Marci Sharle’s Stories: Ordinary People Making a Positive Difference

One happened just this morning as I was driving my daughter to school. Marena is my 15 year old daughter and we were on our way to school and work, driving slowly on the icy roads after a major over night snow fall that continued through the day today. As we slowed to a real crawl we exclaimed ‘ok what the heck is the problem up there??!!’  It turned out to be a fellow in a Jeep that had spun around half way and hit the curb. He had one tire on the curb and was trying to back up. Both our lanes of traffic stopped and gave him plenty of room to try and back up on his own. It appeared he wasn’t going to get very far as his wheels were spinning. Marena and I watched this unfold, and I said ‘oh someone just needs to give him a little push’ and just like that, a fellow who was walking down the street toward the bus stop began pushing. Soon another fellow joined him and the Jeep was back on the road, heading the correct direction, and everyone was on the move again slowly and carefully. Marena and I cheered and she said to me, ‘Mom, I love Canada!  That was the most Canadian thing I have ever seen!’  This warmed our hearts today – and it was SO simple!!!

The other story I have is from the most recent Facilitation exercise I have been involved with. Our Unit is part of the process design and facilitation of the Alberta PDD Review (persons with developmental disabilities). Meaning that we are going around the province with the Panel (independent people appointed by the Minister) to review the PDD program, listen to stakeholders and draft recommendations for improving the PDD system (engagement sessions are being held all across the province for the month of November and into December; we are talking with service providers, parents/caregivers, government workers and people who are PDD recipients and as such have developmental disabilities. We planned a process that can work for listening to all these groups). Anyhow, the other day while in one of the rural Alberta communities, there was a fellow who receives PDD assistance from the province who attended one of our sessions. He was SO thrilled with the opportunity to share his ideas. He engaged in each and every activity we had designed to make sure that his voice was heard. And his special idea that he emphasized throughout the process was: ‘talk to me. I have ideas. We all need to work together. And people just want their needs to be met.’  There was no more powerful input than that in all the people within the system. This said it all and said everything. From someone who receives the PDD program assistance. Now we just need to make that simple request happen – listen to the people and meet their needs. That’s all. 

About jofacilitator

On Sept 1, 2020, I will celebrate 50 years of work with the Institute of Cultural Affairs, facilitating meetings, groups, communities, and organizations, making it possible for ordinary people to have a voice in decisions that affect their lives.
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