Athens City Commission on Disabilities: Spotlight on Lisa Simpson
The Athens City on Disabilities welcomes Lisa Simpson, its newest member. Simpson was appointed by Mayor Steve Patterson to serve a three-year term which began January 2021. “We are honored Lisa has been selected because of the knowledge she brings to the Commission,” says Commission Chair Davey McNelly. “Her experience with people who live with disabilities through her work with HAVAR, Inc., will add value to our work.”
The Commission has four committees: Accessibility, Advocacy, Communications, and Education and Outreach. Simpson has joined the Advocacy Committee in which she will connect with other members to reach out to local, state, and national legislators on disability-related issues to affect policy, write letters to the editor and to legislators, and network with other groups.
“We are working to push the agenda and to ensure issues that affect the disability community are known, addressed, funded, and appropriated,” expressed Sly Mata, chair of the Advocacy Committee. “That Lisa has linked with us makes our committee stronger and ready to continue our focus on current and future challenges.” Mata notes that other community members are welcome to be a part of this or any other Commission committee by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Simpson has lived in Athens County for 42 years and currently lives in Torch after spending most of her life in Stewart. She graduated from Federal Hocking High School and is employed by HAVAR, Inc., supporting adults and children with unique talents and abilities in various community residential and day service settings for 42 years. Simpson has spent the last 30 years as a program manager, supporting adults and children with differing abilities to learn about and choose their desired home, education, work, and social life within their communities.
“Serving on the Commission will continue to broaden my community relationships, experiences, and participation,” says Simpson. “I bring years of experience and person-centeredness. I have been fortunate to facilitate future plans for many individuals, participate in advocacy efforts, and collaborate with community partners to improve the quality of individuals’ lives and hope to share my talents and abilities with the Commission and community. Relationships made with these individuals and their networks have enriched every area of my life by teaching me that a strong passion and participation for equality and justice for all individuals based on our unique talents and abilities makes happier, as well as more inclusive communities,” Simpson adds.
Simpson has participated in an online supported employment course through the Virginia Commonwealth University for several years and has attended multiple conferences, had collaborations with local and state organizations assisting individuals with disabilities, and attended retreats.
She says she is the blessed daughter of a precious mother, proud mom of three adult children, and adoring grandmother of three young granddaughters. Simpson spends her extra time focusing on her faith, church, and family. “My dream is to travel more within the United States. I was happily married to my travel partner for 39 years prior to his heavenly travels.”
The Athens City Commission on Disabilities is a committee of city government whose commitment is to provide a means for the concerns of people with disabilities to be heard; to advocate for public policy change; to provide expertise to the community on disabilities; and tell the community about the strengths and limitations of people with disabilities, as well as how the community can help them improve their quality of life, thereby ensuring equality of opportunity and full participation in community life for everyone.