Contact: Melissa Marullo
President and CEO of Life’sWork of Western PA Honored for Helping Individuals with Disabilities Achieve Independence and Self-Sufficiency
(PITTSBURGH, PA) September 22, 2011– Everett McElveen works so the mission of Life’sWork remains the same as it did 84 years ago – to provide opportunity, employment, and independence to individuals with disabilities and other barriers to employment. With this mission, he assures the organization treats everyone with dignity and respect, hoping to change the community for the better.
“Treating people with dignity and respect is good for all of us, and if we did that, a lot of the problems we have in the world would be solved. Our communities would be better, kids would be respectful in school, parents would treat their children consistently in that manner, bullying, everything would be different.”
Life’sWork started as an experiment in 1927 to find out if women who could not leave their homes due to housework and children could contribute to the family budget. Now, it is a nonprofit organization that assists more than 2,000 individuals each year to achieve independence and self-esteem through employment opportunities.
Nominated by Bernadette Turner, Everett was selected as the September Dignity and Respect Champion for working to create a respectful environment for all of those around him.
“Everett is oblivious to size, color, and physical ability when he is talking to a participant about their work at the center or smiling with them as they proudly show him their completed project. From the moment you walk in the doors, the employees are warm and welcoming. That type of environment is not happenstance, that is leadership. Everett is dignity and respect,” Bernadette said.
Everett lives in Ohio Township with his wife, and has been working at Life’s Work for seven years, a job that frequently reminds him how blessed he is. Everett believes treating others with dignity and respect is important in our daily lives because we are all one in the same.
“I find my job rewarding because of the families and the individuals we assist. People take it for granted that we are able-minded and able-bodied. From a disability perspective, the teenage years are difficult enough. People don’t realize if you are born with a disability, it is an added burden on your daily life. People are very bias towards others that are not like them. We are good at picking out what makes us different, but we are not aware of things that make us exactly the same,” Everett said.
The Dignity and Respect Campaign is an awareness campaign designed to join individuals, community leaders, community organizations, educational institutions, businesses, and corporations under the common notion that everyone deserves dignity and respect.
For more information and to take the Dignity and Respect pledge, visit:
· Dignity & Respect Campaign on Facebook
· DRCampaign on Twitter
· Text RESPECT to 94253
October is Dignity and Respect Month.
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