Life doesn’t come to us like an equation. It comes to us in the style that a typical story does, scene by scene. We wake up. What’s going to happen next? We don’t get to know! But, we enter each day and take the journey as it comes. In every story there are different characters, and a wide range of settings. A year goes by like a chapter from a novel. Sometimes it seems like a drama. Sometimes like a comedy. Most of it feels like a soap opera. Whatever happens, it’s a story through and through.
We are here to celebrate milestones. In the past year, I have watched all the residents of Chorus work though and overcome personal challenges. I have recognized a major growth in confidence both within each of them and myself. In the first year of Chorus, we have taken a path that had not been taken. The beginning process focused on building relationships. It was important to establish a level of trust with each resident and their families. So, thank you for always being open to my phone calls and texts.
It is always important and at times challenging to find ways to lead with a positive attitude. The road to independence can be slow and challenging. So, it is always important to celebrate small wins. Starting slow with daily life decisions, many of the residents have experienced strongly nurturing environments. In the beginning, there was definitely some uncertainty to start their venture into living on their own and making decisions at this level. We started slowly by figuring out ways to empower everyone with daily life decisions. It started with the simple things such as how to wash dishes or what to have for dinner and then that confidence began to transfer to new challenging situations. The goal has stayed the same: which is to support each person to lead and live a fulfilling and self-determined life.
If you do not have self-determination, then other people are in charge of you and either decide how you will live your life or tell you how to live your life. If you have self-determination or self-direction, then this means you are in charge of your own life. You are living the way you want to live. There are not enough words to describe how I feel when I sit and listen to each resident express that they feel better about themselves and that they are living the dream. In a society where people love to categorize, attach labels and follow stereotypes, it’s important to remember that each person has many labels and each one shapes us, but no single one defines us. It’s been an interdependent relationship all around. We learn from each other and we learn to adapt.
This first year each individual has taught me something that I can take with me and go forward with:
- Weakness isn’t always a negative (relationships rule)- Stacey
- Embrace everything- Krista
- Fitting in is overrated- Katie
- Being different is an opportunity- Alexa
- Don’t sweat the little things- Cam
- Patience can get you through almost anything- Tracie
- Help others (Serving creates meaning) – West
- Take pride in yourself- Jason
- Size doesn’t matter and it’s a good thing to give back- Michaela
- Life is the largest stage- Mady
- Change is good- Cory
- Think big thoughts, but relish small pleasures- Natalie
- Live the Life of Your Dreams- Katelyn
- The purpose of life is to be happy- Janek
- Live every day to the fullest–in moderation- Alistair
- Some succeed because they are destined. Some succeed because they are determined- Joan
- Fall down seven times, get up eight- Mark
- Do you! – Roland
- Let your voice be heard- Kaly
- Memories last forever- Adam (Most amazing memory)
So to conclude, our story is constantly evolving and I am excited to enter this new chapter and see where it takes us all. Thank you!
Kereisha Gordon, Community Support Worker at Semiahmoo House Society
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 exists to fund, support and enhance the programs and services delivered by Semiahmoo House Society. Chorus is an inclusive and affordable housing development owned by Peninsula Estates Housing Society, an affiliate society to Semiahmoo House Society. All three societies are partners in UNITI.