Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Sons and Daughters

Ever look at the rest of the week and think, 'how am I going to make it?' Well, that's how I'm feeling right now. I took yesterday off to get back into the time zone. One day may not have been enough. But, I've got appointments, commitments and decisions that have to be kept, attended and made. So, it's back at it.

I'm so lucky to have a job that allows me to travel to lecture yet remain a part of a team here locally. After spending the week talking to parents at the World Congress, I go back to work with even more determination. As long time readers know, I've been working at Vita on a project that has as it's goal the discovery of strategies that agencies can use to become abuse free. We've been on a wild ride as we've tried various policy changes, changed up how we use staff time, refocussed on self-advocate education and training.

I know in my heart that what we are doing is important but it becomes more 'real' when I speak to parent after parent who wants their children to live safely in the world and to rest safely in the agencies that provide them service. I remember the tremendous trust that parents hand us when their children take part in any of our programmes. They know their children are vulnerable and they hope and pray that we are trustworthy. But they shouldn't have to vaguely hope.

Every agency should be able deliniate the ways that they work towards being safe. Every parent should ask, 'What to you do to reduce or eliminate abuse of those in your care?' Every agency should be able to delineate several practical and 'in practice' strategies that are on-going and in play at all times.

We at Vita have some exciting things planned for the next couple of months. I think of that as I return to work today. I think of the mom who said to me, 'The worst part of having a child with a disability is the need to constantly trust strangers.' I get that. I learned much at the Congress. But what I really needed was to be reminded that this project, the longest of my career, matters.

One of the mothers I met at the conference was Gun who is a regular commenter here on the blog and asked to take a picture of her son with Joe and I. I thank her for sending me a copy.



See that guy in the picture? He's the guy I'm going back to work today for ...


PS. several people have asked me to write about telling a child about disability. i am going to do this in the next few days. give me some time to get it written right.

11 comments:

Eileen said...

You are an amazing person for the work that you do. I just found your blog and I look forward to going back and reading more.

*ICLW*

Gün Osborn said...

"See that guy in the picture? He's the guy I'm going back to work today for ... "

Dave, if only we could clone you and send to every city, every agency in the world...

Thank You.

Kris Stableford said...

"The worst part of having a child with a disability is the need to constantly trust strangers."

WOW. So true and (I imagine) so scary. Thanks for the reminder.

Jackie A. said...

Dave, I have been lurking on your blog for a very long time. I have to tell you that I have difficulty believing that any agency would have the courage to deal with abuse head on. You know what would help? Would the director of your agency consider writing a blog that you could publish? I'd like to hear from him that what you are saying about Vita is actually true. My guess is that you are exaggerating a bit about what you are doing there. That's fair, we all want to be proud of the organizations we work for. So I challenge you to have a guest blog from the very top of Vita.

Kristin said...

I love that picture because that smile on your face reflects the love you have for your job and the people you advocate for.

Manuela said...

In response to Jackie: Well we did and are still doing it. I am the Executive Director of Vita, the he you refer to is actually a she, however a blog writer I am not. It took me a while just to figure out how to sign my name and not comment as anonymous. I can tell you that Dave is not exaggerating. We have made tremendous and radical change. I would be happy to discuss it with you or anyone, my contact info is on www.vitacls.org. Our mission and tag line say what we believe and do: Providing Safety, Practicing Respect, Promoting Community.

Belinda said...

I echo Kristin's comment. I love the photo, the full, head on smile. And it looks as if you're giving a benediction with that raised hand! :)

When my mum had a stroke, I suddenly experienced what the families of the people we support experience all the time--"the need to constantly trust strangers." I also learned what it is to have the most intimate parts of your family life invaded, intruded upon, out of necessity. Still I am so grateful for the hands that help, and for my brother's watchful eyes, close by. That makes a great difference--we trust, but only to a point. People are human and have bad days and we try to make sure that someone else's bad day doesn't become Mum's.

Molly C said...

So Dave, not only are YOU awesome, but it seems you work for rather fantastic people too. :-) And by that I mean both Manuela and your future employer, Gun's son.

Anonymous said...

Others beat me to it; still, I had to comment on that picture. It's a pleasure to see that you, too, are enjoying just a little bit more freedom.

You look great, and this time, it didn't happen through artistic lighting and professional skill. All it took was a happy moment, and someone to capture it.

Kudos to Gun's mom, and to you.

Indigo said...

What a great job you have, you are truly one of the do-gooders this world needs.

ICLW

Molly C said...

also, PLEASE come to NYC so I can meet you