Daily Point of Light # 2529 Oct 15, 2003

Susan Psalmonds is a volunteer with initiative and dedication. She is persistent in her drive to overcome challenges. As a person with multiple disabilities, she is highly aware of the existing problem areas that people with disabilities face on a daily basis.

She has been an active volunteer at the OPTIONS for Independence for the past four years and was the first participant in their program. She works to advocate for citizens with disabilities. She has demonstrated leadership qualities as the third term Chair of the Concerned Citizens with Disabilities Coalition. Under her leadership, the members have undertaken many local advocacy issues that affect the lives of people with disabilities throughout the community. Psalmonds has excellent organizational skills and uses her networking to bring various people together to help coordinate efforts with many disability-related organizations.

Psalmonds is the Chair of Concerned Citizens with Disabilities Coalition (CCDC). This is a volunteer advocacy group committed to improving accessibility in communities and to remove barriers of all types. She is also an Executive Board Member for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. The organization recruits, trains and organizes people with disabilities across the state to influence national, state and local policy, systems and institutional decisions that affect their everyday lives. Participants in this program are empowered to more fully control their own destinies both personally and politically. They are taught to become leaders and use their skills to help others with disabilities.

Psalmonds volunteers an average of 20 hours of month. However, during the legislative session; she gives more time. She travels weekly to Salt Lake while the session is on to participate and become a part of legislative change and funding requests on behalf of people with disabilities.

As a result of her service, many changes have been brought about in the community. Local businesses have become accessible to people with disabilities; store aisles have been widened to accommodate people using wheelchairs and scooter, and owners have installed automatic door openers and/or doorbells so individuals with mobility disabilities can gain easier access. Necessary repairs have been made to city sidewalks, laws concerning handicapped parking have been enforced well with signage, and individuals lacking basic computer skills have received needed training.

Psalmonds is currently working on a Medicaid Reduction Proposal, which will ensure that Medicaid prescription benefits are not reduced. In addition, she is working to educate employers on ways to hire, train and work with people with disabilities. This will benefit the entire community as people with disabilities receive better employment opportunities while increasing their work quality.