Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Accessible to All—Inclusive of All

The following is a guest blog by Faith Vidrine, member at Wash Park UCC, with an introduction by Nadyne Guzmán, PhD, Communications Coordinator for the RMC's Conference Inclusion Team. 

Dr. Nadyne Guzmán

Washington Park UCC in Denver has worked for several years to become a designated A2A Congregation. One member of the A2A Team is Faith Vidrine, who is also a member of the choir, on the Program Ministry Team, and a constant presence in Sunday Celebration. One of Faith’s goals is to help others with disabilities discover what it’s like to be part of community, so she has chosen to share this story with the Rocky Mountain Conference.

Many Families Support Us
Faith Vidrine

My name is Faith Vidrine and I have a disability. I’m lucky because I have a family that supports me all the time. My family is my mom and my dad, my older sister, my brother, and my younger sister. They always watch out for me. I know they are always there to help me, even when life gets hard. I have learned that when they kid me or tease me it means they love me very much.

Some people don’t have a family like mine. But I’ve learned that there are other families around that can help too. One kind of family is friends. I have a best friend named Jenny and she has a great family who I love dearly. They feel like my family, too. They always support me and love me for who I am. I have other friends, too—and their families are also wonderful. When I am with them I feel like part of their families.

I also have a group of friends called the Wayfaring Band. We travel together, and when I travel with them I feel like I can make my dreams come true. They felt like a family to me the very first time I traveled with them because one of the boys opened up his arms to me at the beginning and said “You are officially one of us now.” And everyone else was nice to me too. 

When we are traveling I feel like I never want the trip to end because it is so much fun seeing new places and sharing with my friends. All of us in the Wayfaring Band have different kinds of disabilities and we help each other out as we travel together. Being part of the Wayfaring Band means we get to be who we are and we know what to do.

We make sure everyone is safe and we are all together like one big family. I want to be the kind of person who does things right and knows what’s safe for me and for my friends. And being with the Wayfaring Band has helped me change from being nervous and afraid to being confident wherever I go. I have one friend who was very inspiring to me and gave me good advice. I felt like I could trust him and felt safe with him. He saw that I was nervous and he said he knew I was going to be okay. And when I learned how to engage with people, he noticed and told me I was doing a good job. That felt so cool!

I have learned we can always belong where we are. Different kinds of families help me feel like I belong. And I know I am the kind of friend who others can lean on. I am there for my friends the way they are there for me. I have a provider that I admire and I want to be just like her.

I know other people with disabilities can find families like these, even if they don’t have a family of their own. That’s what I want for everyone—to learn how to find the kind of love and support I have found by being brave and reaching out.

1 comment:

  1. Well said, Faith! Thank you for your commitment to inclusion. I am happy to know you and many of the extraordinary people you mentioned here. To quote The Wayfaring Band motto, "Everybody In!"
    - Erin Coleman
    - Erin Coleman