SCATEH Spring Forum 2016
The Importance of Inclusion
Whether I’m still in the system, or I’ve made my way out; I have valuable knowledge and insights that can only help with our common causes. I am more than willing to use it, and share it, in our mutual efforts to develop & implement practical solutions to these issues.
I can, and will, continue to go it alone as I have done for the most part so far. My solo efforts are having a positive effect, and making some difference; but it’s limited in its reach and impact.
But there is strength in numbers, and power in knowledge. And, as a collective, the combined knowledge and skill sets of trained professionals such as yourselves, and experienced citizens such as me, can only have a greater positive impact on our community.
In my experience, the ‘snag’ in many social policies & procedures is that they can be ‘cookie-cutter’ style systems of service that aim to fit as many people as possible into one mold- understandably, given the high demand for services. But we aren’t cookies! We are human beings; and invariably have our own personal, although often common, issues to deal with.
But this can be alleviated or remedied by utilizing the real world experience & knowledge of people with lived experience that are equally committed to achieving practical solutions to our social issues.
So, if you are not already doing so; consider reaching out into the community and tapping into the wealth of knowledge & experience from people who have been through the system, or are still in it. Some of the greatest ideas can come from the most unlikely of sources, and are often born out of situations of crisis, or peril.
Better still, should an agency have a recipient of their services want to give back by joining in your efforts, I would highly recommend that true credence be given to the contributions that that person can make to your mission. Finding someone who will stay, even after they don’t need the service anymore, is extremely rare- so don’t pass-up the opportunity!
In closing; being a volunteer and getting involved in my community has been incredibly rewarding for me personally. And, 4 years after hitting rock bottom, to be here today speaking to an audience of dedicated and influential community partners and leaders- my own peers, about what it’s like to be a peer in our community, is another personal achievement that will further motivate and empower me to keep on doing what I’m doing; and that’s ‘being the change’ that I want to see in this world.
I thank you for your time, and appreciate your attention.