I was in a neighboring town last week for an Economic Development Board meeting and stopped in to visit our county's center for the developmentally disabled. It's part of a very large regional program, that covers about a quarter of Nebraska. I'm on the governing board for the region. I'd been invited to stop in at any time by the director. (I'll call her Mary)
The first thing that struck me was how busy everyone was, how friendly, but most of all, sincere. When Mary talked of the 'needs' of the program and her 'people', as she calls them, she became very serious. She showed she clearly was a woman who would fight for her residents. When she spoke of what she wanted to accomplish, her eyes would soften and emotion just poured out of her face.
She took me back into the facility, away from the front offices, and deeper in where the residents were all busy, maybe not accomplishing much by my standards, but then I don't accomplish much by others standards.
We were approached by a lady who obviously hadn't physically or mentally developed to her fullest, but she was very interested in talking to me. She put out her hand and I shook it while Mary told me her name and told mine to her. "I'm pleased to meet you I said". The gal whirled around and ran off into the corner. I then met a resident, that I already knew, and we visited a bit. The gal who had run off, came quickly shuffling back to me with a photo album. "She just got back from a trip to California to see her brother", Mary said. The gal just beamed while I opened the little album. She was in a picture on the beach, with two people. "ME"!!! She shouted. Mary translated everything that was said. When I pointed to someone and said "who's that", the answer was always, "ME", as she danced with delight. Mary would calmly add the names of the people in the picture and their relationship to the lady.
That got me to thinking that if you run a center that employs that many people, but can still tell me the name of all of the people in one of the residents photo albums.... Then you are obviously taking a personal interest in the residents and I feel confident that the their best interests, are being looked after.
One more thing. I've seen a lot of good vacation pictures in my time, but none were ever better then the ones I saw that day from California. I've never shown my photo's to someone and had the urge to laugh and yell and dance as they viewed them. Who's the unfortunate one?