In between busy days of shredding there comes a time of celebration for James Parker. It is an annual event and he is not missing it, especially when the invitation comes from Mayor Annise Parker.
Setting up the vendor’s table with a business presentation, colorful brochures and a bowl of green mints completes the preparations. The balloons are in the air, the smiles are welcoming-Shredding on the Go is ready to share its story and inspire.
James Parker joined other people with disabilities to celebrate the Sixth Annual Disability Awareness Month on Sept. 26. The event was organized by the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD) at the Metropolitan Multi-Service Center. It commemorates the 24th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and celebrates the progress that has been made towards implementing it in the community.
“The City of Houston is committed to moving forward with you,” said Mayor Parker in her Proclamation speech. With a slogan for the event “Expect. Employ. Empower.” she pledged to spread awareness about employing individuals with disabilities throughout communities in Houston.
Shredding on the Go (SOTG) is an example of what this slogan stands for. It is a mobile shredding business that has evolved from James Parker’s need to be active in the community. With the help of his family, friends and therapists, he started a business that provides shredding services to small businesses and residential clients. “By attending events in the community like this one, we are motivating businesses to think outside the box and consider hiring individuals with disabilities,” said Renee Parker, SOTG’s business manager and James’ mother. She hopes to inspire families to start a small business to employ their children. Many participants of the event came to SOTG’s table to ask questions about the business, brainstorm about the new opportunities and share their stories with the Parkers.
“Everyone is welcome in the disability community,” said Houston City Council Member Brenda Stardig. She spoke about achieving common goals and encouraged everyone to be good neighbors. As a policy maker, she has worked to provide equal opportunities for residents with disabilities, but she stated that much more could be done if we work together.
Small businesses like SOTG depend on the community support. “Our service does not produce a huge impact, but we do meet our customers’ needs and they acknowledge that by providing us more business,” added Renee.
Next year is the 25th anniversary of the ADA that will serve as another milestone in disability awareness. SOTG is excited about the upcoming opportunities for the people with disabilities and hopes to be an example by showcasing their skills and determination.