Well, the 1st month of Fellowship is almost over – perhaps many of the Fellows must have started their blogs this way. I couldn’t find anything more unique at this moment, thus the decision was easy – it is as good as any other “start-up” phrase could be.
However, the 1st month indeed is almost over and apart of being overwhelmed by new information, new organization, new people and new places (too repetitive, right) I should try to analyze what has been going on so far. Well, first of all – I am much interested about my Host Organization (Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota) and amazed by their scope of services, available to almost each person in need.
When I compare services available for people with disabilities in the US and in my country, Armenia, – actually there isn’t much to compare, to be honest – I feel sometimes emotionally quite oppressed. But at least now I see a certain model of social services which can be replicated and localized, even partially. And at the same time I realize that probably it will not happen in my country for the nearest decades. More than 80% of funding for delivering various services to people with disabilities are “pumped” through the federal/state budgets and Medicare/Medicaid waivers. A system, that people with disabilities of many countries would dream of.
Availability of services, abundance of choices for having a full life and being within a community – that’s what I see here. Even though my Host Organization right now is advocating for even greater independence for people with disabilities and their participation in making decisions on what they need in their lives through a great initiative My Life, My Choices. I am glad to be a small part of this movement, of advocacy events and efforts, participate in meetings with legislators, senators and self-advocates. It actually gives me a full realization of what the true development is, IMHO – each system, regardless of its advantages, always has a room for further improvement; giving up efforts of advocating and applying these improvements would jeopardize the very development of system itself. When water in pond stays still, decay and rot start. Indeed Dr. Weaver, our language of primarily “to be” culture tends to be more descriptive!