Kathy Nofziger Yeakey serves as ADN's Executive Director. She attends North Goshen Mennonite Church, Goshen, Indiana.
Shortly after I began work as the new executive director for Anabaptist Disabilities Network, someone asked me on Facebook if I have a disability. At first, I did not know how to respond. My hearing impairment is hardly noticeable, except to my husband when he tells me that I’m talking too loudly in a noisy restaurant. “What?,” I playfully respond.
I replied to my questioner that no, I do not think I have a noticeable disability, but I have had to deal with mild depression and anxiety attacks for much of my life. I suppose I could have said that I have a disability when anxiety attacks occasionally prevented me from participating normally in social settings such as a restaurant meal or family Thanksgiving gathering. However, I never thought of my anxiety as a disability, and now medication basically keeps it under control.
What makes me a good fit for Anabaptist Disabilities Network is that for much of my life, I have been an advocate for others, whether they are recent immigrants with limited English skills or are homeless or chronically unemployed. The majority of my professional career has been in public relations and fund raising for various non-profit organizations. I’ve also been a board member for several non-profits and a taskforce or committee member for churches and church-related organizations, including Ten Thousand Villages, Amigo Centre near Sturgis, Michigan, and Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conference.
I look forward to working with ADNet as we strengthen the organization and assist congregations, families, and individuals to live into the vision of including all persons, regardless of their abilities.
I invite you to join me in supporting this vision by making a contribution to ADN to assist in forming ever more inclusive communities, no matter one’s ability or disability. And, if you make a contribution now, I promise that you will not receive our year-end solicitation letter next month.