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Site Blog: Day 1 at Charles River Center

Posted on 06/26/2013 @ 05:00 PM

Tags: impactboston

On Monday our group had it's first day on site. We first met with some of the staff to learn about the history of how individuals with intellectual disabilities have been treated throughout history.

Over the past 50 years the treatment of people with disabilities has been dramatically altered. Originally there were only two options for families of children with disabilities: keeping them at home or state schools (institutions). Although these were funded by the state, they were often over crowded, under staffed and the residents lived in horrific conditions.

Seeing these issues a group of families with children with disabilities decided to start an alternative option. This alternative eventually developed into the Charles River Center.

The CRC is a home to people with intellectual disabilities and provides them with the opportunity to learn a variety of skills and get jobs. Some of these jobs even help the individuals work on their fine motor skills.

Interacting with the residents and the staff was an eye opener to a part of society we had not gotten to know before. One poem that really moved us was entitled, You and I, by Elaine Popovitch. This poem was read to us by a staff member when we first arrived:

YOU AND I, by Elaine Popovich
I am a resident. You reside.
I am admitted. You move in.
I am aggressive. You are assertive.
I have behavior problems. You are rude.
I am noncompliant. You don't like being told what to do. When I ask you out for dinner, it is an outing. When you ask someone out, it is a date.
I made mistakes during my check-writing program. Someday I might get a bank account. You forgot to record some withdrawals from your account. The bank called to remind you.
I wanted to talk with the nice-looking person behind us at the grocery store. I was told that it is inappropriate to talk to strangers. You met your spouse in the produce department. Neither of you could find the bean sprouts.
I celebrated my birthday yesterday with five other residents and two staff members. I hope my family sends a card. Your family threw you a surprise party. Your brother couldn't make it from out of state. It sounded wonderful!
My case manager sends a report every month to my guardian. It says everything I did wrong and some things I did right. You are still mad at your sister for calling your Mom after you got that speeding ticket.
I am learning household skills. You hate housework. I am learning leisure skills. Your shirt says you are a "Couch Potato."
After I do my budget program tonight, I might get to go to McDonald's if I have enough money. You were glad that the new French restaurant took your charge card.
My case manager, psychologist, R. N., occupational and physical therapist, nutritionist and house staff set goals for me for the next year. You haven't decided what you want out of life.
Someday I will be discharged . . . maybe. You will move onward and upward.

To learn more about the Charles River Center vist their website:

This post was written by Amy Margolin and Lauren Keats.


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