As the Executive Director of The Centre for Dreams, I hold a very important position. For not only am I charged with upholding the principals and core values upon which we were founded, but I am also deeply connected to our mission and vision as the sister of our very first member. I have only known life being surrounded by “special” people. To me, this is my normal. I don’t see someone with Down’s Syndrome, or Autism, or one who is retarded, I see the person who loves me. You see, the members of The Centre for Dreams are not special because of their abilities or challenges, they are special because they love unconditionally and they love wholeheartedly! Each day, I am greeted with big smiles and hugs by all of our members. No matter what challenges I face, my day is brighter because I am loved by these very special people.
The question of being “labelled” is what our “Living Beyond the Label” campaign is all about. Launched in 2013, Living Beyond the Label is an awareness project to help everyone experience the person, and not be stalled by a label. This concept is skillfully demonstrated by my brother John in a video that you can watch below. Stripping away the labels of imbecile, retarded, mental and handicapped, we finally see the bright and happy person underneath it all! Our goal for the coming year is to continue to spread the word to look past old notions and see the person beyond the label. Please visit our booth at community events or invite us to your local schools – we are committed to empowering our members in their community – we want to go beyond acceptance and foster a welcoming community who truly understands Living Beyond the Label.