We live in a small townhouse complex with only 23 units. As such, this fosters a greater sense of community as everyone knows each other. Our children all play together and we all tend to look out for one another. As the weather warms and days grow longer, the cul-de-sac fills with kids from morning until dusk.
Ken frequently joins us all in the complex as we chat, watching the children play. The men drink beer while the women chat and everyone has a great time.
Not long ago, my neighbour who works at my daughter’s school told me a story about her three year old daughter. Earlier that day, the story was repeated to her mother by her daughter’s preschool teacher. She said the children were learning about communities, neighbours & neighbourhoods. Each child had to tell a story about their neighbours & their neighbourhood. This young three-year old girl told a story about Ken.
Ken has lived as part of our family for almost three years. This young girl told a story about her neighbour Ken, how he waits in the morning in front of the house for his bus. How he doesn’t really talk, but she knows he loves pop and beer and he LOVES her dog who looks exactly like his own dog, Mac.
I was moved by the story because the story wasn’t about Ken’s disability. She just sees Ken for Ken, what he likes and what she’s learned about him. Too often we try to create natural supports in the community, but if they are truly natural, you don’t have to try at all. It just happens beautifully and naturally all on its own. This little girl stops by our house every morning on her way out with her mom to say hi to Ken.
By Renée Marlatt, Home Share Provider to Ken
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.