Howard McBroom Brings His Passion for Advocacy and Education to the Board
Recently elected to Lanterman's board of directors, Howard McBroom is looking forward to doing his very best for the board, and as he calls it, the Lanterman Center.
A member of the class of 1977, McBroom graduated from Indiana University at Bloomington with a bachelor's degree in history. Shortly after graduating, he moved to Los Angeles where he worked at Curtin Security from 1977 to 2003, when the company shut its doors, after which he briefly found work with another security company, but left the new job after a short stint.
It was around this time that a friend of his who is a disability advocate suggested to McBroom that he might be eligible for regional center services. And in 2004, one year shy of being 50 years old, McBroom was diagnosed with autism for the first time. He shares, “When I first came to Lanterman, I was having some difficulty taking care of myself, but Marie
McGinley, my service coordinator, helped me find a new place to live in Glendale that would be easier for me to manage, and with some independent living services I've been doing better ever since. I call it my cozy little cubby hole.”
In 2006, McBroom started working part-time at the Vons just down the street from his apartment as an inventory tagger. He says, “I started working at the same store where I grocery shop, so I joined a workforce of people who already knew me. I like my job a lot.” He has also been a member of the Center's Programs and Services Committee and enjoys participating in community awareness activities. “I went to Sacramento earlier this year as part of the Grassroots Day delegation to share with our legislators and their staff about the important work the Lanterman Center does to support people like me. Marie and I also speak to different groups. We call ourselves the dynamic duo. She talks about what services are available to help young adults transition to adulthood, and I talk about my life, how Lanterman helps me and how it's possible to live independently,” adds McBroom.
In his free time, when he's not visiting friends, McBroom enjoys reading history, particularly 20th century American and European history. His favorite history book is “The Longest Day: the Classic Epic of D-Day.” He also writes science fiction, which he is working with some of his friends to get published. He shares, “I was recognized as being the number one fan of the World Wrist Wrestling Championship that used to be held in Petaluma, California. I watched the championship in person every year for over 25 years, but they don't hold it anymore.” McBroom also volunteers as an usher on Wednesday nights and Sundays at SpiritWorks, his church in Burbank. And two of his friends have made a film treatment of a movie that they would like to make about his life.
He says, “I take my responsibility as a board member very seriously. I would like to do as much as possible to help Lanterman by advocating and speaking out on behalf of how vitally important the services Lanterman provides are, since without the Lanterman Center, I'm sure I would have ended out on the street.”