Meet Advisory Board Member Steve Colgan
Steve has been an Advisory Board Member for Best Buddies in Connecticut since 2016 and this is his story.
“With a younger brother and son with intellectual disabilities, I’ve been immersed in the disabled community my whole life. I consider being part of the disabled community a blessing as it’s hard to find a more appreciative and supportive community. My support of the IDD community started in the ’70s when I was a scorekeeper for a “handicapped” bowling league as part of my community service for the Boy Scouts. Our society was come a long way since then, but we still have a long way to go. I remember my brother Paul being picked up in a van and brought to a school where everyone had special needs. He was part of a special needs Boy Scout troop and when he finished school, he started to work in a sheltered workshop where everyone had special needs. While Paul had a much-improved situation compared to those with disabilities in my parent’s generation, he has been under-appreciated and under-utilized.
My son Patrick has benefited from the evolution of societal attitudes and practices. He was mainstreamed in school, he’s a Boy Scout Assistant Scoutmaster, and is a valued member of our Town’s Affordable Housing Committee. He has two jobs, one at a small supermarket and another as part of a crew that cleans synagogues and churches. Patrick has been working at the grocery store during the pandemic but his work on the cleaning crew has temporarily stopped. He’s adjusted well but wants things to get back to normal so he can see all of his colleagues on the cleaning crew. In spite of all his accomplishments and inclusion, it is hard for Patrick to develop and nurture friendships.
I have a buddy Gilio and we’ve been friends for about 4 years now. We both are members of Pfizer’s Corporate Chapter even though neither of us works there anymore. I’m retired and Gilio now works at Connecticut College. We both love politics and do things that we certainly would not have done if we weren’t friends. Last year Gilio went to the North Stonington Agricultural Fair and I attended a service at Gilio’s Pentecostal church.
I support Best Buddies because while I have seen that great progress has been made, we still have significant work ahead of us. A focus area of mine as part of the Best Buddies in CT Advisory Board is to work for more inclusion and leveraging of the adult IDD community in all aspects of our society.”