shared courtesy of The Morning Sun
PITTSBURG, Kansas — JoDee Bryant started advocating for people with intellectual disabilities over 20 years ago.
Originally from Arcadia, one of her neighbors was a grandmother who cared for her grandchildren who had intellectual disabilities. They would often be ignored or shooed away. JoDee said she didn’t feel that was right and spoke up when people did so.
“They would ride their bicycles all of the time and they would sing and people would push them away and I would go ‘come on over’ and sing with them,” she said. “It took me a while to understand them but after a while I could, so I started advocating for them.”
Then she found that there was a place where she can come to work and do just that.
She started working for what then called Shields, then Bridges and now Mosaic, where she assists consumers with meeting their individual goals and continues to advocate as a direct support staff.
Fast forward more than 20 years and she’s promoted to direct support specialist and is still passionate as ever, she said. JoDee reminisced about the many changes over the years.
“Back then they [the consumers] were kind of hidden, we didn’t go anywhere and if we did, it was just a van ride and now we go everywhere,” she said. “It’s amazing now, from back then to here.”