In the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing the stories of the four champions we will be honoring at our Leading by Example gala on March 27. We will be recognizing several special people with intellectual and developmental disabilities who are making a difference: teaching the next generation of doctors; advocating at the State House for much-needed services and funding; and educating the community. You can follow along with these stories right here.
Periodically Widening the Circle will feature a story that showcases efforts to connect people with and without disabilities in deep and meaningful ways. Each story will include a link to an “analysis” of the elements within the story that we can look to as lessons for how to make friendships occur in other people’s lives.
“We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one destiny, affects all indirectly.” – Martin Luther King
This quote from Martin Luther King comes from his 1967 Christmas Sermon on Peace. Last year we talked about the civil rights era being an inspiration for disability advocacy. Fifty years after Dr. King uttered these words, we still struggle with embedding mutuality throughout our society for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Recently, I came across a column about friendships. I thought the commentary was too narrow – it focused on deficits of kids (or adults) with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). And though the author had some good points, she questioned the value of connecting people with disabilities with those without disabilities and argued that the lack of social skills would be a barrier.
We are pleased to share our toolkit -“Friends at Work”with you. In collaboration with the Department of Developmental Services, Widening the Circle project has developed this how to kit! Although intended for employment providers, it can be used by families and friends. Thank you to Rick Hawes of Berkshire Arc who worked with Jim Ross and Mary Ann Brennen and the project advisory committee to develop the toolkit. We also received input from Margaret Van Gelder of DDS and Cindy Thomas of ICI. We appreciate their generous sharing of information and resources. Click here to view the Toolkit.