Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Positive and Negative

Today I’m going to return to a theme I have discussed several times before: the need for those of us in the field of services for individuals with one or more developmental disabilities to make a united stand in our efforts to create a new system of service provision and delivery.

This has been on mind a great deal recently, for two reasons, one positive, and one negative.

On the positive end of the scale, our experience at our Juniper home has made it more clear to me than ever that what we do at Imagine! is a community endeavor. I met recently with folks from the St. Vrain Valley School District, the Boulder County Health and Human Services Department, and the Boulder County Mental Health Center to discuss serving the boys who will be living in the Juniper home, as well as other individuals served in our Foster Home Program. The discussion was open and candid, and I came away from them impressed by the commitment to collaboration among the various participants.

Even organizations beyond the DD world have stepped up to see if they can help the kids in our Foster Home program. The City of Longmont and especially the Longmont Police Department have been integral in working out a plan to make sure our Juniper home and other Foster Homes are a success for the kids, the staff, and the neighbors. Without this kind of support, there is no way an organization like Imagine! can succeed, and we are most appreciative.

A less positive reason I have been pondering the need for those of us in the DD field to align ourselves for the greater good is the turnout I saw at a recent political forum hosted by the Human Service Alliance of Boulder County. Congratulations and salutations to those who attended or listened in, for you understand the importance of public participation. This was a low cost, low effort opportunity to engage with your local community leaders. For those who were not there to see, the turnout was disappointing, to say the least, especially in a year when there are ballot initiatives in Colorado that threaten the very existence of human service organizations, and a wide variety of candidates running for office who will be making very difficult decisions about funding cuts to so many programs in the State.

If we can’t even gather together to meet candidates and share our concerns with them before an election, why should we expect them to listen to us when they are making tough decisions? If we don’t demonstrate our common ground and our voting power, then we put ourselves at a great disadvantage going into a legislative session where we will need every advantage we can get.

The stakes are too high for us to remain disjointed and disorganized. We need to communicate, collaborate, and act as team.

Then again, what do I know?

No comments:

Post a Comment