-Originally posted June 4, 2009 on www.exceptionalfamilies.net.
One of the things I have learned in the past year, as I have delved further into the local special needs community, is that there is power in connection. I think most humans have a desire to connect with one another in a meaningful way. Yes, there is always a desire to find a special someone with which you can share your life, but beyond that, there is a peace that comes from a shared experience among peers, friends and acquaintances. No matter your circumstance, you are not alone! I have learned this lesson more powerfully in a very short time, and it has been a wonderful experience. As I have jumped into the deep waters of the special needs community, I have learned that there are many more parents, friends, caregivers and professionals out there than I had previously imagined. The one thing we all have in common is a shared bond of experience driving us to help and encourage one another. Luckily, my experience has been more positive than others I’ve known who have come before me, and I hope that’s a sign of increased awareness, empathy, and understanding. We are all in the same battle together, and it is a huge waste of energy to conduct yourself in a negative way. Positive connection is key. Sharing your experience so that others who follow in your footsteps may have less of a burden is a gift and a blessing. I have been fortunate to have wonderful friends and mentors who have helped me when I have been solidly stuck in frustration or simply had no idea what to do next. It is my hope that in some way I am returning the favor to others now.
Through my work with SPECIAL Families of Pierce County and The Wyatt Holliday Foundation, I am forging lasting connections with others, and am continually in a position to learn more. There is an amazing opportunity for us to come together as a community to meet one another, share experiences, network, and have fun in the process. For the first time ever, The Wyatt Holliday Foundation is working on an event called, “Exceptional Families 3K Walk & Roll.” This fundraiser for the foundation will be held at gorgeous Owen Beach at Point Defiance Park in Tacoma. The promenade walkway is flat and paved, offering water views and allowing children and adults of all abilities to participate, no matter disability or diagnosis. Money raised from this event will benefit the ongoing mission and work of The Wyatt Holliday Foundation and Exceptional Families Network. We are actively planning this event and would love your participation! We are still recruiting volunteers and, of course, want to see lots of people in attendance. Already, we are seeing a positive response from the community and we haven’t even begun to advertise. I look forward to seeing the results of hard work and a caring population coming together into something beautiful and beneficial.
If you want to share the joy of connection, please place this event on your calendar and come enjoy a sunny morning among friends on Saturday, September 26th. More information, including online registration, will be posted very soon! Please check back here or send me an email if you have any questions or would like to volunteer. I am reachable via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
See you in September!