By Jonathan Williams
Times West Virginian
It’s easy to overlook people who are different.
For many with disabilities, it can be difficult to find a voice and place in the world around them.
The Disability Action Center in Fairmont, a United Way of Marion County member agency, provides a variety of services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to create a safe, welcoming community and help train necessary skills to enter the workforce and, for some, society at large.
“We’re one of the only facilities in Fairmont that has such a spectrum,” said Lauren McCauley, who has been working at the center for about a year now and loves it. “People can come here and meet others with disabilities and they can get help in a variety (of ways).
“If we can’t help them here, we have all kinds of resources to get everybody the help that they need.”
McCauley, a graduate of Fairmont State University with a degree in psychology, started working at the center while she was working on her practicum. Today, she is one of two paid staff members.
McCauley said the center provides services for roughly 300 people in Marion County. On any given day, she said, they’ll have more than 30 people taking advantage of classes and other facilities.
The facility also has an exercise room and gym, laundry facilities, a kitchen and a computer lab.
Classes range from computer literacy to line dancing, McCauley said. All the classes are intended to teach useful skills, such as the “Lunch and Learn” program, a combination cooking class and community lunch.
“People come here and learn how to wash clothes and very basic stuff all the way up to direct placement into a job,” McCauley said.