United Way of Pierce County was kind of an abstraction to me when I first heard of it. I knew it was a nonprofit that served the community. That is a simple definition for an organization that is better described like a spider web network for nonprofit agencies in the county. About 808,000 people live in Pierce County. Not all of these people have access to the resources needed for a happy, healthy life. There are hundreds of nonprofits in Pierce County. Not all of these agencies have the means to reach those in need, nor the donors who want to give. United Way is the great connector. Of the 117 programs we currently fund, I’d like to highlight one of my accounts, TACID; the Tacoma Area Coalition of Individuals with Disabilities.TACID’s mission is “promoting the independence of individuals with disabilities”. “Disability” can refer to physical, cognitive, mental or emotional disadvantages. Their loose definition of disability ensures and promotes the open, friendly atmosphere necessary on the road to happiness and independence.
TACID plays a unique role in the community as a consumer-driven organization. As an organization formed by people with disabilities for people with disabilities, their model of peer support is unmatched in the community. Peer support is an opportunity for people living with disabilities to help each other - sometimes it can be more effective to solve problems when you can talk with someone who can relate to specific experiences.
TACID's Work and Education Center opened in June of 2011. The Work and Education Center assists people with disabilities in setting and achieving their goals for employment, volunteerism and education. The building is conveniently located at 6315 South 19th Street, neighboring Tacoma Community College. Anyone can register for TACID programs and classes. You can find everything from a Brain Injury Support Group to the Acupuncture Therapy program.Not only does TACID provide direct support in the form of classes, but the caring, accepting culture within the building is what really contributes to the healing and creation of happy, independent community members.