The wonderful and most humble person I am talking about is Mr. Rick White, a man with such a big heart that I wonder how God fitted it into his chest. When my friends, Rayyan and me went on rides and had fun in Disney World, he stayed back with Farheena and took care of her. I hesitate at least for a moment when I have to leave Farheena with someone, wondering whether she is going to be safe, can they manage her, will they get distracted by something and lose her and all those kind of crazy thoughts. It was shock for me when nothing like that crept in my mind when I had to leave her behind with Rick. He almost made me feel she is going to be safer with him, with us crazy people gone for good ;).
I wish I could have spent some more time and got to know Rick in a much better way than we managed, but then there is no need to know more than what you feel for him in a short while because it tells a lot. My friend and Sister in cancer survival Deb Rizor White, his wife is an amazing woman who can listen and understand even the weirdest kind of experience you would share with her. What strikes me most about this amazing friend I have is her subtle and unique sense of humor.. which does not make you laugh out loud, but leaves you smiling for a long long time. Together, they reach out and make a difference to their community, by connecting with people who need guidance to manage their lives in the big bad world.
I am so proud to know these people, who in a simple way can make huge difference to the life of the people they touch. Hope to see a project like this in India some day. Another dream to be fulfilled.
About Rick White, Deb White and thier dream child 'Community Connections'
This is the story of a man who decided to turn his life's work into something with real meaning.. Not just to him, but to a great many others. It's never too late to follow dream. And with determination and hopefulness, "Community Connections" is that place, where more than 75 individuals are finding their dreams becoming reality every day.
Community Connections is an Adult Day Habilitation Program in northeast Ohio. It began with a simple, yet extraordinary need- to provide individuals with developmental disabilities a place to learn, work and live to their fullest potential.
Community Connections was designed around the wants and needs of the individuals served. As a Christian-based facility, we knew the importance of words of encouragement. Where better to start than God's own words: Hope, Faith, Love, Inspire, Dream, Grow and Believe? As we created the workshop from their list of wants and needs, it was important that wherever you looked you would find words to inspire. That was the creation of the wall of inspiration. (Paintings in the dining area). These words are for all of us to read and live by. Above the words is the phrase "I Can". I can do anything and everything to the best of my abilities. This allowed us to remove the labels that hold us all back.
Some individuals have learned to read, write, sew, knit, cook, act, and study the sciences-such as weather and physiology. They love gardening, using a computer, and making crafts to sell in the gift shop. More importantly, as the individuals realize their own potential, they strive to do more new things. Some want jobs in the community earning a paycheck. We also provide life-skills training. These areas include cooking, laundry, washing dishes, sweeping the floor, job research and interviewing skills. One of our individuals drives a van to pick up contract work supplies! As we look for job opportunities in the community, those jobs are centered around the preferences and abilities of the individuals.
There is no better feeling than to see the individuals accomplish something new or to see their faces with their first big paycheck. For the last seven years I have been given the opportunity to make dreams come true, and to live my own dream. I hope in some small way I have changed the lives of the individuals I am so honored to serve as much as they have changed mine. As we continue to grow, we will always remember how we started with Faith, Hope and Love.
|Farheena having fun with Sandy and Rick who has oreos ready to feed her.|
|Rick Trying hard to fix MP3 player for Farheena so that she could listen to her favorite songs. Right is Deb, being there for Farheena.|