Friday, November 9, 2012

Flash Mobs, Cabbage & Serenades

When you bring together a unique group of individuals that bring their unique personalities, you never know what you can expect.  From the staff to those we serve here on Wendell Foster’s Campus (WFC), we know how to keep life fun and interesting.  One can always find juicy experiences that break up the monotony of work.

One pretty spring day, a little staff birdie pops into my office to alert me to a photo op in front of the building.  I find Josh holding a long yellow plastic pole cover while Ronnie, a maintenance staff member works on the actual pole it covers.  Josh seemed happy as a lark to be helping Ronnie out, grinning from ear to ear.  He also enjoyed the ribbing Mark gave him about supervising Ronnie’s handiwork.  Josh loved the attention and appreciated helping out on Campus when he can.

Occasionally, I will take a break to roam the Campus and see what is going on, always armed with my camera.  One day I wandered into the Green Therapy Pavilion (CORF) where music was blaring from the open work area.  Upon further investigation, I found twenty or more people participating in a Friday Flash Mob!  Therapists, therapy assistants, DSP’s, outpatients, and residents were dancing to a Wii dance video! Evidently, CORF has these dance flash mobs every Friday at 2 p.m. as a way to celebrate the week’s end.  In fact, several residents look forward to them, making sure they are there before it starts.  The following week I returned with video camera in hand to catch the action.  What a fun way to end the week!
Then, there was John’s cabbage harvest. Cottage C planted a raised-garden box this summer in which they grew watermelon, tomatoes and cabbage. John, a Cottage C resident, loves coleslaw, so staff earmarked the cabbage “crop” for John. After watching and nurturing its produce to maturity, the time came for harvesting. With a little help, John cut the first cabbage head of the season, then took it from the garden to the kitchen to ensure it transformed into creamy coleslaw, which he did with a little help from Stacy, his Direct Support Professional (DSP). John enjoyed the fruit of his efforts, literally from start (seed) to finish (dining on coleslaw!). 

One morning, I heard someone in the hallway loudly singing out, “An-jay!”  Rather unusual from the usual morning hall noise, I grabbed my cameras and followed the musical sound to investigate.  Upon entering the break area, I find Joey (photographed here with his "muse," Angie) sitting in his wheelchair near a table where three staff members sat, notably one named Angie.  Joey continued his serenade, calling out Angie’s name similar to how Romeo would call out Juliet’s, minus the romantic pining tone.  Evidently, Joey was expressing his fondness for Angie by “pestering” her, much as a little brother would his sister.  It was working, and Joey knew it because Angie was red with embarrassment at the attention and laughing, which only fueled Joey’s serenade more.  When I turned on the video camera to capture the scene, this Adam Sandler fan stopped, looked into the camera and launched into an introduction, announcing who he was, where he was, and what he was doing before relentlessly resuming his loving harassment of Angie.  What a spectacle!  Everyone in the break area was cracking up, and Joey loved it.  When a different staff member moved through the area, Joey switched up his serenade to use their name:  “Angie! Angie!  Richie!  Anna!  Angie!”  This young man beamed with joy and amusement as he won his audience’s favor with his entertaining antics.

These are only but a few of the many gold nuggets found here on WFC.  Amazingly, many still believe this is a gloom and doom kind of place, a “sad place” as one person once said to me.  Wendell Foster’s Campus is anything but sad!  Sometimes upon meeting our folks, people struggle to get past the physical appearances that cerebral palsy causes in their bodies; but with a willingness to look beyond the surface, anyone can come to know their unique and beautiful personalities. Our staff works hard to serve those who live on our Campus.  Just with any job, there are up and down days, but we become an active part of our Campus members’ lives, and vice versa. 
Many say we are a blessing to the individuals we serve with developmental disabilities.  Quite honestly, I believe we the staff are the ones truly blessed by their presence in our lives.

In the Next Blog Entry:  Improvise.  Adapt.  Overcome. - "Another teacher of students with special needs shared this amazing story . . . . . "ironically, right before the show started, several 8th grade students sitting behind us made a derogatory comment about my students who were sitting in wheelchairs. . . . ."

We want to hear from you! Please share your responses and comments by clicking below on “Comment” – you may post them anonymously or using your profile name.
“The educated do not share a common body of information, but a common state of mind.” ~Mason Cooley
Please share our blog with others via Facebook, Twitter, or email! Follow our blog! Click on “Join our Site” below.

Blog content is copyrighted property of Wendell Foster’s Campus for Development Disabilities and Carolyn Smith Ferber and/or other blog authors). Content may be used, duplicated or reprinted only with the expressed authorization of the Wendell Foster’s Campus. Permission for use, duplication or reprints may be made to

No comments:

Post a Comment