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CONTACT: Melanie Mowry Etters
Working brings freedom, independence and pride
By Lindsey Boyington
NEW PORT RICHEY – Daniel “Danny” Bonds came to the Center for Independence, Inc. in New Port Richey in 1997.
At that time, his health was fragile due to an untreated injury he sustained when he was younger. In 2007, Bonds began working as a custodian at the center. He still works there each afternoon emptying trash, vacuuming carpets, sweeping floors, cleaning door knobs and wiping down kitchen appliances.
Bonds was born with a developmental disability and receives services from Florida’s Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD). October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, and APD is highlighting the workplace achievements of people with developmental disabilities and recognizing employers that hire them. “Danny reports for duty with a smile on his face. He greets co-workers and visitors with ‘Hi, how are you?’ but keeps his focus on the task at hand. Danny maintains a pleasant demeanor while getting the job done,” said Jane Martinson, who works in employment services at the center.
Bonds said, “I feel proud when people tell me ‘Good job, Danny,’ and I want to keep doing my job well. Also, I like to earn money.”
Bonds enjoys the freedom and independence associated with earning his own money. He recently used some of his earnings to purchase new eye glasses. He also enjoys spending money to decorate his room for the holidays. His favorite holidays are Halloween and Christmas.
“I like Halloween because I like to dress up as Popeye the Sailor, but I also like Christmas. I like to decorate the Christmas tree and have fun at Christmas parties,” Bonds said.
Additionally, Bonds enjoys a variety of other activities. He bowls every Friday night, enjoys swimming at his summer camp, listening to The Beatles and drinking iced tea with his girlfriend. He is proud of his right to vote and plans on exercising that right in the upcoming election. Although he admitted, “I haven’t decided who to vote for next time.”
Bonds is a dedicated person and likes working at the Center. Martinson said, “Danny Bonds is a remarkable man who has overcome many obstacles. Despite a difficult start in life, Danny has taken every chance to better himself and bring joy into the lives of others.”
When asked if he had an advice for others with disabilities who are looking for jobs, he said, “If you are looking for a job, talk to people you know. They might be able to help you.”
APD supports people with developmental disabilities to live, learn and work in their communities. The agency annually serves more than 50,000 Floridians with autism, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, intellectual disabilities, Down syndrome and Prader-Willi syndrome. For more information about the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, visit APDcares.org or call toll free 1-866-APD-CARES (1-866-273-2273).