkatz has had Multiple Sclerosis for over 25 years. She attended college in the years before the Americans with Disabilities Act. While the ADA has brought many positive changes for people with disabilites there are many areas that still need improvement and Peg has faced many situations where despite the ADA her rights were IGNORED or VIOLATED.
This was a major motivator for Peg to start EsperanzaEnterprises. The second reason was lack of services or inadequate services. Peg has found that very often even though systems are in place to assist people with disabilities these systems do not work or do not work properly.
Peg is a very good self-advocate but is greatly concerned about the many people with disabilities who are not good self-advocates, those who lack computer access and knowledge to stay one step ahead of "the system", those who become overwhelmed and intimidated by "the system" and do not receive some or all of the benefits to which they are entitled. Peg has a very clear view of the areas of improvement needed to make the Social Service System and other patient service organizations more "user friendly".
There is another area that Peg finds lacking that could improve her quality of life and certainly the quality of life of others with disabilities - that is the SOCIAL, RECREATIONAL, MEDICAL and PSYCHOLOGICAL resources that would make living with a chronic illness or disability so much easier.
SOCIAL and RECREATIONAL programs are MINIMAL at best, many doctors lack the bed side manner to deal with the unique needs of a young person living with a chronic illness or disability — and — psychological resources? Anyone but particularly a young person living with a chronic illness or disability needs a strong emotional support system. Lack of insurance is one of the greatest barriers to receiving treatment and another is again their unique needs. Many professionals lack the knowledge and understanding of what it is like for a young person living with a chronic illness or disability. They see these patients as DEMANDING, NEEDY and even SELFISH — demanding too much of the therapists time. The reality is that most young people living with a chronic illness or disability are looking for a LIFELINE — some sense of SANITY and REASONING when their world becomes too OVERPOWERING.
Through EsperanzaEnterprisesEmpowermentCenter Peg hopes to right many of the wrongs done to her and others in the disabled community by people that lack either the knowledge, compassion or dedication to their jobs to show a little humanity to someone who is less fortunate than themselves. Through education and awareness seminars Peg hopes to change the view and attitude many have towards those who are "dIfFeReNt".
Through EsperanzaEnterprisesAbilitiesCenter Peg hopes to provide that "safe haven" the place where being "dIfFeReNt" is OK; the respite needed for both the person with a disability and thier caregiver. By hand picking and carefully training staff of both EsperanzaEnterprisesEmpowermentCenter and EsperanzaEnterprisesAbilitiesCenter Peg will create a dedicated team of professionals that will go that extra mile to extend a hand to someone that is struggling because of their limitations, the restrictions imposed by those limitations, the pain, the daily struggle to just "be"...
Through the combined efforts of everyone involved in EsperanzaEnterprises and its two branches EsperanzaEnterprisesEmpowermentCenter and EsperanzaEnterprisesAbilitiesCenter Peg sees the day when regardless of the time of day or night, regardless of the weather, regardless of the season of the year, no disabled person will ever have to feel alone like they are shouldering the burden of the world.
HELP WILL ALWAYS BE JUST ONE PHONE CALL AWAY - THERE WILL ALWAYS BE THAT COMPASSION, THAT LOVE THAT UNDERSTANDING WITHIN REACH...