In the early days of the Community Living Campaign, we struggled with how to develop the small, basic building blocks that make up the foundation of a grass-roots community organizing campaign – you know, the equivalent of the old fashioned house meeting. The hope was to provide practical support to neighbors while beginning to look more closely at the issues that help or hinder individuals from aging in community. Fortunately, in those early days, we were introduced to Vickie Cammack and the work of PLAN and the PLAN Institute in Canada. We learned (and continue to learn) so many useful and insightful things as we re-frame the issues related to living with a disability and being at home with growing old. One story by Vickie Cammack really helped me see things differently. Take a minute to read this story and let me know if you know a “Martha” – http://www.tyze.com/martha-has-not-left-the-neighbourhood/ . Perhaps our neighbors who are aging are not a problem to be solved, but part of the solution to rebuilding communities.
My friend Ruth Miller, pictures at her 91st Birthday Party, was like Martha, sometimes charming, sometimes demanding, but always interesting. She brought together a community of people whose strongest connection was that they cared about Ruth.
In future posts, you will learn more about Ruth, Tyze and the power of relationships.