It was nice to see so many friendly faces. Amanda came running down the hall to greet me with a huge smile. We chatted excitedly. She's a lovely gentle woman who walks with accomplishment and pride in the life she has crafted for herself. She and the other Amanda, on of the group's facilitators, and I have known each other for a very long time.
I was a little nervous because I'd done this workshop a lot and when I raised the concern that they'd all been through the abuse prevention workshop several times, I was told that many new people were attending and that the one's with more experience would sit back and enjoy watching new poeple learn.
Which is what happened. There was a real attmosphere of welcome and grace from the 'old timers' as the new folks got up and did roles plays. I'm amazed at the maturity of some self advocate groups, how well they support each other. But then, it worked the other way too.
One of the older folks, who had taken the course a number of times got up and had difficulty briefly with something, a young girl - half the woman's age - saw the situation and before I could react, she stepped up and said, 'I'll help you.'
She didn't expect the staff in the room to be the solution. She didn't wait for others to take responsiblity. She didn't look the other way. I sat there quietly impressed. I thanked her for her help when she was done and she said, 'Sometimes it's best when it's free.'
There's a whole book to be written about that!