You were born with potential.
You were born with goodness and trust. You were born with ideals and dreams.
You were born with greatness.
You were born with wings.
You are not meant for crawling, so don’t. You have wings.
Learn to use them and fly.
– Rumi, 13th century poet
I believe that individuals with special needs possess a latent potential that can be tapped, developed and encouraged to soar. I know that people with special needs are inquisitive and never stop learning regardless of age or ability. I recognize that everyone has different abilities and needs, likes and dislikes. I believe that everybody has something valuable to offer, and that we should strive to unlock the full potential within each individual. I also believe it’s important to create a safe and confidence-building environment that provides stable, meaningful employment and volunteer opportunities for individuals with special needs. Moreover, it’s also essential to offer on-going work and social skills development, and help build critical relationships with peers so that these individuals achieve maximum success and enjoyment in life.
My desire is to work with other like-minded individuals to provide meaningful and stable work opportunities for people with special needs, and to see these individuals grow, develop and take pride in what they do. I want to create a stable, reliable, safe and welcoming second “home” and “family” for these individuals throughout their lifetimes. Ideally, this will provide renewed hope and peace of mind for their families as well.
This vision – call it a centre of excellence – will work with community partners to encourage and create meaningful and appropriate skills development, employment and volunteer opportunities for individuals with special needs. We will establish key relationships with parents, schools, agencies, associations, potential employers as well as key government bodies. We will build strategic partnerships with service providers to benefit from expertise and services that they already have developed. We will offer on-going social and communication programs that focus on key life, leisure and self-help skills. We will invite guest presentations on specialized topics such as nutrition, yoga and naturopathy, as well as offer specialized programs such as art and pet therapy.
We will continue to grow developmental resources. Services could include various clubs, e.g. photography, computer, art, performance, gardening as well as drop-in facilities such as a gym, games/media room, yoga and art/photography studios.
We will be a highly visible and active force in the community. We will proudly host art and photography exhibits, have an art/craft store, and sell flowers and produce from our gardens. We will hold exhibitions, premieres, musical/theatrical productions and other events.
We will be a shining example of an organization that truly cares, and one that places expectations on its own individuals to participate and offer their unique talents and gifts to others. This philosophy becomes a key component of our approach in developing the individual as a whole, and stressing a strong sense of community. Therefore, we will have our individuals actively participate in the community where possible and appropriate. Examples include participating in food and Christmas toy drives, helping out at events for charities, and visiting individuals who are ill or incapacitated, e.g. hospitals, retirement residences.
A vision without action is just a dream. With support and effort, I believe we can create a model that offers dynamic, inspiring, and meaningful development, employment and volunteer opportunities for people with special needs.