I had taken the first step toward my calling. I got the approval for the Director of Recreation to start more inclusive programs, but now what? I was not exactly clear what I was supposed to do going forward. When you have a calling you do not get a manual with all the road maps and step by step instructions on what to do. What kind of program would we start with? Who would I get to teach it? How would I get the parents involved to sign up their kids? My mind flooded with questions but I did not have the answers. Somehow I knew my calling had to transform into action but how?
Get the Word Out And Ask for Help
As that little voice awakened, I suddenly became more aware. Have you ever wanted to buy a particular car and all of the sudden you see one on every corner? I started to see things I hadn’t before. I started to meet people and shared my ideas as I sat in doctors and therapists offices with my son. I talked to anybody in my community who would listen. I found one person, Dr. Michele Havens, who helped me start our first inclusive program for children. She in turn, introduced me to many other parents and people interested in helping. The ideas began to snowball as I asked for help and got the word out. I realized so many people wanted inclusion and were attracted to the same cause. Don’t sit on your calling and your ideas. Start by getting the word out and asking for help!
Consistent Action Multiplies Results
By the time we started our first class, we had fourteen children signed up. It was clear one teacher could not take all fourteen children. How could we get our community involved and find solutions to our growing needs? We came up with the idea to recruit middle and high school students to help. As a result, our mentor program started. Eighteen years later, the mentor program is one of our greatest assets. We started with fourteen mentors and today we have 250 - 300 mentors logging in over 2200 community service hours a year in our community alone. The mentor program has become one of the cornerstones of all we do. That idea began to ignite the calling for inclusion in children. Translating your calling into consistent actionable steps will begin to engage others and you will be amazed how the results will begin to multiply. An idea coupled with action creates momentum and momentum is critical to creating widespread movements that promote lasting change.
The World Is Waiting For YOU
Once the mentor program began, we realized people were craving to know more about how to include people with disabilities in their communities. We designed a formalized training for mentors, and since its inception in 2003, we have trained 49,000 people. The program began to spread across New Jersey and into other states as well. With each step more options became available and doors opened. I began to realize that my calling, coupled with action, had begun to take on a life of its own.
As you begin to take action and lead your calling, it will ignite the calling for inclusion in other people. I began to realize the world is waiting for leaders to begin to turn their callings into actions they can join. Actions create momentum which is how movements that change the world are created. One person has the courage to take action which inspires others to do the same. A calling is not made to keep to yourself. It is your gift to the world and the legacy you will leave that has the a capacity to change lives and radiate hope. Turn your calling into action and you will be amazed how it will move forward to a movement the world is anxiously looking for and waiting to join!
All proceeds from the Include ME! book and donations will go toward our mission of promoting inclusion. Click below to purchase the book.