EMPOWERMENT, ACCEPTANCE, INCLUSION

THE IMPORTANCE OF COMMUNITY

Regardless of our strengths, challenges, likes, dislikes, goals, interests, and abilities, we as humans all like to have a sense of control and independence in our lives. We want to have the right to make our own decisions, and be accepted, respected and included by others. All of these everyday life elements give us dignity and a sense of purpose.

Think about some of the things you do each week. Perhaps you enjoy meeting friends for a drink; do your grocery shopping or buy meat at the local butcher; go to work or participate in a community group. Maybe you are part of a social group or sports team or enjoy cooking meals to share with your friends and family. In all of your weekly activities you have goals to achieve and feel a sense of satisfaction when you accomplish them.

Now think about some of the things you learnt or were challenged by. Are you learning how to use a computer or to cook a new recipe? Are you working to improve a relationship; increase your fitness; or learn an instrument? Whatever you might be learning or experiencing, patience, support, respect and encouragement from others makes challenges and learning feel more achievable and rewarding.

Imagine not being supported by others to live life the way you wish. Imagine how you would feel if others didn’t believe in your capabilities or didn’t take the time to show you that your opinions are valued. Imagine if people didn’t have patience for you or if you were no longer supported to participate in your weekly activities. It would likely feel very frustrating and your self-esteem and confidence would certainly be impacted.

Just like you, people living with a disability like to achieve their goals; belong to community groups; and have a sense of control over their lives. Many of the things you did this week were also done by someone living with a disability. People living with a disability need support, respect and encouragement when learning new skills or facing challenging situations, just like we all do.

People living with a disability often need additional support in their everyday activities such as cooking meals, doing the shopping, catching public transport or participating in activities as part of a local club or group. Your patience and encouragement can support the members of our community who are living with a disability to have the self-esteem and confidence to achieve their goals.

New Haven Farm Home is a Hawkesbury based not-for-profit organisation providing person centred support to people with a disability. The team at New Haven Farm Home assists people living with a disability to be empowered – in the decisions they make for their own lives; supporting them to work towards the goals they would like to achieve and the skills they would like to learn. New Haven Farm Home assists people living with a disability to develop their living and social skills, encouraging each individual to live their life the way they choose as valued members of the community.

So next time you see someone with a disability; maybe think about what you might have in common. Maybe you could consider some different ways to be patient and encouraging, as they work towards their goals and ambitions. And remember, people living with a disability are people with interests and skills; just like you.

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