Parnell Barmer, Aspire Living & Learning’s Director of Day Options in Maryland, was voted unanimously to serve on the Harford County Commission on Disabilities on March 15, 2022. The commission brings together individuals with disabilities, representatives of provider organizations, local businesses, and county officials to monitor the services and activities of agencies that support people with disabilities.
Barmer has been attending meetings as a member of the public for several years and recently applied to fill a vacancy on the Commission. He has a number of priorities around unmet needs he’d like to see the commission address, but first on the list is transportation. Currently, there is a public transportation system accessible to people with disabilities, called Harford Transit Link, but routes are limited, and service stops by 6 p.m.
“With funding for more vans, more people would be independent and would be able to go out at night… If individuals could use Link to get to day services, it would take the burden off Aspire DSPs who drive many miles picking up and dropping off. People would have more program time for community activities.”
The commission promotes positive change for citizens with disabilities by assessing needs, investigating opportunities for improvements in quality of life, and supporting community participation. The commission collects and analyzes data to make recommendations to county executives. The federal Americans with Disabilities Act, which protects the rights of people with disabilities, drives their work.
Barmer has a strong commitment to working across agencies and groups: “Establishing relationships and partnerships can lead to bigger and better things for all of us.”
Aspire congratulates Barmer on his appointment and looks forward to the continued good work of the commission.