Today I went to Point Of Hope in Smyrna, Delaware and I met some amazing people; some of them feeding others, some feeding themselves, some waiting for their lunch until all had eaten. Some were in wheelchairs with large scars on their head and their bodies contorted in ways that would hurt us if we tried to even attempt, but they were still smiling and wanting to make eye contact, and say, “Hello.” Some were using sign language and I was thinking I wished that I had learned to sign but was intrigued that they did it so fluently; their conversation was private or at least I did not know what they were communicating. One who was in a wheel chair, she will never walk and she told us she was getting ready to study for her GED. She stated she had only gone to 4th grade and the reading was hard. She then said there was too much noise in the room but was getting ready to try anyway. There were some suggestions about how to cancel the noise in the room with music, but she did not have any head- phones or device to play music with headphones. One who was so glad to see someone who knew her but she didn’t recall me; her smile and asking me to visit her home was a pleasant and welcome surprise; making me think that I don’t get out enough in my work.
The tour continued in this manner for about 20 minutes to a half an hour and all I could think about was that I wish I had lot money to infuse into this program to help all of these people and more achieve their life dreams or just do whatever it is that makes them happy now. Sometimes I think that’s enough for people but we always want more, bigger, better, and I bet these folks do not think about this concept in the way that I do. They are happy with a new face, a familiar face, a GED book, a small portable DVD player, a lunch they brought in for themselves, and people who care about them enough to be there.
They Show Up daily for the daily contact of people who take time to care. Those people care so much that when they do not want to feed themselves, they will not go hungry; someone will help them without asking why. While many of us have great luxury compared to them, a great many of us get to drive, work, earn degrees, we have music at our fingertips, phones, computers, animals, houses, and the list goes on. The people at Point Of Hope, they are happy with the smaller things in life, the finely tuned simpler things.
Point Of Hope, Inc. is a Day program service for individuals with Cognitive and Intellectual Disabilities; we also call them Developmental Disabilities and Acquired Traumatic Brain Injuries or TBI. What is the difference? The easiest answer starts with a question: At what point in their lives did their disability occur? If it occurred either in their developmental years 1-21 or after it is a developmental disability. A TBI is a head injury that happened from a Traumatic event rendering the individual to start their life over again. That would be someone like me. There are a list of other definitions and criteria but this is the easiest to understand or explain.
They are the only day program in Delaware that I know of that specifically serves people with Acquired Traumatic Brain Injuries. They strive to have a normalized atmosphere in a clubhouse like manner to help people achieve whatever it is that they wish to work on and that could be as complex as concentration or motor skills to learning how to cook spaghetti (but even this could be the most difficult thing to do for someone with a disability). They help people regain skills that they may have had and lost after a head injury or skills that they never had and would like to learn
I applaud Point of Hope for being a family run organization that started with a vision of wanting to help people build skills to wanting to instill them with Hope, Hope for a better tomorrow and life in the future. I also applaud people who wake up every day and SHOW UP for something that keeps them smiling at strangers just for the sake of being able to.