Just a Story in a Magazine?
You know those times when something awesome happens in your day? And you just want to share it? Not with the whole world, but with someone you think will appreciate it?
Since you all understand and value the importance of people telling their story, I thought I would share what happened today.
I got a call this morning from a grandfather of a 14 year-old boy with autism. He was desperate to find help for his daughter and grandson. After listening to his story, which by the way was heart breaking and due to a broken system, and setting him up with direction and resources to guide his tough journey ahead, I asked him how he got my name?
Oh man, this is the best part of the story.
He was sitting in a hospital waiting for an MRI. He picked up a magazine, Thrive. He told me he read an article about a man named Alex Magnussen. And for the first time since his grandson was born, he felt hope.
He went home. Then, he went back to the hospital and stole the magazine! He made a call to Alex and left a message. He questioned himself and wondered if he should have called Alex. The article mentioned Semiahmoo House Society. So, he want on the website and found my name.
A random story in a random magazine that happened to be on a table in a hospital and gave one person in the world hope. I don’t think there is any better evidence about the power of people telling their story.
When I told the grandfather I knew Alex, he was thrilled. He asked if I would call him and thank him for being brave, for being a leader and for publishing his story.
I just got off the phone with Alex and I don’t think I can put into words the impact this story had on him.
Every so often, I—maybe we all do—meet people who are resistant to people with developmental disabilities publicly telling their stories. They may have a few valid points when stories are related to tokenism or to make an agency or system look good or consent. But do people really know why they are sharing their story? I usually make efforts to hear their side and usually try to have people think about the difference between stories for another agenda and stories that support social change.
This story I will hold close to my heart and use it every time I meet someone with this perspective.
Nolda Ware, Manager of Centred Person Practices
UNITI is the partnership of three affiliated non-profit societies that work together to provide inclusive community services: Semiahmoo House Society, Peninsula Estates Housing Society and The Semiahmoo Foundation.
Semiahmoo House Society provides quality services and supports to people with disabilities and their families. Peninsula Housing Estates Society provides affordable and inclusive housing that reflects the diversity of our community. The Semiahmoo Foundation assures that UNITI has the recognition, relationships and resources to support an inclusive community. Together, we’re stronger!