At SOLAs and RHCs, Service is What We Do

Last week, parents of Washingtonians with developmental disabilities and the WFSE members who care for them in State Operated Living Alternatives (SOLA) and Residential Habilitation Centers (RHC) came together to meet with legislators.

The annual Action DD luncheon was a chance for parent and caregiver advocates to speak with legislators about funding, protecting and enhancing the vital institutions that support some of our most vulnerable citizens.

Kym Adams, a WFSE Local 843 member, is a case resource manager at the DDA.

“I’ve been serving people with intellectual disabilities since 1991,” she said at the luncheon. 

“I am here to advocate for continuing support for DDA programs, for support for transitional programs, and to help people understand what we do.”

Adams is passionate about making sure that people with developmental disabilities receive the services they need to be supported in the community. 

“We need to work together to ensure that all facilities and all homes are safe places to live,” she said.

SOLAs offer adults the opportunity to live at home with support from public employee caregivers. Washington’s RHCs, by contrast, are full service living facilities intended to support clients and prepare them to return to their communities when they are ready. 

Monica Verrall is a WFSE Local 341 member and a Fiscal Technician at SOLA. She’s dedicated to supporting folks with developmental disabilities and has been working for SOLA for 24 years.

Verrall works to manage finances for clients who need aid. She makes sure bills are paid and protects clients from financial exploitation.

“It’s very rewarding work,” she said.

Verrall sees unionism as critical to the work she does. 

“You are a voice that has power because you are with many, many other voices. There is much power in community,” she said.

“We have much diversity amongst our members, but we all have a common goal: that we’re trying to better the state of Washington. We’re WFSE members and that’s what we do.”