A-Class Community Builder

Q. What do you consider to be your major successes or accomplishments in your career? How did you achieve these?

With all of the things that I am proud of, there are two commonalities: 1. I didn’t do it alone and relied heavily on other people, and 2. We weren’t afraid to say “Why not?”

I’m most proud of the times where we created something new or grew something new out of something that already existed. One of my favourite lines is: ‘The most dangerous phrase in the language is, ‘We’ve always done it this way.”’ I cherish the opportunity to challenge this mindset.

Q. Who are the people that you are currently serving and why do you focus on this particular group?

At Facile Waterloo Region, we support people to build on their unique abilities, to create the life they want in the community. Our work began with people with developmental disabilities and has expanded to include many people who face barriers to community inclusion, including people with physical disabilities or mental health challenges.

I’m passionate about working with this population and passionate about the work we do. For far too long people with disabilities have been segregated or denied a life of full-citizenship in the community. What do we mean by full citizenship?

Full Citizenship means rights. Full rights, just like every other member of the community. It means the right to participate in each aspect of community life that so many of us take for granted. The right to friendship, companionship, and love. The right to a safe and healthy home of your choosing. The right to meaningful work. The right to be respected and valued.

But citizenship isn’t just about rights. It’s also about responsibilities. Each of us as individuals has gifts, strengths, talents; a spark of our being that we have a responsibility to share with society. A responsibility to weave into the fabric of our community. It’s the responsibility of each of us to share these with our community.

Q. What benefits have you seen from your service to your current community and other efforts/projects you intend to pursue in the near future?

I think with each project or initiative or organisation I’m a part of, I’m always surprised how much more important the journey is than the destination. For example, in organising a neighbourhood porch party, you would assume that the best outcome is a fun festival of music. But for me, the best part is the chance to bring people together, and see people meet, get to know their neighbours, build friendships and relationships – build a stronger community. Bringing people together may seem like a by-product, but if you have a community development mindset, it is the goal. The reason for bringing people together – whether it’s for an event, issue, project – is secondary.What major disappointments/failures have you had in this field?


Originally posted 2016-04-25 17:56:06.

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