Entry Submitted by BB at 3:08 PM EDT on October 22, 2016
"RE: Just Another Couple of Questions" - Guest Post by Leenish
Dear sweet Leenish, I don't know who rained on your parade about animals not being a humanitarian project but don't you believe that for one minute. Everything on this planet is a humanitarian project no matter how big or how small. God put animals in your heart to help. You wouldn't want to disappoint Him, no matter what anyone tells you.
Let me tell you a story about my daughter. Thirty years ago, God put a passion in her heart, she started a non profit, AWC in Eugene, Oregon, for the very forgotten group of people with physical, mental disabilities. She now has seminars teaching people around the world to help their forgotten people. Her program is to put this forgotten, unwanted people to work in real jobs not work shops at the Goodwill for a dollar a day.
Let me leave you with my daughter, Jacques, story about Patty. Put yourself in Patty's body while you read this heart wrenching story.
" When we set up AWC 30 years ago, Patty was one of the first people referred to us, after living in Fairview Metal Hospital her whole life. Patty was born with Cerebal Palsy, needed to be pushed in a wheelchair that was laid back to accommodate the rod in her back. She used one arm for gross motor tasks, and on the other hand she had two fingers that would only do fine motor skills. Patty was verbal but it was very hard to understand her speech. She also couldn’t read or tell time. When I first met Patty she was living in a nursing home and was in bed most of the time. When I said that I was there to meet Patty because I was going to find her a job, the staff laughed at me, in front of Patty, saying that there was no way that could happen. Patty moved to a group home in Eugene where we learned more about her strengths & support needs. Patty needed a two person lift to get out of her chair every two hours because of skin breakdowns, and couldn’t fit her wheelchair into our elevator to get to our office. Having never done this before, I started worrying a little about what I had gotten myself into, and what kinds of jobs she would really be able to do. But knowing deep in my heart that this was still the right thing to do we moved forward. The more I got to know Patty the more I liked her shy smile, and soft spoken ways. She said she really wanted to help people, but didn’t know how. Soon we found out that a local research company was hiring for someone to run their copy center. I went to do a job analysis to see what jobs and tasks were involved and started thinking of the ways that Patty might be able to work there. It was time to brainstorm, one obstacle at a time. Patty could lay on some matts on her break for her skin breakdowns. (check) Then, we worked with the PT to get Patty’s back flexible enough to sit up straight so her wheelchair would fit in the elevator to access the site. Patty said she would love to take the job. As we went on, we realized that there was a lot of stapling of packets in the job. We were able to make a stapling jig out of old phone books, duct tape, an office collator, and an electric stapler which allowed Patty to use her two fingers to do her first task totally independently! She was so excited to feel so productive and independent as she was able to staple 100’s of packets in a shift and soon was deemed the stapling queen! Patty helped run the copy center with her coworker for many, many years. Through her job, she learned more tasks with adaptations and earned the ultimate respect and friendship from her over 100 coworkers. She got her own power wheelchair, loved to shop every weekend with the money she earned, attended every company function & fair and had her own friend group. She also formed an amazing friendship with her support coworker. Patty was such a part of the business that they had a hoyer lift built into the restroom of their new building, and made the new copy center & building completely accessible for Patty’s needs. Patty beamed with pride every day at that job. She loved feeling truly valued by the business and her coworkers, and loved the feeling of helping other people out. Patty worked there until she passed away. A memorial is still at the business now for the service and inspiration she gave to them. Patty gave me permission to tell her story, to show how believing in someone, never giving up, and the indominable human spirit can do great things together.
Like Patty so many of the people we work with have been told for so long they can’t do so many things. When you look at them you see twisted, broken bodies and you turn away. What you don't see is their huge hearts, their shy sense of humors, their functioning brain and a soul that shines brighter than the sun. They need someone to tell them they can do it, and to fight the good fight with them (or for them), to fight for a better life for them.
Today, there’s a lot of good work left to be done…
And we can get it done if we work together… and truly BELIEVE that nothing is impossible!"
God bless, BB
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Saturday, October 22, 2016
Entry Submitted by BB at 3:08 PM EDT on October 22, 2016
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