Deb and DanPeople with mental and physical disabilities require significant supports and space. Let me introduce you to Dan: Dan Schlag, a 1999 graduate of Little Falls Community High School, an all-American hometown boy. Dan was destined for college in the Fall, until he had his dream and vision of the future altered by a very unfortunate vehicle accident. With a traumatic brain injury, his future was unclear as Dan spent 2 ½ months in a coma. When Dan recovered, he went home to live with his mother, Deb Johnson, for a couple years before moving to Courage Center for additional rehabilitation.
After 18 months, he moved to a group home in Brooklyn Center, where he lived for 17 years. While there, Dan attended an art program called Interact. Dan developed his creative side in both visual and performing arts.
Some of his most recent visual art from Interact explores portraiture, his favorite painting genre. “I enjoy recording the high level of detail found in the skin tone and facial features, and I strive to capture a ‘window effect’ with the canvas, as if the person were right there in front of me.”
Dan was also in performing arts in a play called "Broken Brain Summit.” The play is based on the stories of actors in the play and how they acquired their brain injuries and a doctor who himself had a brain injury.
Dan’s love of arts motivated him after his accident; now at Employment Enterprises, Inc. (EEI), he expands his goals. Dan is a recent addition to the EEI team where he focuses on creating jobs skills as he seeks community employment. While at EEI’s main site, he works in the recycling shop, “Today, I have been running balers for cardboard and paper. I enjoy all the variety of jobs I get to do. I get to experience work out in the community and expand my workmanship; it makes me feel very valuable,” he says.
Dan can’t wait to come to EEI each day, “I love it here; the people are really nice. I have a wonderful place to come and relax.”
Dan has suffered an irreversible brain injury and still takes joy in every day. He will not hesitate to tell you how “awesome” he is. It is clear how much he enjoys life. We are privileged to have Dan on our team.
However, many individuals suffer lifelong depression and anger following a life altering injury that leaves them dependent on others for their care.
A person’s life can change significantly through an accident. Think about the ways your life and so many others’ lives could be impacted: car accidents, motorcycling, biking, strokes, falls. You or a loved one could be in the same situation as Dan tomorrow. Your life would be altered forever.
Your person now has a disability, and you worry. Who will be there when he can’t take care of himself? Who will help him discover his purpose and ensure he has the support to be successful?
EEI will be there, and you will too by helping create safe places and opportunities for individuals like Dan who have traumatic brain injuries.
Your support helps ensure resources are ready for anyone who suffers an unexpected brain injury and is seeking to find meaning again in their lives.
Dan says, “I am at the right place at EEI charting my course to a community job. They are going to get me where I want to go. This is just the beginning, and I am excited to continue to see the characters who make up EEI.”
At EEI, Dan experiences individualized training, art therapy, self-discovery, and employment programs. You can help people like Dan thrive through dignity of work, being part of a community that cares, and developing creative talents.
With your support adults with diverse abilities can achieve their full potential and find meaningful work. You can help offer art activities that grow skills, encourage individuals to take healthy risks, communicate more effectively, become more confident, build connections, and find a supportive community.
Dan’s mom, Debbie, says, “I am so pleased, Dan loves going to work, and it makes a mom happy to see he feels so good about his job and feels like he fits in.” Don’t leave people feeling isolated and unengaged in the community or work. Help create more stories like Dan’s story. He feels at home at EEI.
Every human deserves a safe place to live, work, and play. Every human being has the right to meaningful work and activities that enrich their lives. No one should be left at home because our community does not make room for them.
Financial support from community members like you allows people like Dan to take art classes, feel fulfilled in community work, and achieve their greatest potential.
To learn more about how you can get involved with EEI or to discuss options for giving, please contact: 320-639-2432 or email@example.com
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On behalf of all of us at EEI and the individuals like Dan who have benefited from your support, thank you.