Monday, March 4, 2013

A Couple With a Mission...

I have always felt Farheena is safest when she is with me… with just one exception in my whole life. There has been just one person, a man who is from foreign land who made me feel that she would be much safer with him than she is with me. I am not exaggerating here, because during our visit to USA, Farheena had bonded well with lot many people who have left an inedible impact on her heart. Picking out a single person is not going to be fair, but if I got a feeling that is it. I cannot help spontaneous feeling which creeps in without my knowledge.
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. 


  1. Wonderful people, Farida! Inspiring to know of them!

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  3. Farida, aside from the lousy look on my face in that photo, (insert face with weird grimace LOL )
    I would like to humbly thank you for this post. Those who meet Rick can't help seeing the unbelievable size of his heart. And finally getting to meet you, Farheena and Rayyan was ABSOLUTELY one of the best times of our lives.
    I loved our time together. We didn't need Disney World to have a good time, but you know what? The best part of that amazing day was the feeling that never left my heart- that we were living this 'dream come true' with you and the kids. I have talked about it to anyone who would listen, and will continue to, I'm sure, for the rest of my life.
    Rick has always been right there for me, and that means that whatever or whomever becomes an important part of my life becomes just as important to his.
    The thing is, he often ends up passing me by.. LOL. He takes things to a level that goes beyond just interest. He truly made a special friend in Farheena.. and you all. And I am thankful for that every day. Besides, remember this.. while he was patiently chatting with Farheena, we were getting all those extra rides on Thunder Mountain!! :) Love you... Debbo

  4. Hello, Farida. This is Rick White. Thank you for your beautiful post. Meeting you, Farheena and Rayyan is something I will never forget. Like Deb said, we didn't need Disney World to feel the magic of all of us together. You are in our thought often, and we love to hear how well you are all doing. I hope that we can meet again to share more stories and make more memories. Give Farheena a big hug from me, and tell her I miss shopping with her. She loved to spend my money... She is so beautiful. Keep up the great work, and thank you again for your post. Sincerely, Rick White


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