My introduction to Semiahmoo House is relatively recent, and I suspect my experience is not unusual for others that first meet its “heart”.
My daughter has had a volunteer relationship with Semiahmoo House for a number of years and it was not uncommon for the two of us to be walking somewhere in the community and bump into some of her friends. These were people of all ages, and a bunch of different abilities and backgrounds. After introductions, I would later ask my daughter where she knew the person from and often, it was through a Semiahmoo House connection.
Finally one morning we went to the treehouse and I got a glimpse of the people impacted by Semiahmoo House. I remember the feeling clearly. Walking through the front door, my first impression was beehive: Lots of laughing and talking, people going from one room to another and getting themselves organized for the day ahead and more hugs per second than I have ever seen in one location before in my life.
When I turned to ask my daughter a question, she was gone. She had slipped away to speak with a group of young people getting ready to go to a program of some sort. So there I stood, underneath that big tree in that big atrium of that big beautiful building, alone yet surrounded by beautiful people. And although I couldn’t identify them at the time in amongst the commotion of the “Grand Central Station”-like atmosphere, I knew there were a bunch of beautiful people in that room doing really important work for a bunch of really important people.
After some period of time passed, of me standing silently in the middle of this great scene, my daughter scooped me up and off we went, towards the same door from which we entered but not before her hugging every second person she met on the way out. I was still mentally processing the scene that I had just witnessed when my daughter broke the silence, “pretty cool hey Dad? And just think that’s just the treehouse! There’s a lot more to Semiahmoo House than that.”
I have since had the opportunity to meet a bunch of those beautiful people doing that important work and I realize that the treehouse is only the heart of Semiahmoo House, gathering people, organizing them and sending them out into the community, just like the heart of any living being might 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 David Ure who recently joined Semiahmoo House Society as a Board Member