November 21, 2019

Senator Abrams Tours Ability Beyond Group Home for Adults With Disabilities in Middlefield, Visits Workplace in Meriden

MERIDEN – Today, State Senator Mary Daugherty Abrams (D-Meriden, Middlefield, Rockfall, Middletown, Cheshire) joined representatives and leaders of Ability Beyond, a nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting adults with disabilities, to tour a group home in Middlefield before visiting with Elijah, whom Ability Beyond assists, to discuss his job and responsibilities at the Meriden Big Y.

“It is important that members of the legislature understand the challenges faced by adults with disabilities, especially concerning housing and employment,” said Sen. Abrams. “I am thankful for today’s tour and meeting – it will help me work with public and private agencies in assisting adults with disabilities to live their best lives.”

“Individuals we serve probably wouldn’t be able to find a job, or be successful long-term, if we were not in the picture supporting them on the job and off-site,” said Anna Koropatkin, a senior employment specialist at Ability Beyond who works with Elijah. “We help them work through issues they’re having and learn skills they need to. A lot of employers don’t have the time or resources to provide additional training we’re providing on site. Having Senator Abrams come out is great as she can see the long-term impact on someone like Eli, who’s been here a year. It’s about continuous support and we definitely need all the funding we can get to provide that, especially with funding cuts. We appreciate when Senators come out and get to know folks, helping to see the impact we make long-term.”

Sen. Abrams’ tour began in Middlefield, where she visited the group home and toured the premises. While there, she discussed the organization’s most pressing needs and areas where it succeeds in supporting the individuals it helps with Ability Beyond leaders, noting her own experience as a special education teacher and her past work with individuals with disabilities.

From there, she and organization leaders proceeded to Meriden’s Big Y, where she met with Elijah, who has worked there for the last year. She and Elijah discussed his roles and responsibilities at Big Y, which includes work both inside and outside the store, before talking about his hobbies, which include creating artwork and playing the violin. Elijah and Sen. Abrams took time to review his artwork portfolio, full of intricately shaded and drawn pieces of artwork.