Live Your Life’s Purpose

shab

Self-respect is crucial to self-care because it protects you from settling for less when you deserve the best. This is toxic to how you view yourself and how you allow others to treat you, your values and your boundaries. If you allow others to trample over your expectations constantly, you’re debasing your worth and your self-esteem. You might be afraid that if you have high standards for yourself, people might perceive you as a high-maintenance person and even abandon you in the process. In fact, it’s probably a good thing that they do that and reveal that earlier during your important journey.  At the end of the day, your opinion of yourself and what you deserve is all that truly matters to you in your life. Having high standards for yourself, your career and relationships protects you in the long-run. Think of some things that fall below your standards as bad experiences. You’re not getting what you need and want out of it, but the person on the other side is. It’s not worth the time and your energy if someone else is benefiting from the positive return.

Life is too short to waste your energy by allocating resources into goals that are not truly your own. Caring for ourselves means remaining authentic and recognizing our true passion. Don’t be pressured into picking a certain career path just because society says it’s the right one for you. Don’t always settle for jobs just because they’ll pay the rent. Don’t pursue a major just because of its financial rewards unless it’s something that really interests you. Sometimes, you will have to do what you have to do in order to survive – but be sure you’re still looking for ways to improve yourself and progress to something better and something that represents your true self. Setting aside time to pursue your dreams is important because these are things no one can take away from you. You own the right to all your dreams and the ability to make them come true.

At the end, it’s all about you – about your uniqueness – about your dreams!

The key is to still be practical, but also to be passionate. You were not meant to live this life doing just what is required to survive, you were meant to live life valuing your dreams. Don’t be afraid of failure, because failure is a learning experience that will strengthen you and prepare you to do better in the future. Would you rather sit around and live in the regret of not knowing what would’ve happened if you had tried or would you rather lead an exciting life by taking on risks and challenges that will ultimately lead you towards reaching your dreams.

It’s never late to start Living Your Dreams!

Shabnam Khan

Personal Development Worker at Semiahmoo House Society

s.khan@shsbc.ca

Semiahmoo House Society, a non-profit organization located in Surrey/White Rock, exists to provide quality services and supports to people with disabilities and their families in the community. The Semiahmoo Foundation exists to fund, support and enhance the programs and services delivered by Semiahmoo House Society.

Thank You in all the Languages that We Speak

Dorothy

People come and go through our doors at Semiahmoo House Society and each person leaves a particular mark.  Some are bold and intense; some are questioning; some are timid; and some are sure and independent.  All are welcome.  All are needed.  All are encouraged.

In the midst of this coming and going are those like myself who love to be with people, who love to share and who love to be counted upon.  The staff at Semiahmoo House Society are probably some of the best people that I have known over the years.  And when I say staff, I mean those who make support a meaningful part in their lives – this will include valued paid employees and valued unpaid employees – our volunteers.

This year, as in others, we have lovely and steady volunteers who make a difference in the lives of many people who call Semiahmoo House Society their home base.  Some people in their homes are having their lives increased by someone – now a friend – who just comes and spends good times with them.  There are those wonderful students who bring delight to people coming for a great day in Rec & Leisure.  There are men and women in the Day Programmes who look forward to those so dependable people, who have indeed become friends, spending time each week to share experiences and teach and guide alongside the full-time staff.

And there, at the Reception desk, you will often find the welcoming and generous volunteers who help with the literal coming and going of the rest of us.  Our Acquired Brain Injury and Employment Training and Support Services love to have volunteers in support of the good folks who go there as well, and often it is the case that volunteers want also to serve and support in these excellent settings.  We have had very good volunteers as well giving and giving in our Day Care and look forward to more being available as this year unfolds.

I must not forget also the happy volunteers who assist when it comes to Fundraising – they bring great enthusiasm to these critical projects.  Last, and most certainly not least, we are all so grateful for the men and women on our Board of Directors who give hours and hours of service on behalf of all of us at this good agency we call home.

Can we say that we love you?  We certainly love what you do and how much you give of yourselves, dear volunteers.

Thank you in all the languages that we speak.

By Dorothy Gurnery, Volunteer Coordinator

Dorothy is a volunteer herself. Thank you Dorothy for all you do!

Semiahmoo House Society, a non-profit organization located in Surrey/White Rock, exists to provide quality services and supports to people with disabilities and their families in the community. The Semiahmoo Foundation exists to fund, support and enhance the programs and services delivered by Semiahmoo House Society.

Thank You, Semiahmoo House Society, for “Nothing”

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I am thankful to Semiahmoo House Society for “Nothing”!

Nothing, because as a new immigrant a few years back, I have expected nothing but hardships and challenges in my journey to a place I know nothing about too. True enough, upon my arrival and my first few months in, my expectations became closer to reality. Was it hard? To put it to words, I have trekked nothing as wearisome like this before. Thank God I have my wife with me.

But as if fate has challenged my “theory of everything”, a weird moment has led me to attend this “something” happening along 24th avenue one cold fall evening. It was a career session about being a community support worker, a career I know nothing about.

Nothing prepared me for the surprise of a lifetime. I did not know that this job is my “thing”. It has paved way for me to connect “job” and “passion” and how the two can co-exist. Job satisfaction was such an overrated statement for me before but “something” about Semi broke that view of mine.

Not only did Semiahmoo House shatter my disbelief in “job-satisfaction” – it has also led me to search for a word that would describe what Semi has given me, because “job satisfaction” just won’t do it – it is too much of an understatement and other pleasantries won’t give justice too. So what did I find as a word to describe how Semi rocks my world? Yep, that’s right, nothing.

Beyond the indescribable “fulfillment” I get every time I use my FOB to enter the Treehouse, is the “breaking ground” of my dreams of rooting my family in a community that gives us the best chance to flourish – cue the Chorus apartments, our new home.

With Semiahmoo House pioneering this project, I once again cross paths with my good old friend – “nothing”. For nothing like this has successfully bridged the gap between the people we support and the community the way Chorus does. Nothing like this has brought inclusion closer not only to people with developmental disabilities, but also, the other members of the community. With the existence of Chorus and the “give and receive” culture woven to its DNA, a beautiful way of living has come to life.

Given that there is nothing like Chorus, we hope and pray that the “nothingness” that Chorus has spawned will evolve into “something”, something that people, organizations and nations will look up to and follow. We are looking forward to the possibility of other groups that will create “something” like Chorus and eventually giving inclusion a real shot at being something that is as uncommon as the sun rising in the East.      

I am proud to say that in SHS, I found out that “nothing” is not too bad of a thing to begin with. For it is in nothingness that we get inspired to create something.

Again, I thank Semiahmoo House Society for nothing. 

Jasper Macabulos, Semiahmoo House Society

Semiahmoo House Society, a non-profit organization located in Surrey/White Rock, exists to provide quality services and supports to people with disabilities and their families in the community. The Semiahmoo Foundation, located in Surrey/White Rock, exists to fund, support and enhance the programs and services delivered by Semiahmoo House Society.

Are You Listening?

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I believe, if we were honest with ourselves in answering the question, “Are you listening?” most of us would respond affirmatively. I also believe that all of us pride ourselves on how attentive we are about listening to others and we seem to be very capable of carrying on a conversation with one individual or a number of people at the same. What a wonderful skill that each of us have been given, the skill of listening. After all, each of us has been given two ears and one mouth.  So if we were to follow the law of averages, we would automatically think that we can do twice as much listening as verbalizing. Why would any of us ask a question like “Are you listening”?

When we talk about listening skills, I do not think that we are as proficient at listening to others as we think. I believe we hear what we want to hear and we think we are doing a great job with the skill we have been given. I would like to give you some examples of just how good of listeners we are. Just for a moment, let me re-locate you to a few different scenarios and bring the truth around our listening skills to heart.

Picture yourself entering either a party or a business meeting. You are being introduced to two, three or four people, whom you have never met before. The first person you are introduced to, you get the name and remember it. What about the third or fourth person? Do you have to ask someone else what that person’s name is? If you find yourself in this position, it is due to a lack of listening and wanting to move ahead to the next person.

What about at home or at work, do you find yourself asking a family member or a co-worker to please repeat that comment or question, as you did not quite hear the whole statement or question? Sounds familiar?  Well, it could be due to the fact that you did not focus or give that individual the 100% attention that they desired or deserved.

Would you be one of those people, amongst us, who have a very short attention span? Do you find yourself only able to focus your attention on someone’s conversation for a very limited period? Do you find that, after a short period of time, you are moving on from that conversation? If so, how do you think the other person is feeling? What you may want to do is to tell people that they will need to get to the point early to keep your attention and, as such, they are able to engage your ability to listen and stay focused.

How many times, have you ever found yourself pretending to listen but knowing full well that you are thinking about a different topic or preparing to provide an answer even before the question has been asked? Sounds familiar?

I guess that brings us to the question, “What makes a good listener?” And far be it for me to provide you with the answers because I have fallen into each of the traps above. What I can tell you is that it boils down to respect for all of the individuals that you are in contact with. Respect all interactions you may find yourself entering into, whether you want them or not. The interactions that present themselves to you, whether they are with family, friends or peers, could be largely outside of your control. You may not want to enter into these discussions, but you cannot make those decisions on your own.

Does this take us back to the fact that we have two ears to listen with and only one mouth to respond with? Give it a try. It is not easy. It is hard work to change, but it will make a big change in your relationships, if you work on changing.

I hope you have a wonderful holiday season and give the gift of listening.

By Rich Gorman, Board Chair at Semihamoo House Society

Semiahmoo House Society, a non-profit organization located in Surrey/White Rock, exists to provide quality services and supports to people with disabilities and their families in the community. The Semiahmoo Foundation exists to fund, support and enhance the programs and services delivered by Semiahmoo House Society.

 

Home for the Holidays

Krista and Michaela Xmas.png

As the earth shifts on its axis and Canada tilts away from the warmth of the sun, birds and beasts pause, and drawn by innate yearnings to move, begin migrations that their species have traveled for millennia to warmth and comfort.  In much the same manner, we Canadians are magnetically drawn home for the holidays. Home. A place of belonging. A place we can call our own. The scent of cinnamon and cloves and pine needles and the sound of good cheer surrounding the family and friends we invite to share the warmth of our fire and the food of our feasts. We decorate and share our homes and create traditions that will be carried on by our children and newcomer friends.

For people who have developmental disabilities, home has historically not been a place to choose, but a place to be placed. Not so long ago, large scale institutions were considered the best “homes” for children who were born with disabilities. Today in Canada, over 100,000 Canadian with developmental disabilities are not able to find affordable housing where they can live safe and happy lives of their own choosing in communities that offer social and economic inclusion. Housing options are mostly limited to staying at home through adulthood with one’s aging parents or living with another family in a home share situation. While both these situations work very well for some, for others and their families the limited choice is a classic dilemma: two housing options, neither which is acceptable or preferred. Unlike most Canadians, people with disabilities rarely have a place that they can call their own, where they can decorate, invite family and friends, and create their own traditions.

The good news is that society is shifting the way it views people who have disabilities. There is a tilt in the axis of our collective beliefs and assumptions about who should and can have a home of their own. I’ve seen this during Semiahmoo House Society’s tiring but wonderful 13 year journey developing and building Chorus, an inclusive and affordable apartment that over 100 people call home, including 21 people who have developmental disabilities. We started the journey by asking people we support and their families how and where they would like to live. Not surprisingly, we were told “in our community, close to our friends, family, transit, and jobs; and, if possible, in our own apartment.” These dreams became our marching orders and through the work of many dedicated people and like-minded organizations, Chorus exists today.

I got to thinking about all of this because yesterday Michaela and Krista, roommates in Chorus, sent me this picture with the caption: “Our first Christmas Tree in our new home.”

The picture was taken by their friend Alexa, who was visiting them from Kelowna, staying with them for a few days and enjoying their hospitality. Krista and Michaela will welcome other friends and family members to their home over the holidays. They have the opportunity to be hosts, to share their space, their meals, and their good cheer with others.  In the same way that Chorus puts people with disabilities in a position of strength by its very being and its welcome to other members of the community who need decent affordable homes, Krista and Michaela now have the right and opportunity to give back and share their bounty with others. This is the way it should be: reciprocal relationships where all people have a chance to give and to receive.

Like the inexorable movement of the seasons, we move forward as a people, unstoppable in our journey to true inclusion. I am proud of the work that Semiahmoo House Society has done to make our community stronger and I am truly blessed to be in the company of people who will continue to move us towards a world where all people are valued.

By Doug Tennant, Executive Director, Semiahmoo House Society

Semiahmoo House Society, a non-profit organization located in Surrey/White Rock, exists to provide quality services and supports to people with disabilities and their families in the community. The Semiahmoo Foundation, located in Surrey/White Rock, exists to fund, support and enhance the programs and services delivered by Semiahmoo House Society.

Weaving the Community Together

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SAORI Weaving is alive and well at Semiahmoo House. The Weaving class in the Personal Development department has been running for a year now. We bought our looms and supplies last fall with money we received from two grants. The weavers have created many metres of fabric and have lots of projects on the go. Have a look at the video that was made by Westminster Savings to illustrate the results of their grant to us. (If you have difficulty accessing the video, you can cut and paste this link into your browser: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSsmPiuooaM.)

This last semester a volunteer class has been taking the two portable looms into the community. They go to Morgan Place care home every Friday morning and assist residents there to weave. The program has been very well received and the class will continue to go there in this new semester. It has become a wonderful opportunity to share our good fortune.

The weavers sold several items they had on display at the Inclusion BC Art Show and Sale in Vancouver at the end of October. Staff had sewn several items from fabrics woven in the weaving classes. Some of the fabrics were woven in group projects and some were woven by Denh Hua and Enrique Guzman-Iraheta. Both Denh and Enrique attended the art show and did a weaving demonstration on the two portable looms.

In this fall semester, a Weaving class combined with the Sewing class to form a Fiber Arts group. The intention is to have class members weave fabrics and then sew them into items that can be sold.

The Handpicked Home, a local White Rock business, has reached out the weavers. Piya Sandhu, Owner and Chief Curator, has invited them to have items for sale in her shop as well as to do a weaving demonstration there. The plans are still in the works. It is likely the weaving demonstration will be in November. We’ll keep you posted.

The looms are a great asset to the PD program. They are opening up opportunities for people to be successful at doing something they’ve never had a chance to try before. We plan to continue to expand the program by training new facilitators and by becoming self-supporting. The goal will be that anyone who has a desire, can have an opportunity to enjoy this truly rewarding experience.

By Sue Forster, Semiahmoo House Society

Semiahmoo House Society, a non-profit organization located in Surrey/White Rock, exists to provide quality services and supports to people with disabilities and their families in the community. The Semiahmoo Foundation exists to fund, support and enhance the programs and services delivered by Semiahmoo House Society.

 

Giving Tuesday November 29

Lindsay and Alex

From now until GivingTuesday November 29, we are inviting you to:

  • Tell us how Semiahmoo House Society has made a difference in your life, your family’s life and in your community by completing this sentence:

Semiahmoo House Society has made a difference in my ________________________ by ______________________________________________________________.

For example, Semiahmoo House has made a difference in my community by developing Chorus, an inclusive apartment building that has supported 20 people with disabilities to have their own homes .

  • Post your message and a picture on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, making sure to include @SemiahmooHouse and #givingtuesdayCA in your message.
  • Share your post with your friends and encourage them to share and post as well

On November 29, Semiahmoo House Society will compile your messages and share them with all our supporters.

Click here to see our GivingTuesday live profile.

My Dreams

shab-and-people

My dreams are indicators of what I think my purpose in life is. They may not be so obvious to some people, but remember they are My Dreams. I may have a variety of dreams such as to help others pursue towards a certain career, to bring up wonderful children who will become great individuals, to build a successful business in a particular market that I am passionate about, to find love and a soul mate to share my life and my dreams with and many, many more….

Dreams are very personal and you may have more than one dream in life of course. It is a revealing exercise to think about your dreams. I am sure many of us have never tried to take a step back to write a list of dreams. To value them can be a very enlightening experience itself!  (Don’t be hesitant; it’s always helpful to have a journal). Now, when you take a look at your list of life dreams, you can see how to learn and grow in a common manner because you are exploring your own life – it’s all about what matters to you!

Working to make a dream come true for any of the ones listed, means I have to learn and grow. The challenge of acquiring knowledge to plan, to act and to accomplish and the outcome of growing through the experiences, of accepting to move forward in your path are inherent to making my dreams come true.

This applies to any dream! No matter what your dream may be, you will have to learn and grow to reach your objectives. Otherwise, the dream wouldn’t really be a dream. If you had nothing to learn and nowhere to grow, wouldn’t your dream already be a reality? Wouldn’t it be absolutely boring to have nothing else to strive for?

So no matter what your dreams are, your basic life purpose will be to learn and grow. This is an incredibly important concept to understand because it breaks down your big dream (and your possibly overwhelming list of dreams) into a various small attainable dreams. The purpose to learn and grow will come so naturally to you when you embrace it….

By Shabnam Khan – Personal Development Worker at Semiahmoo House Society                 s.khan@shsbc.ca 

Semiahmoo House Society, a non-profit organization located in Surrey/White Rock, exists to provide quality services and supports to people with disabilities and their families in the community. The Semiahmoo Foundation exists to fund, support and enhance the programs and services delivered by Semiahmoo House Society.

 

Thank You in all the Languages that We Speak

volunteers-cropped

People come and go through our doors at Semiahmoo House Society and each leave their particular mark.  Some are bold and intense, some are questioning, some are timid, some are sure and independent.  All are welcome.  All are needed.  All are encouraged.

In the midst of this coming and going are those like myself who love to be with people, who love to share and who love to be counted upon.  The staff at Semiahmoo House are probably some of the best people that I have known over the years.  And when I say staff, I mean those who make support a meaningful part in their lives – this will include valued paid employees and valued unpaid employees – our volunteers.

This year, as in others, we have lovely and steady volunteers who make a difference in the lives of many people who call Semiahmoo House Society their home base.  Some people in their homes are having their lives increased by someone – now a friend – who just comes and spends good times with them.  There are those wonderful students who bring delight to people coming for a great day in Rec & Leisure.  There are men and women in the Day Programmes who look forward to those so dependable people, who have indeed become friends, spending time each week to share experiences and teach and guide alongside the full-time staff.

And there at the Reception desk you will often find the welcoming and generous volunteers who help with the literal coming and going of the rest of us.  Our Acquired Brain Injuries and Employment Training and Support Services love to have volunteers in support of the good folks who go there as well, and often it is the case that volunteers want also to serve and support in these excellent settings.  We have had very good volunteers as well giving and giving in our Day Care and look forward to more being available as this year unfolds.

I must not forget also the happy volunteers who assist when it comes to Fundraising – they bring great enthusiasm to these critical projects.  Last, and most certainly not least, we are all so grateful for the men and women of our Board of Directors who give hours and hours of service on behalf of all of us at this good agency we call home.

Can we say that we love you?  We certainly love what you do and how much you give of yourselves, dear volunteers.

Thank you in all the languages that we speak.

By: Dorothy Gurney, our wonderful Volunteer Coordinator, a volunteer herself. Thank you Dorothy for all you do.

Semiahmoo House Society, a non-profit organization located in Surrey/White Rock, exists to provide quality services and supports to people with disabilities and their families in the community. The Semiahmoo Foundation exists to fund, support and enhance the programs and services delivered by Semiahmoo House Society.

Meaningful Connections Contribute to Health. How?

Picnic

The idea that humans are social beings may be hackneyed, but it still has validity. We rely on social systems, either externally organized or personally designed, to live a good life which by one definition means to experience health, wealth, security, socialization, personal growth and service.

From childhood to adulthood, we navigate various phases of our existence. We grow up within a family unit; we go away to university and live on campus with other students; we get jobs and interact with co-workers and we find love and start families of our own—although not necessarily in that order. All the while, we are mostly surrounded by people and have many opportunities for social connections, some of them very deep.

Then, we get older and life changes. For many of us, it’s a time to enjoy a second youth, explore the world or dote on our expanding families. For others, it’s a juncture that offers a different reality orchestrated by a string of unfortunate circumstances such as declining health, scarce financial resources and the loss of a loving partner.

Regardless of our situation, life can take twists and turns where we suddenly find ourselves socially disconnected and isolated. While we may grow used to living alone and enjoy our own company, there are many reasons to create and maintain meaningful connections.

Meaningful connections may be defined differently by different people depending on temperament and personal needs. However, meaningful connections generally entail supportive, positive, respectful, honest, interdependent and compassionate relationships with other people. These connections are healthy, reciprocal and rewarding. They contribute to our holistic wellbeing and sense of worth, positively impacting all aspects of our existence in a variety of contexts.

On the other hand, meaningful connections should not induce guilt, indebtedness, loss of control, feelings of inadequacy, dependence or lack of autonomy as these sentiments, if sustained, are detrimental to a good life. In this case, it would be beneficial to redirect these types of relationships in the way of good communications or to even abandon them in the face of continued disharmony.

The extent of social connection we need depends on each individual. Some people need a lot of social interaction, while others are happy to stay home alone and read a book. The key is to ensure that we do not become isolated because social isolation can contribute to deteriorating physical and mental health and open the door for abuse.

It is well documented that the more isolated we are, the more susceptible we are to become the target of abuse and the more abuse we sustain the more isolated we become. This may seem like an oxymoron as for abuse to prevail, an isolated person needs to enter into a relationship with the abuser. But for abusive personalities such as fraudsters, isolation is the ultimate condition to achieve their desired outcome and they will find opportunities to connect with the isolated person. By staying connected to our social networks, we can create circumstances where we can confide in and tell our story to people we trust. In sharing this way, we can get help for ourselves as well as help others.

Meaningful connections can be achieved through many types of linkages including family ties, close friendships, spiritual affiliations and professional supports. Given that people in our lives tend to come and go and that we cannot realistically expect one person to fulfill all of our human needs, it’s important to keep our social networks emergent and thriving by continually reaching out to existing relationships and creating new ones.

We don’t have to be social butterflies to develop meaningful connections. All we have to do is to stay connected by going for a walk, saying hi to people, visiting the library, taking classes, volunteering or going for coffee. Another way to stay connected is to keep track of what’s going on in the community by checking out the announcements in the newspaper and making a point to attend some of the events. For people with mobility issues, it may be more difficult, but they could connect by telephone, converse by email, safely participate in social media, invite friends and family over for a visit or try to get out whenever possible.

Breaking isolation and developing meaningful relationships contribute to improved quality of life through better health, disease prevention and longer life expectancy. It takes work, but it is well worth it. So, go out there and smile at someone.

By Louise Tremblay, The Semiahmoo Foundation

Semiahmoo House Society, a non-profit organization located in Surrey/White Rock, exists to provide quality services and supports to people with disabilities and their families in the community. 

The Semiahmoo Foundation, located in Surrey/White Rock, exists to fund, support and enhance the programs and services delivered by Semiahmoo House Society.

This article appeared first in the Peace Arch News, edition of August 31, 2016.