FwD  is a  501 (c) 3 non-profit Community Benefit Organization, (CBO).


“Inclusion Starts With You”


To reach out to the community of individuals with disabilities in order to educate and promote inclusion.


‘Live Chats with Paul

It will air monthly with  topics and information that is important to our participants.

ZOOM LIVE  is right for us because:

  • It will provide us a great way to interact with our participants
  • It will give us a stronger connection
  • It will play in real time
  • Bring participants questions or comments into the broadcasting itself
  • Provide updates in a timely manner
  • Increase interaction with current participants
  • Broadcast for longer period
  • Its what the participants wants.

FwD Testimony


Individuals over the  age of 18 with a physical disability!

A disability is a natural part of the human condition, a state we can move in and out of as our life progresses. Disability is something people experience, not something they are. People experience disability on a continuum, from mild and temporary, to severe and lifelong.  Many people who experience disability might not consider themselves ‘disabled.’  For these reasons, we describe disability as a functional limitation, rather than a specific diagnosis. One in four Michigan residents has such limitations.  There is currently a disparity, or inequality, in health status between people who have disabilities, and people who don’t.

For example:

  • Nearly half of people with disabilities describe their health as fair or poor. Only 8% of people without disabilities describe their health this way.
  • People with disabilities acquire many chronic conditions (like diabetes, heart disease, and depression) at about three times the rate of people who do not have disabilities.
  • People with disabilities report significantly higher rates of obesity, smoking, and physical inactivity.

These disparities exist in part because there are barriers for people with disabilities in obtaining the information, activities and services that are necessary to achieve and maintain good health.

(Michigan Dept of Human Services (MDHS)- Strategic Plan2016-2018)

Resource Based:

FwD will provide a resource base that will create an atmosphere  where everyone will feel comfortable and cared for. The overall goal is to provide an opportunity for individuals with disabilities to live a gainful life while struggling through daily challenges.



  • CREATE an overall positive and exciting environment through activities and events.
  • LEARN more about disability issues.
  • TEACH the greater community proper etiquette when dealing with special populations.
  • BUILD connections and support systems that will foster life-long relationships.

Community Resources

1.  If you are in need of food and delivery please call: Loaves & Fishes
(269) 343-3663

2.  Kalamazoo Mental Health Assistance (medicaid and/or Medicare)
(269) 373-6000

3. (Now accepts EBT)
For Food pick-up & delivery  1-800-925-6278

People with Disabilities’ Bill of Rights

We believe that all people should enjoy certain rights. Because people with disabilities have consistently been denied the right to fully participate in society as free and equal members, it is important to state an affirm these rights. All people should be able to enjoy these rights, regardless of race, creed, color, sex, religion, or disability.

  1. The right to live independent, active, and full lives
  2. The right to the equipment, assistance, and support services necessary for full productivity, provided in a way that promotes dignity and independence.
  3. The right to an adequate income or wage, substantial enough to provide food, clothing, shelter, and other necessities of life.
  4. The right to accessible, integrated, convenient, and affordable housing.
  5. The right to quality physical and mental health care.
  6. The right to training and employment without prejudice or stereotype.
  7. The right to accessible transportation and freedom of movement.
  8. The right to bear or adopt and raise children and have a family.
  9. The right to a free and appropriate public education.
  10. The right to participate in and benefit from entertainment and recreation.
  11. The right to equal access to and use all businesses, facilities, and activities in the community.
  12. The right to communicate freely with all fellow citizens and those who provide services.
  13. The right to a barrier free environment.
  14. The right to a legal representation and full protection of all legal rights.
  15. The right to determine one’s own future and make one’s own life choices.
  16. The right to full access to all voting processes.

Letter from the CEO

I am  hoping that you and your loved ones had a safe and joyful holiday and looking forward to what 2022 will look like. Friends with Disabilities is  moving forward by shifting our focus from activities and events to impacting our participants.

The year 2021 allowed us to see how great the needs are of people with disabilities, especially those who are black and brown.

As an organization we must react to external  & internal factors and begin to  focus on capacity development and managing our growth.

We are  so thankful for all of  our supporters who help and assist us change lives  and staying true to our mission.

Whether you are a donor, volunteer, driver, or sponsor, you are changing lives!

Recently, FWD hosted a Gala Dinner, to spotlight individuals with physical disabilities as VIP’s. We believe that showing the public that building connections and promoting inclusion, will serve as a model for other communities to enact .

Our plans for FWD this year are bold!  We hope to be able to increase our numbers, ( depends on COVID) add new board members and train new volunteers.

Sharmese D. Anderson
President and CEO

Month of May Topic: Tourette Syndrome

What is Tourette Syndrome?

Tourette Syndrome (TS) is a condition of the nervous system. TS causes people to have “tics”.

Tics are sudden twitches, movements, or sounds that people do repeatedly. People who have tics cannot stop their body from doing these things. For example, a person might keep blinking over and over. Or a person might make a grunting sound unwillingly.

Having tics is a little bit like having hiccups. Even though you might not want to hiccup, your body does it anyway. Sometimes people can stop themselves from doing a certain tic for a while, but it’s hard. Eventually the person has to do the tic.

Types of Tics- There are two types of tics—motor and vocal:

Motor Tics

Motor tics are movements of the body. Examples of motor tics include blinking, shrugging the shoulders, or jerking an arm.

Vocal Tics

Vocal tics are sounds that a person makes with his or her voice. Examples of vocal tics include humming, clearing the throat, or yelling out a word or phrase.

Tics can be either simple or complex:

Simple Tics

Simple tics involve just a few parts of the body. Examples of simple tics include squinting the eyes or sniffing.

Complex Tics

Complex tics usually involve several different parts of the body and can have a pattern. An example of a complex tic is bobbing the head while jerking an arm, and then jumping up.

Symptoms of Tourette syndrome

The main symptoms of TS are tics. Symptoms usually begin when a child is 5 to 10 years of age. The first symptoms often are motor tics that occur in the head and neck area. Tics usually are worse during times that are stressful or exciting. They tend to improve when a person is calm or focused on an activity.

The types of tics and how often a person has tics changes a lot over time. Even though the symptoms might appear, disappear, and reappear, these conditions are considered chronic.

In most cases, tics decrease during adolescence and early adulthood, and sometimes disappear entirely. However, many people with TS experience tics into adulthood and, in some cases, tics can become worse during adulthood.

Although the media often portray people with TS as involuntarily shouting out swear words (called coprolalia) or constantly repeating the words of other people (called echolalia), these symptoms are rare, and are not required for a diagnosis of TS.

Diagnosing Tourette syndrome

There is no single test, like a blood test, to diagnose TS. Health professionals look at the person’s symptoms to diagnose TS and other tic disorders. The tic disorders differ from each other in terms of the type of tic present (motor or vocal, or combination of both), and how long the symptoms have lasted. TS can be diagnosed if a person has both motor and vocal tics and has had tic symptoms for at least a year.

Treatment for Tourette syndrome

Although there is no cure for TS, there are treatments available to help manage the tics. Many people with TS have tics that do not get in the way of their daily life and, therefore, do not need any treatment. However, medication and behavioral treatments are available if tics cause pain or injury; interfere with school, work, or social life; or cause stress.


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5047 West Main Street #110
Kalamazoo, Michigan 49009