Joan M. Rumenap has spent her career tirelessly serving as an advocate for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Joan is currently serving as a Support Broker at Accessible Resources for Independence (ARI), providing information and assistance to people who choose self-direction from the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) waiver programs to enhance their independence and quality of life. Joan provides information on the self-directed services option to potential participant-employers and their circles of support, and offers to meet with them individually to discuss how self-directed services can work for them. Joan encourages participant-employers to manage their services and supervise their employees to the fullest possible extent.
In her role at ARI, Joan also serves as a mentor to other support brokers who are new to self-direction and provides guidance and advice to them in better understanding their role.
In partnership with multiple non-profits, Joan participated on a panel discussion and talked about what it means to her personally to be a Support Broker. She spoke passionately about focusing her efforts on providing the necessary information and assistance so that participant-employers are involved and fully realize the freedom and responsibility of their employment authority. She made it a point to present alongside an employer and self-advocate as well as a case manager and an FMS team member so that those in attendance could better understand what self-direction is in a big picture sense. It was a powerful presentation and one that everyone felt should be repeated.