Feeling that you belong in a place full of acceptance where everyone supports you is an emotion that each of us should feel. This feeling I’m describing I was able to feel it in the moment that I became part of the Beckwith community at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In this blog I will define a community, how should a community be run, and I’ll share my personal experience with a community. Okay, let’s roll♿.
A community is a group of individuals that share common goals, believes, interests and ideas. Each of these individuals in this group has to be committed towards achieving their goals together in order to be considered a community. Communities in today’s society mostly are businesses, nonprofit organizations, churches, sports teams and school clubs.
People that belong to a community should feel connected to each other by their goals. They all have to count equally and this group of people has to respect the ideas of each other within their community. All new ideas that will help the group achieve their goal are always important. Communication is key for a community to run in a successful way. Every member of this group has to be able to open their ears to listen each other carefully and they have to trust others in order to express their ideas with respect. Only then they will be able to grow together and achieve their common goals. Dwight Eisenhower 34th president of the United States was an effective leader. He once said, “This world of ours must avoid being a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be, instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect”.
Many communities are not as successful as they could be because it’s members loss interest on their goals. Every community needs warriors that have a passion and a commitment towards reaching their shared goal. This is the reason businesses and organizations conduct interviews to deeply analyze the new members level of commitment towards their goals. Very often in these interviews they ask: Why are you interested on the job? This is the way of seeing if they share the same goal.
On August of this 2015, I begun my journey at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In this university they have a program for people with disabilities like me. It is known as Beckwith. Twenty six residents with disabilities, three disability specialists, and many personal assistants belong to this awesome community. The shared goal of this community is to get people with disabilities to achieve their own independence. Those three disability specialists help you and they teach you how to hire personal assistants. Their personal assistants are always willing to give a hand to the twenty six residents that live in the Beckwith hallway at Nugent Hall. Generally the personal assistants are students looking to gain experience working with others that have disabilities. Everybody works together towards achieving independence and once the residents graduate they are able to live on their own by hiring personal assistants.
In the Beckwith community there is a sense of connection and I haven’t felt alone on my journey towards independence. There are twenty five other residents with similar conditions going through the exact same journey. In every bump I have had along the journey their is always someone to help me get through it. In the Beckwith community, no question is too dumb to be ask. Their is always a huge support from every member of the community. I feel grateful to belong to such a supportive community that does everything to give me my independence and freedom. In the Beckwith community, as your personal assistants get to know you they are able to see the person and not the wheelchair. They accept you for who you are. In this community everyone made sure of having a wheelchair friendly campus where those on wheels can roll anywhere they want. It’s thanks to communities like this one that America is known as the sea of the opportunities. This community has made UIUC the best university in the nation for those with disabilities. Many of my friends on wheels have come from California, Maryland, Alabama and other states because of the amazing Beckwith program. I wish more countries and states in America had this programs to guide those on wheels towards reaching independence.
Becoming a part of this community was not easy for me I had to work hard and improve my grades in order to be achieve that. They were multiple steps towards getting there. I had multiple interviews where they made sure that I was committed to the goal of achieving independence. Now I’m thankful of belonging to this community and every day I’m trying to make the best out of it.
Overall, becoming a part of a community is awesome and I highly suggest you to do so. It helps others to find individuals with same interests, goals, ideas, and feelings. This can leave you with a sense of belonging and give you strength. You will discover your not alone towards achieving your goals. In the future the people you meet in that community will be there to support you. There is a lot of communities waiting for you to walk or roll into them. These are clubs at schools, summer camps, businesses, volunteering opportunities, sport teams, sororities, fraternities and church groups. Get involve, built strong communities where you and others can grow as a person together. Lastly, I want to challenge you to help build more communities like Beckwith in all universities out there. So that more people on wheels can roll together towards their independence and achieve all their goals.