Unfortunately, these issues are part of day-to-day living. The system is broken nationwide.”
Matthew Plantz

Matthew Plantz knows what it means to be on a waiting list. By spring of 2007, he’d been on the list for services from the state’s Developmental Disabilities Administration for seven years.

A past winner of The Arc of Maryland’s Volunteer of the Year Award for Howard County, the Columbia native has been president of People Power, a self-advocacy group that fights for equal and respectful treatment for people with disabilities. When the movie “Tropic Thunder” was showing in Columbia, he, employees and other individuals served by The Arc protested the showing because it used the term “retard.”

The group attends Howard County Council budget hearings and Developmental Disabilities Day in Annapolis, where they voice their concerns to state legislators.

But it’s the Developmental Disabilities Administration that concerns him most. “There were nearly 19,000 people waiting to receive services,” says Plantz, who has multiple disabilities. “There isn’t enough money. We feel like ping-pong balls going back and forth between the Governor and the state legislature, asking for increased funding.”

Plantz’s “day job” is packaging medications in blister packs and boxing them for delivery at an Annapolis Junction pharmacy.  But it is advocacy at which he excels.

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