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The Meadows Blog

Why The Meadows Matters

Michael Crawley - Monday, November 11, 2019

In a world where men and women with developmental disabilities are too often ignored and forgotten, or marginalized on the fringes of society, the Meadows is an organization where they can find a home.

Our nonprofit is a place where these adults are welcomed and accepted for who they are. They quickly discover their work environment is designed specifically to help them reach their potential. Individuals learn vocational tasks along with interpersonal skills and enjoy a level of socialization many have never had.

The results of employment are quickly evident as we witness amazing transformations in people who come out of their shells and reveal their true personalities. Families often tell us that even after being at the Meadows for just a brief time, their loved one seems like a different person.

Working and earning a paycheck helps an individual develop a feeling of self-worth, and they become more independent and willing to accept responsibilities that were once considered out of reach.

Building on small successes leads to the confidence to attempt bigger more complex jobs. With patience and the proper support, our employees often achieve far more than they ever dreamed was possible. The satisfaction they feel when they accomplish a task that required perseverance and dedication is deeply rewarding.

But to have that kind of personal success, they first have to be given the chance to work. The role of the Meadows is to offer employment to individuals who need adaptions and supports that other businesses are unwilling to provide. That means we are prepared to deal with a complete range of challenges including intellectual, physical, and emotional issues.

The latter is a particular concern that other employers choose to avoid. But we have found that with patience and the proper guidance, a person can learn to adjust their frustrations and anger into more positive forms of energy that allow them to go through their day without any undue stress or anxiety.

For the men and women who work with us, there is no pressure to perform. They progress at their own pace. They soon discover that making mistakes is part of the learning process and nothing to be feared. That would not be the case in many other jobs.

No one is ever reduced to a list of symptoms, characteristics, or behaviors. They are never compared to others, No one is labeled in broad terms for the sake of convenience because no two people are alike. Each individual is treated like the unique person they are.

The adults we hire take great pride in being employed and typically respond with dedication and commitment. Each day, they give their best effort and, in so doing, they expand the parameters of what is possible for them - and that is the result we are looking for.

Without services like ours, too many people with developmental disabilities would continue to spend their days trapped at home not having the chance to learn and develop new skills and abilities. When that occurs, it’s a loss for everyone. 

We want their employment to open up a world that was previously denied to them because we know that kind of powerful experience will have a lasting impact on them and their families.

It is the desire to see our employees succeed that drives every decision we make. No matter what the situation happens to be, the prime consideration is whether or not it will have a positive effect on our workers. We have structured our business in a way that allows us to ensure that the adults we proudly employ have everything they need to thrive in a work setting.

That is why our organization exists, and why we will always operate in a way that benefits them.

It is certainly our hope that the time will come when every person, no matter what their challenges, is considered a candidate to work in the community – but until that point is reached, we will remain an important option for employment.

The Meadows Center for Opportunity matters because we give deserving men and women the chance to change their lives. 




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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. 
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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. 
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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. 
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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. 
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The Meadows
Center for Opportunity

1000 South Kelly
Edmond, Oklahoma
73003-6081

phone: 405.348.4470
fax: 405.340.5395