Thursday, April 03, 2014

A Little Before Lunch

(photo description: seven people clustered together, the two people in the front row are in wheelchairs, all are giving the 'thumbs up' sign. In the picture are: back row - Kevin; middle row - Lisa, Chris, Joe, Addy; front row - Jessica (with the cast) and Dave.)

Yesterday, as I wrote yesterday, the Advocates Against Abuse team was training trainers with disabilities to train people with disabilities on abuse prevention. I had seen all phases of this project but was missing this one. The training day, which had been mine, was now theirs. I got that. I knew that. I understood that. But the pull to go was, in the end, irresistible.

Joe arrived to pick me up, he had brought with him 'Congratulations' cards for me to write in and then sign, these were for me to give to the trainers and their helper. I had asked one of the Vita participants when lunch was and we aimed to arrive just at the beginning of lunch. That way, I reasoned, we wouldn't be interrupting we'd be joining. (Clever that, no?)

We opened the door and found that class was still in full swing. So we both crept in, smiling at Jess and Chris who were the self advocate instructors of the two day training. They smiled back and class continued. It was my luck that the topic under discussion was why, once the class was underway, latecomers couldn't be admitted. There's lots of reasons for this, and they were outlining them - disruption, distraction, interruption, missing essential parts ... Joe and I looked guiltily at each other, I mouthed the words to him, 'I thought it was lunch time.'

Jess and Chris were wonderful enough, and clever enough trainers, to stop and introduce us as newcomers. The class members would have known who we were because clips of me are used in the teaching. I then, just as class was about to break for lunch, made a little speech about the importance of the day and gave the cards to the trainers and their helper.

It was nice.

We were invited to stay after lunch but we didn't. We weren't needed. It was well in hand. We both drove away feeling really wonderful about the whole thing. From start to finish, it's been amazing. Joe, who has taught almost as many abuse prevention classes as I have, agreed that it had been important for him too to see, really, the official transition.

To the agencies who have been involved in initiative: Community Living Essex County; Community Living Windsor, Community Living Chatham Kent, Christian Horizons and Vita - the project took vision, it took work, it took determination and it took cooperation and collaboration, but most of all it took a desire to do things better, a realization of the untapped talents and potential of people with intellectual disabilities and the belief that things truly and deeply can change. Awesome.


Steve Snider said...

Dave - I would have loved to see you and Joe try to sneak into the room! What a hoot! It has taken a long time to get to this week, but what a great ride, eh? I look forward to see the impact of AAA spread to the GTA through Vita and CH Central District.
Steve Snider - CH Education

Melodie Cook said...

This project has been a true privilege for all involved. I can't wait to see what this newest generation of Trainers, Helpers and course participants will have to say about their experience as this unrolls further. Thanks for letting so many people know about this exciting project Dave. Kudos AAA!

clairesmum said...

Kudos to you AND Joe! Much good work has been done!

Belinda Burston said...

From someone who has watched the excitement of applicants to be trainers from the sidelines; even seeing someone not be chosen, knowing that there are high expectations because this training is so important--I can't speak highly enough of the quality and generosity of this work.