According to CBS News, Amy Bockerstette is known as “Amazing Amy.” What makes her amazing or special?
The Arc of Massachusetts is pleased to share with you the digital edition of the Spring 2021 issue of Advocate. The theme of this issue is Reconnecting. As we start to emerge from the pandemic, we look forward to reconnecting with the broader community through friendships, work, volunteering, and faith.
One of the challenges to friendships developing between people with and without disabilities is simply the discomfort—even fear—that people often have when faced with someone with whom they are unfamiliar. Appearances, behaviors, adaptive equipment, communication issues, etc. have all been identified as things that “get in the way” of relationships.
Over the last 2 years, The Real Friends Project has provided dozens of trainings and presentations to over 2,000 individuals. The “Introduction to Friends” workshop includes a segment where participants brainstorm and explore various benefits that “friendships” bestow upon people with and without disabilities. Very quickly, people will list the obvious (but important) benefits of companionship, reduced isolation, increased opportunities for activities, sense of self-worth, etc. But it usually takes awhile—and often requires prompting from the facilitator—for participants to list “better health” as a proven and crucial benefit of friendship.