Hannah and Friends is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for children and adults with developmental disabilities. Hannah and Friends provides support for a program called Hannah’s Helping Hands, which funds quality of life grants for Kansas, Kansas City Metropolitan area, Florida, Indiana, including the greater Michigan area, New York, and Rhode Island families that care for children and adults with special needs. The grants provide low and moderate-income families with stipends that may be used for a wide variety of supports related to their family member.

Hannah and Friends additionally provides funding for the construction and ongoing operations of a neighborhood where residential homes provide a community for adults with special needs. Hannah & Friends Neighborhood also provides recreational programs for children and adults with special needs. Hannah & Friends Neighborhood is located on a 40-acre property in South Bend, IN.

Hannah and Friends Participants

The organization also fosters an ongoing campaign of “Awareness & Compassion” for all individuals with special needs. Individuals with special needs deserve the same respect as everyone else and it is our mission to educate others who do not understand this mindset.

Especially this month (March), Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, Hannah and Friends strives to educate the public about individuals with developmental disabilities and encourage compassion. We are committed to sharing the concept that individuals with special needs do not have disabilities, rather they have different abilities. They may think, act or walk differently than what you consider to be “typical”, but these individuals have wonderful abilities to share with every community and deserve to be treated with respect.

Just ask Brandon about the importance of recognizing these abilities. Brandon Hudson is a 22 year old with different abilities who lives at Hannah & Friends Neighborhood in South Bend, IN. Brandon reflected on the term “different abilities” and the importance of showing respect:

“Living with different abilities doesn’t mean that we want people to feel sorry for us, or to or to judge us. We have the same feelings, and we have the same desires to be happy and be grateful for what we have. Just because we may learn or respond differently doesn’t mean that we can’t learn. It may be harder for us, but we can do it. What we need is for people not to judge us, but a give a helping hand. With a helping hand, we gain more respect. As a resident at Hannah and Friends, I am surrounded by people that love me. In our neighborhood, no one is judged or put down. We just accept each other’s differences and respect each other. If the world could just accept each of us for who we are, it would be a better place. But for now, the best place for me is Hannah and Friends.”

Brandon Hudson, Taking the DIS out of disabilities

Partnering with We-Care.com allows Hannah and Friends to help show the world the wonderful abilities that individuals like Brandon have and encourage the public to look beyond the label “disabilities” and show compassion. Not only does We-Care.com help raise funds for our organization, but it also helps spread general awareness about our mission. The more people that hear about “Awareness & Compassion” and the more often they are exposed to the idea that individuals with special needs have numerous abilities to share with the world, even if it is simply seeing a post on Facebook or Twitter – the more that this concept is out in the world, the closer we get to creating environments where individuals with developmental disabilities are receiving the respect they deserve.

We-Care.com allows Hannah and Friends supporters to earn a donation for our organization every time they shop online at a We-Care.com merchant. Need to book a flight, looking to buy clothes or household items, shopping for books? When supporters use We-Care.com, these regular purchases become much more. We-Care.com turns online purchases into actions that help take the ‘dis’ out of disabilities and bring more respect to individuals with different abilities.

Together with We-Care.com, Hannah and Friends is continuously working to raise awareness for individuals with different abilities and encourage the public to show compassion to those of all ability levels. Please consider taking a moment to download the We-Care.com app and help take the ‘dis’ out of disabilities!

Katie Teitgen is the Director of Operations at Hannah & Friends Neighborhood in South Bend, IN. Katie began working with Hannah & Friends as a student volunteer in 2007 and has continued her involvement with the organization ever since. Her favorite aspect of her work is getting to build relationships with the children and adults with different abilities that live at or attend Hannah & Friends. Katie is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame, with a Management degree from the Mendoza College of Business.