One of my favorite poets, Maya Angelou, once said, "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." At DARS, we understand that Texans with disabilities are people first, and we believe that personalization is the key to success. Our way of understanding and serving our consumers makes me proud, as does the fact that our legacy at DARS is "A Legacy of Compassionate Service."

We celebrate opportunities to identify the individual goals, strengths and talents of the people to whom we provide services and leverage these qualities to help them reach their goals. We take pride in providing services that help families with children who have developmental delays by preparing these children to succeed in school and beyond. And we feel fulfilled when we are able to help our vocational rehabilitation consumers obtain jobs that capitalize on the strengths they already have, while helping them to grow and develop new ones.

By not just providing a service, but working to identify and provide the right service for each person we serve, we help empower our consumers to achieve the feeling of success that comes when a combination of determination, hard work, training, services and supports turns their goals into realities.

When I think of all that DARS has helped our consumers accomplish, I am reminded of former President George H.W. Bush's remarks at the Americans with Disabilities Act's 19th anniversary: "There is always more to be done, which is why it's good not only to celebrate our successes, but to look forward at what still must be done. As long as we never forget that every life is a miracle and each person has something to contribute, we will finish the job." Bush's remarks show that we must always be open to changing and growing to create a better future.

Change and a better future were on our minds when DARS opened its doors on March 1, 2004, and we embarked on the journey of learning from and capitalizing on the very best aspects of our legacy agencies. In 2004, we stood on the shoulders of a long line of great leaders and embraced great programs, propelling us forward to years of successes.

Today, DARS is changing and growing again in response to the 84th Texas Legislature as it has directed DARS programs and services to be placed with new agencies in September 2016. I am confident that, as a result of these changes, our consumers will have bright futures where they benefit from the same compassionate service they experience in partnership with DARS today.

I am proud of our accomplishments at DARS in 2015, and I invite you to learn more about our successes this year and our journey as an agency in this annual report.