by Rachel Bevins
when I can, chairing some fund raisers, speaking in a Sunday service or adult forum, helping a yard cleanup or yard sale, and bringing bellydancers and homeschoolers through our doors.
My husband, Brian, and I have a daughter, Gabrielle, who is now 12 and in 7th grade, and a son, Jason, who is 6 and in 1st grade. They both have a string of diagnoses which basically mean that they have strong personalities and special needs, which can be very challenging to manage sometimes. Other places have turned us away, telling me they couldn't handle us. This place, however, has opened its arms and asked, "What can we do to help?"... and then, actually done just that!
It is impossible to please everyone all of the time; we are all only human and often burdened with our own challenges. But the underlying feeling I have always gotten from the people here is that we are truly welcome. That makes me WANT to help when I can, and when I help this community, I nourish my own spirit.
As a neurodiverse family we often feel awkward out in the world. Here, however, we may be quirky, but we feel normal and accepted, too. Being around like minded people is confidence building for my kids. When our oldest received her first sensory spectrum diagnosis our pediatrician was concerned about how she would develop socially, lacking confidence and having issues that come along with feeling like an outsider and not belonging. I love how happy our pediatrician is now, to see what a strong, confident young lady Gabbie is. We believe that has a LOT to do with this community, one of our tribes.
When I say that you all are like minded, I certainly don't mean that we all think alike on every point. That would be boring! However, holding an open mind and an inherent respect for all people tends to be the natural state of being here. I have faith that when we have different opinions, we will do the hard work necessary to listen to one another, find compassion and ultimately compromise. This is what communities, what families, do. This is what we all role model for our kids. This is how we make kindness and respect NORMAL for future generations.
We are absolutely grateful to have this second home. It is NOT the building, it is the people who make us comfortable to be where we can not be perfect, where we can be outside the box, and where the shape of the box, with its extra corners and textures, is a pleasant place to be. We know that you all help teach our children when to stand our ground and work for change, and when to roll with the punches. Thank you for being here for our community, and for us. Whatever happens as the future unfolds, we are glad to be doing it with you.