At Penn-Mar we talk a lot about the power of transformation. Our tagline, “Transforming life into living,” speaks to our mission to do whatever it takes to help the people we support live interesting, meaningful, self-directed lives.
And while it all sounds noble and inspirational, the process of transforming lives can at times be very messy. It’s not linear.
Think about your own life. All of us have made mistakes along the way, working off pre-suppositions that were not accurate, ignoring opportunities, playing it safe. Sometimes the job of our dreams is anything but. But the process of growing and understanding can and should eventually lead us to the right path.
There is no perfect template for making a wonderful life. It’s just hard work, for you and me and even more so for people with disabilities.
For too long the folks we support have found themselves on the inferior side of a relationship. With the best of intentions, they are told to ask for what they want. But in the end, they are told by others what would be best for them.
Fortunately, that dynamic is changing. Today, instead of simply taking care of people, we are helping them to learn how to describe their dreams and ultimately live them.
A common refrain among the folks who secure a job in the community is, “I never thought I could do something like that!” That sentiment could also apply to mowing the lawn, or traveling by plane to a family wedding, winning a blue ribbon in a prestigious horse show event, or launching a mobile DJ business fueled by a passion for music and the support of Penn-Mar’s new Self-Employment Program.
When we talk about truly transforming a person’s life, it demands taking a thoughtful, intelligent approach to understanding their heart, soul and mind in order to find what it is that makes them happy.
We continually encourage and celebrate the positive victories of the people we support. But we’ll know that a real transformation has taken place when we’re no longer surprised by their achievement because that’s what a meaningful life is all about.