Imagine for a moment how being ‘pigeon-holed’ by other people would make you feel. It probably happens to most of us from time to time but we can usually find ways to prove them mistaken. For the people we serve at ubu it can be an up-hill struggle to overcome preconceptions held by much of our society. It is often assumed that people with disabilities, complex needs and behavioural difficulties are unable or incapable of doing things the rest of us take for granted.
For the people served by ubu it can seem like an uphill struggle to overcome these prejudices. It can feel doubly difficult because not only does each individual have to overcome their own personal challenges but they also have to contend with the perception that they are unfit to have an equal place in society.
Many of the people we serve have set a goal of finding employment. The path to achieving this dream can seem daunting, even impossible when faced with the negativity of others. ubu works with the people we serve to think and act positively and bravely, encouraging them to gain skills and experience.
Michael from Knaresborough is living proof that you can achieve your ambitions if you aim high and boldly overcome things that seem to hold you back. Michael, who has difficulties with memory loss, has worked at his local ASDA supermarket for many years and is an integral part of the team there. Following an accident last year, his poor memory caused him even greater problems. It meant he had to relearn many of the skills he had taken for granted in the past and go back to learning the basics.
Slowly, enabled and supported by ubu, Michael has overcome many hurdles such as remembering which days he works, his journey from home, what his duties are and the people he works with. Michael has picked up the pieces of his life now and is once again confident in his working life and loving the experience.
In the film ‘Flashdance’, the song “What a Feeling” expressed something wonderful about how it feels to overcome ignorance and to take steps, however small to reach our dreams. Michael has inspired everyone around him to remember that exhilarating “What a Feeling” moment we all share when at last we succeed.
Michael has been empowered by his achievements, becoming stronger and more assertive about his place in his community. His colleagues at the supermarket are delighted to have him back. Michael jokingly says he runs the place and in his own way he really does. His unique, outgoing and lively style means that everyone around him feels a glow from his presence.
We all need a Michael, more importantly we all need to think BIG and BRAVE so that more Michaels can achieve their goals – What a Feeling that would be.
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