More summer fun 2018!

We have had some nice interest in our cards and animal memory rocks!! That is so exciting. 

Let us know if you would like some made just for YOU.  We would be honored.

They are even traveling as far as North Carolina!!

Beginning of summer FUN 2018!

Summer fun 2018 has begun!

Summer fun 2018 has begun!

Summer can be many things.  For some, it is a chance to relax, recharge the body.  For  us with A Place 2B ME, it is a time to make new connections and have FUN!!  We have started out the summer with some fun making connections with some great teenagers.  These individuals may all have some type of disability, but creating connections, learning new skills and just having plain old ordinary fun is what it is all about.  

Through "fun", we are working on following directions, making correct choices, waiting our turn, being a friend, making new friends, and being accepted for who we are.  Through learning and practice using the  tools, strategies and our abilities will help us as we move forward in school and towards employment.  

As adults who are supporting our mission, help the folks with modeling, adapting the tools and strategies, and being a mentor and friend.  All have so much fun and learn so much through this process. 

Activities such as painting rocks and making slime are just the start of summer adventures for A Place 2B ME. 

We will be sharing more as the summer fun continues. 

Connections

 

CONNECTION

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 My chosen word for 2018 is “connection”.  The definition of connection is a relationship in which a person, place thing, or idea is linked or associated with something else. Over the past few months, I have thought about my word connection.  This has occurred during work, when I am thinking about A Place 2B ME, and when thinking of friends and family. Making new connections, rekindling older connections and maintaining current connections encompass my being currently in my life. I have connected with a college roommate that I haven’t seen in MANY years. Also, I was privileged to live with a wonderful family when I was in college and reconnected with them as well. 

As with many, social media is our way of staying connected. My college roommate and I had connected through Facebook and would often respond to posts shared by either of us.  Although we live only a city away from each other, we hadn’t connected.  As I thought of my word for the year, I felt we needed to connect outside of social media and Christmas cards.   I reached out, and we finally met for a great dinner meal, and shared many fun stories from our past.

Then, the family that I lived with during college, was now moving to another state to be closer to their son and grandchild. This is a family that provided great support to me then, and as I was able to provide service to them caring for their young son during that time. A great bond was established.  During the years we were able to share some monumental life occasions, their anniversary, milestones in their child’s life, and my wedding.  As with time, it sure does get away from us.  Being in contact only through Christmas/holiday cards had been the way of communication for the past many years. How exciting that they would make a stop and visit with me.  There was not enough time to reminisce at length, but reconnecting was so important and will be continued.  While they were leaving and starting their journey to the next phase of their life, it was so touching that they referred to me as family.  Even though time, and years get away from you…family is so important.  These folks may not be blood relatives but sure are a part of family to me.

We are also connected even if loved ones are no longer with us. As I color….I think of my mom and my nephew Thomas. Owls…..I think of family that I lived with when in college, a favorite that adorned walls, pictures and cards. The process of baking…..I think of my dad. The smells fill my memories.  Oh, and my grandma.  Chocolate chip cookies and cardamom bread.    Keeping those connections alive are so important.

 

                                  

As my friends help me paint rocks with “Always in my heart”, “Shine” or   whatever inspirational saying speaks to us, the joy of remembering and staying connected remains alive.                                                                                                     

Making connections that are important to you as an individual, those with and without disabilities is the foundation of A Place 2B ME.  Not my interests but yours.  What are the important connections for you?   Do you know?  Are you able to express and communicate those desires with others? 

Let A Place 2B ME help you with the exploration, creating connections, or becoming reconnected. The opportunity to connect with people, choices are out there. Let us help you and others become connected.

"Your Bench"

“Your bench”

Using a bench as a metaphor for YOU – think and ponder the following questions -

What does your bench represent?     

What is on your bench?  

What does your bench need to make you fulfilled?

Who are you in this bench?

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The bench represents you, your life, your aspirations.  Your bench is a blank canvas. What is meaningful to you to be included on your bench?  What fulfills you that would merit being a part of your bench?  Who are you? Untouched, undone, ready for life to be infused with         the explanation of YOU. The other bench, is just that, the beginning.  It is your blank canvas.     This bench is waiting for you to put your special abilities, special touches, thoughts and ideas into it. 

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For some, it would be connections to your community, - Sports teams and recognizing their colors.  And then, being able to just enjoy telling others a story about familiar events, past events, dreams and ideas that shape who you are.  This is who you are right now!  These are your thoughts and ideas that continually shape your movement forward in life.  Memories invoke wonderful thoughts when thinking about these colors.  Making stories is a passion.

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This bench representing a teen, enjoys just to have a friend, seeking to find who they are, come sit with me, find out who I am, understand the ME. This teen could add strategies and supports to have friends, what skills they need to work on, goals to help them move forward. Right now, it is empty but waiting for growth to happen.  That is what maturity is all about.

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Another is a young individual, full of life and color, zest and desire for a more fulfilled life if there would be someone to share it with.  Being a buddy helps the learning about being a friend.  By a way to share thoughts and ideas allows understanding that you as an individual are a part of a bigger community. Play is part of this bench, seeking fun, being creative.  The primary colors represent youthfulness, showing an understanding of the concept of invitation.

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Beach, calm, individual, just have time for aaahhhh.  Time for relaxation filling your beaker, regenerating your soul and thoughts.  Giving time to get ready to embrace the world once again.

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A bench with family memories started by a grandmother for her grandson. A connection to a family of traditions. Sit here, dream, reminisce, remember lots of togetherness time. This bench made a child feel unique and special.  Just themselves. 

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A bench/chair built with hand skills a long time ago.  Cherished possessions.  Feel honored to have this chair because this has been passed down to me.  When my grandma passed away, and we went through her belongings, it was asked who would like this.  I said a resounding YES.  How exciting to have a piece of history from my family generations ago.

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Community, sharing, working together for a cause, A Place 2B ME was asked to help bring a buddy bench to an elementary school.  With providing the school with a blank canvas in the bench, watching the elementary aged students choose colors, engage in the task of making this their own was heartwarming.  When one of the students replied, “this is ours?”, the smile that came over her face was priceless when it was explained to her that for sure this bench was now a part of her school community.

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A Veterans bench to provide thoughts of pride, accomplishment, effort for services.  Sharing stories of years and memories gone by long time ago.  We are all accepted, understanding and privileged. “Fireworks” showing pride, excitement and celebration of those that have served our country.

The bench is a community, a group of things, people come together, forged of individual slats of wood to create something larger.  Each individual represented by a separate piece of wood, come together to build a bench of a community/group which become something more. This community then welcomes others to join in, sit down.

Not representing one person, but many, a group of people coming together to mix colors and ideas to create something new. The bench becomes a place of creation, a point of connection.

Whether it is a chair or a bench, let’s show how we are all unique but can work together with all of our special talents and quirks to help shape an accepting community.

Let’s help make your bench –

your YOU become a reality in your hopes, dreams, aspirations – life!

 

A Place 2B ME has a mission to connect those with and without disabilities throughout the community.  We can help those in many phases of life’s journey complete self-reflection and seek what their bench should be like.  We also can help others complete a finished bench that represents a thought, idea, passion or mission of an individual, business or community.

 We would like to help YOU create that bench.

We are also looking for people to help others by sponsoring a bench.  

 Contact us for further information:

  pamdenzler.ot@gmail.com                                                    www.aplace2bme.com

 

What is A Place 2B ME?

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. 

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Looking ahead

There is so much running through my head after a thought filled day reaching out to many of many ages.  It was truly a day to listen to others as they are searching for their “A Place 2B ME”.

Thoughts, ideas, hopes, dreams, aspirations, and disappointments. And from parents, the same and a sense of feeling lost/overwhelm. This was part of what was expressed today.  As I was representing  A Place 2B Me, Inc. I got to ask this question to many.  What is leisure to you? 

Well, there sure are many different answers to that question!

It was enjoyable and bittersweet listening to parents and young adults discuss just this very topic.

As my friend just sent me a message in looking back and reflecting on our day.  “It was both wonderful and bittersweet.  It was wonderful to connect with so many people.  Bittersweet to hear their stories of loneliness.”

Today, for me, I was blessed with the opportunity to make connection with others and share my dream for A Place 2B ME. I know, as I have been reminded that this is a journey, one which I am feeling more drive and passion to accomplish.

I want to continue to move forward, achieve goals and fulfill aspirations for many!

Have a voice!

 

When I started A Place 2B ME, Jonathan encouraged me to have stories on the webpage. This would be an opportunity for individuals to share their voice.  Have people get to know about them through a sharing platform.   My son Jonathan is a “storyteller” so I was so glad when he wrote the first one.  Then Lucas was asked and I was so appreciative that he would do this for me.   I had asked Thomas, and after asking several times (haha) I appreciated him completing this “task”.    Of course, I had asked him to expand on his story, wanting to know more about how he felt about his "limitations".  Well last week Thomas was taken to heaven at the early age of 22.  I was planning on having a long time with Thomas as A Place 2B ME was created to help the "Thomas’s" of the world. I SO enjoying when we had a chance to spend time together.  It might have been quiet, but I felt a great sense of comradery through the process of sharing and planning for fun stuff for the future.  I accepted him for who he was and in turn he accepted me! We had shared many thoughts and dreams, as well as helping Thomas problem solve and allowing him to express his feelings and thoughts.

What we found out after his passing, that MANY folks had wonderful things to say about Thomas even though we didn't know he had so many “friends”.  What I mean is that what many people saw was that Thomas wasn’t invited out, had friends who came over, and didn’t go out to the social scenes with peers his age. Thomas had a wealth of online friends his age. What we found out was that he found acquaintances and friends through his social outlets such as Facebook.  This gave him the most wonderful opportunity to share his thoughts, ideas, hopes, dreams, and aspirations with others.  He got to debate politics, sports and life in his own way and in his own time.

As I was discussing just today with fellow therapy colleagues, we so want to find a way to let others have a voice to say "wait a minute, give me time to think, I don't know right now.  WE are able or are given that opportunity most often, but our friends with "special needs" do not seem to be given the time to process information.  We seem to want them to respond immediately.  Well, we sure often see the "behavior" that occurs when the difficulty of expressing, OR when we don't allow or accept what they have shared. I get such a feeling of satisfaction and warmth when the process is provided and you see the smile or simple gesture of THANKS when we affirm their thoughts and feelings. 

Often, Thomas would just be silent or respond “I don’t know” when in fact he DID know, we just weren’t providing a comfortable platform for him to express himself.  His phone, computer was his connection to the world around him. 

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This is what Thomas wrote...............................................

~I was born with a congenital heart defect, and needed an aortic valve replacement. This has led me to have learning and attention difficulties throughout my school years. Even though I had learning troubles, I did have fairly easy time making friends. The socializing is kind of built in when you are at school, but I very rarely hung out with friends from school except for organized functions. After school, I am still stuck in the same rut I was in while I was in school with having acquaintances and quasi‐friends at work. I also had trouble finding hobbies to pick up outside of the house. That’s when my Aunt Pam stepped in to help.

Pam is my Aunt, and is willing and able to help those who she can. She tried to help me find different leisure activities to take up some of my free time. I think if my schoolwork and job hadn’t gotten in the way so much it would have worked better. She did get me to join my community band for a few months before my college classes started up. She also got me to walk and hang out with one her students at a nearby mall. If I had more time and focused a little bit more of my time into trying what she had in mind, things would have worked much better. Maybe we can try again sometime, I think with the services she has planned for A Place 2B ME will help me and others who are struggling to find friends and different hobbies to fill our days with. 

When Aunt Pam first brought up the idea of her A Place 2B ME, I thought that a lot of people with special needs could benefit from a place like that. I think that the social events she has planned like the “First Friday Fun Night” events will help those who have trouble making friends. Events like that along with whatever else she has planned for her company will be a benefit for everyone who is in need of her services. A Place 2B ME will be a great starting point for those with special needs who are looking to join the everyday world.  ~

My friend Carli posted this on Facebook and with her permission I am including this in my blog post - I refuse to accept your labels. Do not impose your labels based on your assumptions of who I am. You do not know my struggles, nor do you know my joys. To look upon my exterior is not to know me. You chose to ignore my potential for growth. Rather than speak your wisdom, you chose to tear me down. Instead of conversations, we fight. You hate rather than educate. Based on your labels.

For years, our society has been breeding a culture of hate. We have turned our backs on our neighbors, chosen to allow the media to control our opinions and insist our way is the only way. We can continue on this path, or we can choose a new path. I chose to stop generalizing, to love, to share my opinions kindly and safely. I choose to teach my children to accept everyone and to speak out of love first. I chose to educate others. I chose to listen first and speak second. I choose to keep learning with an open mind. This is the path I choose.

 

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I again am thinking about Thomas......thinking about what he and Carli said.  Reflecting on this young man Thomas' life and his legacy.  Thomas very much chose to educate others and was a very kind soul with those of ALL needs, shapes, sizes or race. He was one that we would consider to have hidden disabilities. To look at Thomas you saw a tall young man without any glaring disabilities. But on the inside, was this heart that was not formed correctly and needed help soon after birth and continued monitoring as he grew and developed. He would struggle with some simple everyday tasks – riding a bike or driving a car was not a skill accomplished.   He was that person who listened first (most of the time), had an open mind, and saw the potential in others.

At his funeral, my sister Kathie encouraged his peers to keep Thomas’s story going strong.  Be his voice. Keep living the life that Thomas would be proud of you for!  That way we can help cultivate a culture of acceptance and not turn our back on others.  Be a helper…be patient and be kind. Lend a helping hand….but, WAIT – give time for those with or without a voice to collect their thoughts and ideas and be allowed to express themselves using many different platforms.  Let’s advocate, help and guide others in doing just that!

 

 

 

 

Our ability to color our world!

 

 

Sitting in the quiet of my basement….. at a great table made from a part of a bowling alley many years ago.  A part of my past, memories of my dad sitting in the basement at this very table creating works of art with glass – stained glass creations that he made with his own hands.  A time for him to be himself, creating beautiful works that I and many others still cherish and enjoy even today.

Now, it is my turn to sit at this table in the basement of my house, creating works of what I call art.  Some of these pieces are very simple, using melted crayons or splatter paint to create a background for simple sayings on artist canvas, other pieces made with words that have meaning to me, puzzle pieces forming shapes, and cards made with a variety of art mediums including colored pencils, markers or photographs taken of favorite places. These creations have been inspired by many.  Sisters, friends, co-workers, family and individuals of all abilities have helped color, create, design and make beautiful groupings of alphabet letter cards that are in a variety of seasonal colors for others. It is an artist’s touch to share thoughts, ideas ...

                     

……….and greetings for those that would enjoy a hand-written beauty, and fun seasonal creations.           

Quiet….creating…..transforming thoughts ideas, hopes and dreams. I hope to continue to share this with others.  Feeling good about an accomplishment and sharing it with others.  Whether we create art or a skill just for our own well-being, gaining more skills, enlightening someone’s ideas of our abilities, or just for a moment to have a pleasant experience and feel connections with ourselves and maybe others.  To feel that self-satisfaction is a wonderful feeling I believe. Not only in the basement at that memory filled table, but maybe in another special part of home or wherever……even in the kitchen. Smell that aroma and memories fill the room. 

     

 

As I sat with few of my friends at the group home this weekend, a great conversation was happening between us exploring leisure choices and options.  I learn a few new interests of theirs every time we have these conversations.   And as we explored a lengthy list, they too were finding that OH!! Maybe there ARE a few more choices out there, and maybe we can find a piece of these activities that will meet their expectations and allow them to interact with others if they choose. The “aha moment” was when they were even surprised of the many interests that are available to them……and if we all  just dream a little bit bigger, and try to mold the activity to them with their interests no matter how small or big.  When we find the “just right” task/activity the creative juices just flow and we can witness that sense of being accomplished.  A piece of their world shining just a bit brighter.  Providing a greater color to their world.

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Or…..maybe just finding an activity that they can enjoy in the quiet of their own special space like mine in the basement sitting at table that was once used by my dad……or in the kitchen.  You choose where to find your space……Your A Place 2B ME!   Thoughts…..ideas……transforming our lives forward with our own unfiltered ideas, and creativity!!

 

 

 

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PLAY!

I just read this and thought.......YES!!!!! 

“Play is the highest form of research"  ~ Albert Einstein

What is the definition of play?  According to a google search of definition....

“Play is actively engaging in activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose.”

Ok then ......let's think about this for a moment.  Isn't that what we should be feeling often?  I think so!!  I think many folks think of play as kids stuff.  But.....really we ALL need to find forms of play that will engage us, allow us to remove ourselves from the daily wear and tear of life, just have fun, and allow the kid in all of us to come out.

Several years ago, I took a class "Visioncircles" as part of the Brain Gym curriculum.  I have used many of the strategies, suggestions etc. from that class in my daily life and Occupational Therapy practice. While in the class,  had to write down a goal for ourselves.  That is very common in many classes that I/we take. Well, as I was sitting here starting to type and thinking about what to write, I looked up and saw a card that I filled out from that class.  I have saved it for many years and use it as a reminder, nudge of encouragement and an affirmation for myself at times.

The card reads:

~Acceptance of the real me and to allow that person - the playful person to come out~

That was a vision I had then.....and it is still true today!! There it is again -  the word PLAY - be playful.  

How lucky I am as an Occupational Therapist….Brain Gym Instructor AND Rhythmic Movement consultant….. to use PLAY in many forms every day to achieve functional outcomes for the students and clients that I work with AND to be able to share with so many!  Engaging in chosen, meaningful and fun tasks allow us to achieve in ways that we sometimes think are not possible! We can surprise ourselves in many ways when engaging in a leisure, fun, playful experience. Many children engage in this playful manner without expectation, goals, objectives, fear etc.  I often refer to this as "KID POWER".  This is the moment, that as a parent you often take that OMG response, and find the child engaging in activities that could be considered "on the edge" of maybe safety. 

How many folks do you know that participate in those extreme sports or risky activities?  WOW is that not high form of PLAY??  It seems it starts out that way for many, then progresses to a greater challenge and then maybe competitive structure.  But, when fully engaged in that extreme task, you will often see the pleasure and being lost in the moment.  

 

So……let’s ALL take the time to PLAY and be in KID POWER!!

.  

 

The climb to the top...........AWESOMENESS!!

The climb to the top...........AWESOMENESS!!

Refuel and Recharge

Refueling……recharging the batteries

 

 

 

 

We all need to take time to refuel the body and mind tank.  For me, during this summer break, it was taking a few trips.  These were to visit relatives, reconnect with friends and family, make new friends, and just have FUN! 

 

I continue to invest time in the development of A Place 2B ME.  Taking time for ME will help me pursue my dreams to create, enjoy, explore, and envision this endeavor. 

 

While enjoying time away from home, my sister, friends and family were able to discuss ideas for creative art exploration and development.  It is so much fun talking with others who share similar visions and will help empower those that have needs of many different levels.  We ALL have so much to offer and to help others find their direction, passion and awareness of their abilities.  Whether you are an “able bodied” individual or one with limitations in a variety of areas, you can find your A Place 2B ME. 

 

Martina Navratilova quotes that feel inspirational to me!

 

~Once you start believing in yourself, anything is possible. Once you start believing in yourself, your dreams take shape. The more you believe, the more you achieve.~

 

~Life is about challenges and how we face up to them and the attitude we take into everyday life so hopefully we'll be able to motivate people to do more with their life.~

 

I want to find a place where I…..WE can believe in ourselves, face challenges, motivate others, and create a space to be ourselves no matter the challenges that we have.   

I continue to work on many different activities, projects, and stories that I hope to share with you and others. 

 Before I left on vacation, I was frustrated as I lost blog posts that I had on the webpage. Well…..I need to think of losing the pages as a chance to recreate and start again.  It is like refueling and recharging the batteries of A Place 2B ME.  It was energizing to talk about my vision, hopes and dreams to others along my travels.  And…..having people show interest and excitement in this new path I have chosen. 

Time to create new blog posts, stories, ideas and activities!!  FUN!!!  So it is time to develop the big picture and create the specific details to make this vision a reality!

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So…..take time to refuel………………….

…AND… recharge YOUR batteries. 

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