The world is composed of safe and unsafe places, so where you live matters. If you live in an unsafe area, you may learn to live in fear. Fear has a slew of negative side-effects, including taking a toll on your physical and mental well-being. Fear can cause health problems and reduce the quality and length of your life.
We ought to be able to guarantee everyone a safe place, and luckily there are organizations who have dedicated missions in creating safe environments for everyone. At KenCrest, we aspire to generate spaces that are safe havens for people with disabilities. Because we have control over our own spaces at KenCrest, let’s assume for a moment that each of us has a safe place to be already. What else is missing?
The answer is having faith that those spaces are filled with love. Love that includes self-care, and being cared for by people you live with or keep close in your life. While none of us need a mansion, we do need love. It is true that I have never read a service plan, an IEP, ISP, or IPP which explicitly stated the outcome for the people we support is to have love in their life. It is, however, suggested through the specified care plan as these documents help to secure a meaningful life for the person.
I want you to think about what real love can get you. Real love enables you to have the same group of people supporting you from one day to the next, even in our worst moments. Real love allows you to have people who truly understand your character. Real love allows you to do what you enjoy most and keep up with routines and traditions. Real love offers encouragement to try something new, and real love acts as our very own cheerleading squad. Real love has faith in your giftedness, ability, and faith that you can get through problems when burdens seem too heavy to bear.
When I think about inclusion, I think about safe spaces that are only possible by the faith expressed through love. Nothing short of that possibility is good enough for the people we support. It is time to rewrite the outcomes for people with disabilities. It’s time to use new words that matter to the person and define faith and love for the unique person.
Start with yourself! Think about where you live. How do you create safe spaces? How do you dispel fear? What does love bring you? How do you emit faith and love?