I like ending my training year by doing sessions that involve people with disabilities. I got into this field because I wanted to work directly with people with disabilities and throughout my career I have managed, no matter what else I did or what position I held, to have direct contact with people with disabilities. I never want to be too far from my roots and too busy to have real time and hear the real concerns of people who live in care. It's refreshing but it's also sobering. I am reminded, every time I do one of the abuse prevention training sessions, of the joys and pains of community living as expressed by people with disabilities in the training.
During the training I feel like I'm honoured to hear the concerns and the fears of the group, I'm honoured to hear the hopes and the dreams. I carry away with me a renewed sense of commitment ... we need to do more that service delivery, we need to engage in societal change ... we need to confront bigotry and eradicate social barriers created by bias and ignorance. We need to do more. But we need to do more under the leadership of those who speak so eloquently of the lives they live and the goals they have in the community - to feel safe, - to feel respected - to be given a chance. Not much to ask for ... is it?
I'll be home late tomorrow. I'll be at work on Monday. And I'll be thinking all through the season about what I've heard, what I've been reminded of ... and about the need to recommit to the radical side of service delivery - making change happen.