What is A Place 2B ME?
People ask me this question often. As non-profit, it is important to have an identity and have clear vision of what we want to do. It helps others know who we are, what we stand for and what we want to accomplish. At times, it is difficult to articulate in words what we want others to see, hear and feel about the organization. It is our passion that all people be accepted and be a part of a community. To find their “ME”.
Our mission statement is:
To provide programs for disabled and non-disabled people to interact and engage in meaningful tasks and activities which lead to greater self-concept, employability, and enhanced feeling of self-worth.
The programs that we provide need to be chosen or self-directed by those that are interested in participating. I have been an Occupational Therapist for over 30 years, and with all the planning that goes into therapy sessions, the most beneficial outcomes occur when the individual directs me as the therapist. The best sessions occur when I the therapist initiate the process based on chosen meaningful tasks and activities and the individual takes the process and moves forward making decisions, choices and guides me the therapist. It is then that progress is made, and the feeling of accomplishments happen. This then shows self-worth and a self-concept that is “I am important and I can do great things”.
I frequently think of my sister Paula. As my twin, we shared many common ideas and interests, but we also had many very different thoughts, ideas and ways to show others who we were. My twin sister Paula had Cerebral Palsy. Her having a disability did NOT interfere with her participating in many chosen activities, including: amusement park rides and traveling throughout her community powered by her electric wheelchair. I guess we have my mom and her connections with many other parents to thank. These parents were advocating for their child’s needs and interests. Many of these friends were limited in many ways. Some with mild physical impairments to those with profound disabilities. Together, they formed a bond, friendships and willingness to accept others. Fun occurred in so many ways! There may have been crazy adventures along the way but I think they would call that LIFE!!
Our hopes and desires are that we can be what folks of all abilities WANT it to be. For the young group that we helped paint a bench so they have a platform to work on being a buddy with others, participating in Chalk Walk to have an opportunity to get together, be creative and have fun, First Friday Fun Nights, and work with a teenage boy to help him find activities that are of interest to him and that he can pursue. This is just the tip of the iceberg of opportunities for our future. Building community, whatever that looks like for each person, is our focus.
We all have dreams, ideas, and the ability to show interest in tasks and activities, regardless of our level of support. Maybe you just want to be present in an activity while others are engaged fully. You show your interest by sitting there, visually attending, and not showing signs of frustration or overstimulation. Or you are a newly retired, or an individual who just wants to connect with others by you seeking to find your own “a place to be me’. Mentors are found, friendships are created when we can bring individuals together.
As I am currently working on developing a vision board for myself, this will allow me to see where my A Place 2B ME may be now, and where I would like it to be in the future. Our A Place 2B ME is constantly changing, but I feel we all have a common bond that we all have a deep-rooted need for having a feeling of self. When many of “these places” that have provided service to many for several years are now in jeopardy, where do those that they service find connections and opportunities?
It is my hope that A Place 2B ME can provide opportunities for those by working together finding meaningful tasks and activities that bring individuals together to share passions, friendships, compassion and meaningful engagement.