by Susan F. Rzucidlo, 10/8/13
Well, they’ve closed our government, so for now, I’m on hold on the VA/OVR/Education project that I talked about in the last blog entry. In the mean time, I have reached out to the Philadelphia School District and again to OVR, and am waiting for calls back and some information. I will keep you informed as I make progress, and know I will make progress but sometimes I have to hold up on working on one area and work on another until the timing is right. I do know that with persistence, change can be made and persistence just happens to be my gift! I have been told that I am relentless, but really only when I believe I can help make things better for people.
For now, I thought I would share an example of my persistence while we all wait for Congress to get back to work. This particular story took place a few years ago but it is a good example of the importance of persistence.
Years ago, children who lived in Southern Chester County and who had disabilities that required certain treatments, were not receiving their prescribed services simply because of where they lived; my son was included in this group. I reached out to all of the agencies and departments in the county to try to remedy this situation for Ben and others. What I found out was that no one could or would help but that the County Commissioners had the power to make things better.
So I started attending the weekly County Commissioner meetings. I ended up doing this for more than 6 months. If you’ve not attended a Commissioner meeting I would recommend that you do, you can learn a lot about how our county works. At every meeting there is a time for the public to speak and so, at every meeting I would raise my hand, and when called on I would say, “Children in Southern Chester County who have disabilities are not receiving the prescribed services they need because we don’t’ have any providers in Southern Chester County.” Each week I would back up that statement with a piece of data or story to emphasize the problem.
After about three weeks, a friend who was connected to two of the Commissioners, called to say, “Susan, the Commissioners called and they wanted to know if I knew you and if I could make you stop.” She told me she said, “YES and NO. Yes, I know Susan, but NO, I’ve never known her to stop.” After a few more weeks she called me back she said, “Susan, you are embarrassing the Commissioners,” I said, “GOOD! They should be embarrassed because children in Southern Chester County who have disabilities are not receiving the prescribed services they need”. I kept going, week after week, sharing data and stories.
After a few months, SUDDENLY, my son started receiving the services that had been prescribed for him. Well, that was good for him, but I still kept going to the meetings. Soon I received a call from someone in the county, I was asked, “Susan, why are you still going to the meetings? I thought Ben was getting all of his services.” I said, “He is, but this was never just about Ben. This was about every child who was not receiving their prescribed services.” Not too long after that the county started the process to find a provider and we now have 2 providers in Southern Chester County.
People always ask my why I do what I do; I think that the answer should be obvious. I do it to help others. I’ve made a study of the systems and how they work. I volunteered for committees and attended meetings. Now I use my knowledge to help those who don’t know the system or who aren’t able to fight to make sure that everyone is treated fairly by the system.
Stay tuned. I’ll share more stories as we wait for our Government to reopen.