New Perspectives

The start of the new year provides an opportunity to refresh perspective on intractable challenges and to consider possibilities.

In today’s world, where hope can be replaced by cynicism in a heartbeat, and where “no” seems more prevalent than “yes,” new perspectives and positive attitudes can provide breath to our weary souls.

I have found myself working hard recently to find that positive frame. A recent visit with the governor’s office and Department of Human Services where we were told not to expect changes in our reimbursement, and where we were told to innovate and adapt, was disheartening, even as our many innovations and adaptations were recognized and applauded. A trip to Baltimore to hear, again, that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) are at the bottom of the list for increased support and the top of the list for public scrutiny and budget cuts provided fuel for cynicism and despair.

And then, I return to engage in conversations with the Community Action Center (CAC) of Northfield about an Employee Resource Counselor, designed to assist our staff members in navigating resources for themselves. I have a conversation with a few community members about developing community housing as an affordable housing option for our staff members. I attend a formulative meeting for Cycling Without Age, a collaboration that provides recreation, outside activity and relationship possibilities for our clients. I work with others on planning for a PR series to help people understand our universe, our needs and the reality of our universe. I learn that our very generous community donors have helped us to reach, and slightly exceed, our fundraising goal for last year.

Getting to “Yes”

Today, with those examples in mind, I have been thinking about staying aware of how our requests to the universe might be answered. Too often, I think in terms of a particular solution: more funding for our services, a community of support that looks like x, y or z. Sometimes, that particular solution closes me off to other possibilities that come through conversation and collaboration — solutions like community housing, sharing resources or an unexpected and very interesting recreation partnership.

What does abundance look like? This month, I’m learning that I need to be careful not to define it too closely. Instead, I need to be aware of the possibilities that pass in front of me, that can help to define abundance, that can help to ensure that Laura Baker Services Association is able to fulfill its mission to support the life choices and dreams of people with developmental disabilities and help them reach their goals.

We’re looking for new perspectives and new hope to provide breath to our weary souls.

Your engagement — as a donor, as a volunteer, as an advocate, as a partner, as an idea generator — provides new perspectives and hope. Will you be our “yes” in the world, to expand our definition of solutions and to create possibilities for people with IDD, our staff and the community at large?




About the Author

Sandi Gerdes

Sandi Gerdes, executive director of Laura Baker Services Association, has a 30-year history of leadership in the disabilities community. A longtime advocate for choice, Sandi has developed numerous innovative service programs tailored to the unique needs of the individuals the organization serves.


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