Mission.  Vision.  2 friends who are working on Larkin’s Place with me are pushing me to think and write out the Mission and Vision for Larkin’s Place.  Hmmmm ok but as I asked no fewer then 15 times “what’s the difference in the two?”  So I’ve been pushing myself to get it right.   We are writing the mission and vision for LP as it will be read and implemented for years to come.  No pressure.  Thank goodness I have both of them.  They guide me, answer me 15 times over, remind me and comfort me when I am frustrated.   My friend Laura sent me a God Issues email.  I love her for those 🙂  Funny enough it was on Mission and Vision.  3 things that should guide your life.  1.  Be right with God  2.  Be right with others  3.  Be right with yourself 

So we go back to the beginning.   Vision is WHY we are doing this.  Mission is WHAT we do that leads to achieving the vision.   Why?  Well let me tell you why.  I have met countless people over the last 2.5 years that can’t catch a break.  They are tired.  They have lost their jobs.  They have a child or children with disabilities that require constant care.  They can’t get past the grief that comes with having a child with special needs.  They separate, divorce and sometimes just leave the entire situation and leave one parent to fend for themselves.  And by “they” I mean “we”.  We are a large part of the community that remains hidden, ignored and more often then not, lost. 

And let’s not get hung up on Larkin and those with developmental delays.  May I remind everyone that you can always join our group.  May I also remind you that I am talking about:  Mothers and Fathers with disabilities.  War veterans who have come home injured.  Grandparents that are raising their grandchildren and don’t have the energy it requires to out run a small child.  Grandmother comes to take care of your children while you are out of town.  Where does she take them on a rainy day?   MS.  Lupus.  Those undergoing chemotherapy.  Those who need a place to go with their children when their children are typical and the parent needs the supportive environment.  2 years ago I was sitting in traffic one day dreaming about who Larkin’s Place could help I watched a mom cross the street with her 3 children.  Mom was using a power wheelchair.  They were leaving Carrie Busey school and I wondered “Where does she go with her children?  Where do they go to play WITH their mother and not as she sits on the sidelines?” 

I was ashamed of myself when I realized what I haven’t seen in our town.  Until I had Larkin I simply had no clue.  Why would I?  BECAUSE I SHOULD.  BEACAUSE I SHOULD HAVE BEEN RIGHT WITH OTHERS.  Because Jesus himself was with those who were in need.  He sat with Lepers, prostitutes and other outcasts.  He urged us to do likewise.  It is what we have to do as Christians.   The story of the woman in a crowd who reached out and grabbed Jesus’ garment as he passed by.  Jesus felt the power leave him and the woman was healed.  Jesus kept asking who had touched him.  The woman trembled with fear and knelt at his feet.  Jesus told her to take heart and that her faith had healed her.  This woman who in bible times would have been considered unclean and would have been an outcast and totally shunned and isolated.   He accepted and healed her.

That is how families sometimes feel when they have a loved one with special needs.  Isolated.  Lonely.   Why not have a place where ALL families can be supported?  Why are most programs and buildings built to support only those who are able bodied?  ALL families would come through the doors at Larkin’s Place.  ALL families would be set up for success, fun and interaction.  There are over 22,000 people in Champaign county with a disability.  On average each of those have at least 4 people in their lives.  Family, friends and perhaps a caregiver.  All are affected by the disability.  So that is, according to my math, over 100,000 people that could be served by a loving, open, supportive environment. 

People with special needs are the cherry on top of Larkin’s Place.  It will be built using Universal Design.  That means it is for ALL.  I can walk through the door.  Chase can walk through the door.  Larkin can be carried or pushed in and her friend Samuel can be wheeled in.  All without complications.  Typical people and children along with those with special needs so we all learn to see and love beyond disability.  WHO KNEW!  Just like Jesus did, we can accept and heal.  Heal with our words, actions and acceptance.  Just as He did.  What better example to follow?

That is my vision.  I need to get that down to 3 lines.  hahahhahahahahaha — No really.  3 lines.  Short and sweet.  Succinct and powerful. 

We’re working on it.  I have lots of help and love.  Tomorrow we will talk about mission.  In the meantime I spent all day watching Chase play baseball.  His team won the championship so we were pretty happy.  I got a little burn and I need a shower.  

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