Piece by Peace was inspired by the witnessing simultaneously of the brilliance of people with developmental disabilities and systemic devaluing of their community existence. As a direct-care professionals in various settings I worked everyday to empower the abilities of people with autism, Down syndrome, CP, and other developmental diagnosis in a society that makes their unique voices nearly silent. Additionally, I observed myself and my co-workers on the front lines experience burnout and their own versions of feeling unheard in the fight towards responsible advocacy. As a student to yoga and organizational science and participant in many leadership and change making organizations I realized that one major reason the world of developmental disability life and care is disempowered is due to disconnect. Disconnect doesn’t just exist between people with disabilities and the wider society. It exists between people with disabilities and their case managers. It exists between direct-care staff and doctors. It exists between parents and researchers. One thing that often goes amiss is the collective want to make life for people with disabilities better.
Initially, I took on the project of Piece by Peace as a leadership development organization for people who identify as direct-care professionals. I have become very lucky in my expanding learning resources and now have been running a yoga program that I developed for children with mild to significant developmental disorders. It was frustrating to be in a place of being supported in and confident with my skills and to witness many other people with amazing gifts feel disempowered. Eventually, I acknowledged that to show up for just one more training, just one more conversation, just one more resource, is energetically inaccessible when the stress of the job has variations related to adrenal fatigue, middle-powerlessness, little to no agency, and minimal pay that contributes to a 52% turn-over rate. What is needed is witnessing.
Through personal development of my skills as a creative writer and fierce connector-across-boundaries I realized that the power of story can inspire the masses. What I seek to do differently through Piece by Peace is to not separate perspectives according to expected roles. Articles will be written by more than writers and journalists- they will be written by people with disabilities, siblings, coaches, and others. Stories won’t be shared according to their respective perspectives- parents, autistic, researcher- but rather will be shared according to their contribution to interconnectedness. I hope to connect diverse people in a way that makes people realize they need not meet any expectation or ability to be a part of community and makes communities realize they need no special training to connect with people with developmental variances.
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Piece by Peace is building a platform where the whole community surrounding developmental disabilities can connect learn, and foster well-being.
We seek to generate stories that defy expected boundaries that separate the world of disability care.
Through storytelling, our goal is to inspire and empower community movement that unconditionally includes and lifts up people with disabilities.