Testimony on the 5% Campaign by Chris Groska

This testimony was delivered by Chris Groske at the 5% rally hosted by ARRM on March 4, 2014. Chris is a person with a disability:

Here is a link to this organizations website with photos from the event – click here….

Hi everyone, my name is Chris Groska. Almost ten years ago, my life changed. I started my journey to independence with the help of Direct Support Professionals.

Until I was 19, I lived with my parents in their 5 level sp0lit home with stairs which required me to crawl on my hands and knees to get around. As I began to grow older, my parents began to see that getting around their house was becoming more challenging, so they moved me into the Mary T. organization. I lived in an independent group setting for a few years before moving into an assisted living apartment. I thrived at the apartments because DSP’s worked with me to further my skills.

With the help of these dedicated workers, I have been able to grow and expand my knowledge of the world. Through the help of my direct care staff, I have been able to set up my non-profit organization, which makes me feel good because the community has given me help in the past, and now I can finally give back to them. I’m also happy announce, I recently moved into my own townhome!

But, I worry each year about the risk of cuts to funding for the services I receive, because without these services I rely on, I would not be a contributing member to society and my freedom to live independently would be at risk. I’m also concerned about the high turnover rate of staff providing these services. Last year one of my staff left to go work at a tanning salon because she would make more money there. Staff providing direct care services have not has a raise in well over five years. If this continues, they may be forced to change jobs. With Minnesota’s long winters, and boy has this winter been a long one, it might be hard to compete with tanning salons!

Let’s support the 5% Campaign.