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The Meadows Blog

Every Life Matters

Michael Crawley - Sunday, January 28, 2018

Each one of us believes that our life is important. But, unfortunately, our fixation with our own significance can sometimes lead us to presume that other lives don’t matter as much as ours. We often fall into the trap of believing that we are superior and, therefore, by default, others are inferior.

That type of thinking leads to a substantial amount of the misery experienced by the human race.

At the Meadows, we do everything in our power to fight this kind of attitude. We know that every life has equal meaning. Gender, ethnicity, age, and disability play no part in determining the value of a person.

Every day, we witness firsthand what men and women living with a wide range of intellectual and physical challenges can accomplish when they are given the opportunities they deserve.

Throughout their lives, these adults have had to deal with the harmful misconception that their lives mattered less. Even now, society does not always embrace the diversity that is represented by people with disabilities.

That is unjust and unfair.

People who live with intellectual challenges are complete human beings. They are not just a diagnosis used to conveniently label them.

They are also sons or daughters, brothers or sisters, aunts, uncles or cousins. They are church members, students, neighbors, employees, friends, and citizens. They are people with hopes and dreams. They want to be appreciated. They deserve respect.

Just like you and me, these individuals are doing the best they can to build a life that they find rewarding and fulfilling.

But frequently the biggest stumbling block they face is the narrowmindedness of others.

Through no fault of their own, people with intellectual challenges are often prejudged and assumed to have issues that do not allow them to be considered equal members of society. That is a painful loss for everyone because what is sometimes perceived as differences actually show just how much we are all alike.

*A person may use a walker or a wheelchair, but their mobility matters just as much to them as someone who is physically graceful.

* A person may need to wear functional clothing because of physical challenges, but their appearance is just as acceptable as someone who wears designer labels.

* A person may have communication issues, but they have the right to have their thoughts understood just like someone who is fluent.

* A person may use public transportation, but their destination means just as much to them as it does to someone who drives a luxury car.

* A person may live in a group home, but having a residence is just as important to them as it is to someone who lives in a gated community.

These examples apply to the men and women we employ at the Meadows. But the fact that they make certain adaptions in their lives does not make them less. It just makes them like everyone else because we all have limitations.

Every one of us has certain areas of life we excel at and other areas that will always remain beyond our capabilities. However, that does not diminish our worth as a person.

It is the same for people with intellectual challenges. They can achieve certain goals while others are out of reach, but that does not mean we should focus exclusively on what they can or cannot accomplish. They should always be considered in terms of their humanity.

All of society benefits when we realize that each life has the same value. When we understand that every person deserves to be treated with dignity, whether they have a disability or not, we take a giant step forward in accepting all of our citizens without reservation.

There can be no progress made in our world if some are left behind. Our organization does everything possible to provide meaningful work for people who are wrongly assumed to be unemployable.

At the Meadows, we believe that every life matters.

There are no exceptions.



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The Truth

Michael Crawley - Tuesday, December 03, 2019

It is an undeniable fact that human beings have always been willing to pass judgment and jump to conclusions about people who they believe are different from them. Unfortunately, this is particularly true when it comes to individuals with developmental disabilities.

These negative perceptions occur because we allow our emotions to guide our thinking instead of seeking the truth which can require effort and an open mind. Consequently, we are quick to label people with challenges and to categorize them for our own convenience. We fail to understand that no two people are the same and that each individual has their own personality and character. But we are, unfortunately, eager to form an opinion about their life without knowing a thing about them.


Here are five common situations that we are all familiar with. In each case, you encounter a person you think cannot possibly be a productive member of society.

You are shopping at the mall when two individuals walk past you. Suddenly one of them collapses with a seizure. You watch in shock as the convulsions run their course. Certain that the person lives in terror with the knowledge that a seizure could occur at any moment, you feel great sympathy for them. You assume their quality of life is compromised and that because of their epilepsy they cannot accomplish anything of significance.

***

You are eating at a restaurant when a person comes in with another adult. You can’t help but stare as they follow their hostess to their table. The individual has partial paralysis on one side of their body and there is visible scarring that indicates that they have endured multiple surgeries. The person walks with a pronounced limp, and you can see that their arm is immobile. You can’t imagine how they make it through the day living with those kinds of issues.

***

You are waiting to check out at the store. The individual in front of you is trying to communicate with the cashier, but their speech is extremely difficult to understand. The people behind you become impatient as the person struggles to convey their thoughts to the cashier who just wants them to move along and get out of the way. You feel great pity for the individual as you wonder what kind of “affliction” could’ve caused their inability to communicate clearly.

***

You are in line to buy a ticket for a movie when an individual standing with their mother becomes agitated about something. Very quickly the person’s behavior escalates and they begin to yell as they lose control of their emotions. Their mother tries to help them calm down, but she is not successful in getting the person to relax. You and others watch with silent disapproval as you harshly judge her lack of parenting skills for allowing this to happen in public.

***

You are waiting for an elevator. The doors open and a person carefully steps out pushing a walker. Their balance is precarious and their legs seem stiff and rigid. It is obvious that they would not be able to walk without the assistive device. You suspect their life is limited in countless ways because of their lack of mobility, and you can’t help thinking it would be better for them to stop trying to walk altogether and to just use a wheelchair.

What do these five people have in common?...... Yes, they each have a disability. Yes, it affects certain areas of their lives, and yes, their diagnosis is often used to unfairly define them. But what might surprise you is one other thing that they have in common. Something positive. Something meaningful. Something that deserves to be acknowledged.

All of these individuals are successfully employed at the Meadows.

Along with almost forty other men and women with intellectual challenges, these five individuals work each day at a variety of jobs that not only provide them with a hard-earned paycheck but also build self-esteem and self-confidence. They learn vocational skills, but, even more importantly, they are given every opportunity to reach their personal potential.

But when these same individuals go out in public, people rush to judge them based on nothing more than appearances. That kind of narrow-mindedness is unfair and unjust.

Obviously, there is an important lesson that must be learned.

When we encounter a person with an intellectual, physical or emotional challenge, we should treat them just like we would anyone else. They deserve to be understood and accepted for who they are as a person. They deserve to be treated with dignity. They deserve to be respected.

The men and women we proudly employ are perfect examples of what people with developmental disabilities can achieve in a positive work setting that offers support and encouragement.

The truth is simple. Every person, regardless of what their challenges happen to be, has the right to live their best life.

That is what our employees do every day.


 
Read More

Why The Meadows Matters

Michael Crawley - Monday, November 11, 2019
 
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It Is Not Too Late!

Michael Crawley - Thursday, October 24, 2019

The Meadows annual Walk-A-Thon, held on Saturday, October 12th, was a tremendous success, and we want to thank everyone who participated.  
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Why We Are Not Hiring

Michael Crawley - Sunday, February 25, 2018

People frequently contact the Meadows to see if we are currently hiring individuals with intellectual challenges. Unfortunately, as much as we wish we could, the answer is NO. 
Read More


The Men and Women of the Meadows

Michael Crawley - Sunday, February 18, 2018

The mission of our organization is to provide employment and vocational training for adults with developmental disabilities as well as other intellectual and physical challenges. 
Read More


Physical Challenges

Michael Crawley - Sunday, February 11, 2018

For those of you who are familiar with the Meadows, you know that on this blog we focus primarily on intellectual challenges. That is because each of the men and women we employ has an IQ of 70 or less, which is the state’s criteria of determining a developmental disability. 
Read More


Public Perceptions

Michael Crawley - Monday, February 05, 2018

As people drive past our building each day it is impossible to get a true sense of what is going on inside our 42,000 sq. ft. facility. That leaves the general public with a natural curiosity about what kind of organization we are and exactly what it is we do. 
Read More


Every Life Matters

Michael Crawley - Sunday, January 28, 2018

Each one of us believes that our life is important. But, unfortunately, our fixation with our own significance can sometimes lead us to presume that other lives don’t matter as much as ours. We often fall into the trap of believing that we are superior and, therefore, by default, others are inferior. 
Read More


More Than A Job

Michael Crawley - Monday, January 22, 2018

Our jobs play an important role in each of our lives. In many ways, they help to define us. For some, it means having the ability to provide for their families. For others, it is a lifelong commitment to a meaningful career. But no matter what the circumstances, our jobs occupy a significant portion of our time. 
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A Friend Is A Friend

Michael Crawley - Monday, January 15, 2018

Friendships are some of the most important relationships we have in life. They add a richness and warmness to our existence. They provide comfort and make us feel connected. They allow us to be understood and accepted for who we are. They provide us with people we can count on during difficult times. And, just as importantly, friendship gives us someone to share our happiest moments with. 
Read More



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The Meadows
Center for Opportunity

1000 South Kelly
Edmond, Oklahoma
73003-6081

phone: 405.348.4470
fax: 405.340.5395