Like so many others, I can draw upon numerous stories regarding the fabulous staff and programs at SHS. However, one that stands out goes back to the first “Semi Famous Players” performance that my daughter, Sierra, was in when she was 14 years old. I don’t recall the name of the play, nor the role she played, or even where it was held.
What stands out is how the staff involved with Semi Famous Players found a role for every single participant that was signed up for the show, regardless of capability. The staff created characters, lines, staging, and costumes so that each person had a reason to be on stage. They provided clear expectations and treated each participant as an individual.
I remember watching the show with my heart swelling, tears coming down my face, and experiencing a new appreciation of the axiom “everyone has something to contribute when given the opportunity”. Afterward, the cast party was held at Boston Pizza, where I watched 20+ participants and staff “hanging out”, discussing the show, laughing and talking.
I didn’t see a group of “people with disabilities,” I saw young people having fun and building friendships. As I look back over the multitude of comparable experiences my daughter has had with SHS, and I have experienced with her, I know that first experience was a microcosm of the culture of Semiahmoo House Society, a place where person-centred practice is not a “motto”–it is at the foundation of all they do.
Semiahmoo House Society, a non-profit organization located in Surrey/White Rock, exists to provide quality services and supports to people with disabilities and their families in the community. The Semiahmoo Foundation, located in Surrey/White Rock, exists to fund, support and enhance the programs and services delivered by Semiahmoo House Society.
By Colleen McGoff-Dean, Board Member