The Brightside: United Needs & Abilities

Living with a developmental disability can be just that … living.

United Needs and Abilities in Salisbury works make sure those individuals are living a full and rich life.

Patricia Rieben says she’s been coming to UNA for a very long time.

She loves the social outings organized by the non-profit.

“It helps me go on trips and takes me out. We go on picnics. Outer Banks, we went to the Poconos,” Patsy says.

While Patsy enjoys the trips, Mike Tatem really likes the job opportunities UNA provides for him.

“We get clothes, we got work,” says client Mike Tatem.

While UNA’s programming enriches the lives of people living with intellectual and physical disabilities, some of the staff say they are benefiting too.

“Hanging on my wall in my office is a thing that says those who have been entrusted with much — much will be demanded of them. But even more will be demanded with those entrusted with more.”

Mike Dyer has been with the organization for 13 years. He started as an intern but has worked his way up to executive director.

He says the work UNA does is making a big difference in the community.

“We’re an organization that enriches the lives of people with developmental disabilities. Our name came about because we’re an organization that came together to work united.”

Dyer says his clients get an individualized plan to serve their needs.

“We look at the individual. Again, we’re focusing on what abilities they have and then what needs they have so each person is probably going to say what we do for them is different.”

Many people who become clients of UNA are referred through the health department.

They are paired up with a coordinator who makes sure they are getting what they need, ultimately enriching their lives.

Written by: Erica Murphy

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