Some New Adventures: ♪ Movin' on up! ♫ and Save the BASE!

in community •  last year  (edited)

♪ Movin' on up! ♫


Things have been pretty busy lately for ol' @veckinon. Earlier in the week, my partner Kim and I bought a new home. It is another mobile home, but a much more spacious and newer mobile than the tiny old '69 New Moon we currently live in. She may have been old and ugly, but that little trailer served us pretty well and helped keep things affordable while Kim was going through grad school. But, now that she is done and has a new job, it is time to move on. And that means time to start packing...


boxes.jpg


But enough about all of that...


New Volunteer Gig at BASE


There is an amazing all-abilities/all-ages community center here in my city. It provides a wide range of outstanding free courses and activities for everyone regardless of their level of physical or mental ability. Some of the programming includes stand-up comedy and improv classes, all-abilities yoga, adaptive gaming, art classes, and more. I have followed them on social media for a while and a few weeks ago decided to finally go and check out one of their events. It was amazing. Disability has had an indescribable impact on my life. Of my parents four children, three of them (myself included) ended up with severe mental or physical disabilities. Through all my experiences dealing with disability, I have never seen anything like this. It is quite rare when something that claims to be all-inclusive actually is. I don't even know how to explain the difference that little things can make in someone's life. Things like simply being able to play a video game with a friend for the first time or get up on a stage with your peers and perform. For many people with severe limitations, such activities never happen, but when they do, they really have a positive effect on people's lives.



Watch This Video!!


As amazing as my first BASE experience was it was accompanied by some really disappointing news. At the end of the event, one of the organizers announced that BASE had lost a significant source of funding and was at risk of closing. BASE is a program that was sponsored by a local independent living center called Summit ILC (an indepependent living center is a place set up to help assist people with disabilities that is partially funded through the health department). Due to recent cuts to the health department and to independent living centers, Summit had to drop all of its funding for BASE, leaving the community centers future in limbo.

I couldn't believe it. After seeing something so extraordinary. A service I had never really seen provided for people with disabilities that was really improving peoples confidence, self-esteem, and even their lives. And then just like that hearing that it may no longer exist; it was fucking sad. Terribly fucking sad. I don't even know how to describe how it felt.

But, the organizers and participants at BASE were not to be deterred. They also announced that they would be holding fundraising events and seeking out other funding sources and alliances with other community centers in an effort to survive and to continue to provide their services.

At first I donated what I could and I asked what more I could do. Last week I was asked to join their fundraising team. The effort has raised over 16,000 dollars of a 50,000 dollar goal in the last month, with one more month and a week of fundraising to go. This will keep the center open for a year. Thus far, the fundraising has come from local events and an Indiegogo campaign.

A local art community center is in the process of constructing a new building and has offered to provide space for BASE which would greatly reduce the operating expenses, but that is still quite a ways off and BASE is not sure how to survive in the meantime.

My goal, along with a large group of volunteers primarily made up of people who utilize BASE's services, is to try and personally raise $2,000 dollars for the organization before the fundraising deadline of July 15th. I am also acting as a support person for a group of five volunteers. Many of the volunteers are less able-bodied than I am, so if they need me for errands pertinent to their fundraising, I will also help them to the best of my ability.

I know this is probably a long shot, but if anyone out there has a few bucks burning a hole in your pocket, or maybe you happen to be someone with a few hundred dollars burning a hole in your pocket (a little wishful thinking never hurt anyone, right?) , and you are looking for something great to support, consider making a donation to BASE.

It seems I have heard people comment countless times through my life about how many of the services offered by the government could be provided more effectively through charity. In my experience and the experience of many chronically ill and disabled people, that charity never actually happens, at least not on a meaningful scale and not still tainted by politics. Of course, I would love people to prove me wrong on this and see this service saved.

If you would like to donate to save BASE, just follow this link. It would really mean a lot if you could...
https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/save-the-base-yoga-community#/
Tell them Colin sent you.


Thanks for reading, everyone. Stay outta trouble. Don't kill anyone.
@veckinon

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It seems I have heard people comment countless times through my life about how many of the services offered by the government could be provided more effectively through charity. In my experience and the experience of many chronically ill and disabled people, that charity never actually happens, at least not on a meaningful scale and not still tainted by politics. Of course, I would love people to prove me wrong on this and see this service saved.

This is one of the best responses / explanations of this point I have ever seen. I have never been able to really reply to that statement. I truly truly like the idea of private entities being charitable and helping people, but if it could be done better, then why arent they just already stepping up and doing it better right now? My own times of need in my life have shown me time and time again that there just isnt adequate... well.. ANYTHING. I would just love to see anyone who thinks they have the solution to just go ahead and start implementing it because i dont care where it comes from, it would just be nice if services like BASE , or other types of community centers could exist in an easier way.

  ·  last year (edited)

I truly truly like the idea of private entities being charitable and helping people, but if it could be done better, then why arent they just already stepping up and doing it better right now?

Exactly! There is nothing about our current system that is preventing people from replacing government aid with charity. In fact, our system attempts to incentivise charity. If you look at how disabled people were treated before government intervention, most were institutionalized, abused and denied proper healthcare because the general public wasn't willing to put the effort into ensuring we were part of society. Even with government intervention and the passage of laws requiring equal rights and opportunity to people with disabilities, many still aren't.

Charity providing better services than government programs has been proven to be a fallacy time and time again, because even in good economic times, most people are not very charitable. And when they are charitable, they tend to give their money to the big charities that absorb much of the money into their "operating expenses" instead of actually doing the charitable work.

Indeed. Charity has become big business.

I have often wondered what prevents people from being charitable. If it is a lack of empathy or maybe ignorance of the problems facing their neighbors, or if people think it wouldn't make a difference. I don't know. I am sure there are many reasons.

Given the multiple health problems encountered in my family, we have relied on the kindness of others to get by on more than one occasion, while waiting for more longterm solutions and you grow to appreciate that. Consequently, I try to give at least 15 dollars a month (though I have given a lot more to BASE since their fundraiser stated). I know it is not much, and given my financial situation, it is all I can usually do without actually putting it on a credit card. However, I also know that a little bit can really make a big difference. Especially if you have a lot of people giving.

  ·  last year (edited)

I don't have an issue with government providing services. Government is, after all, us. And people who require modification of environment, are us too. Government is an organized way for a community to provide for its own. Government provides libraries, schools and mass transportation. Not everyone uses those, but they are appropriate government services. A community comes together and provides. I don't know why we see people who need modification of environment as a separate category.

I had a profoundly disabled brother--I mean really profoundly disabled. He was no different from the rest of us, he just couldn't do stuff we could do. I hope we don't separate people by what they can do. There's so much you can do that I can't. You can draw, play music, be witty. You garden and join in community activities. Maybe I can do stuff that you can't. These differences don't separate us into a hierarchy. We're just different. We both have value.

You can see I feel strongly about this. Of course my brother influences me. But I hope I would have had the intelligence to see this issue clearly if I had never known him.

I could not agree with you more. I also have no problem with government providing services, though I regularly encounter many people in my home state of Montana and on this platform who disagree. It is frustrating. My final comment was admittedly a bit of a dig at those people. Charity does not keep me alive--although it has admittedly paid my rent on a couple of occasions--medicaid and medicare keep me alive. My medical bills regularly exceed a quarter of a million dollars a year. I am simply not popular enough to receive that kind of charity.

What I really love about this place is that it is truly an all-abilities community center. There is no segregation and they make every effort to adapt all activities so that nearly everyone can participate. For some of the participants, they have never experienced that before.

People are quick to forget that accessibility and inclusivity for people with disabilities is still a pretty new concept. The ADA is younger than I am, being passed in 1990. And it had to be passed because people with disabilities were being treated like animals in institutions (and not in a "hey I just want to cuddle you and take care of you sort of way). Despite its passage, there are still constant attacks and attempts to weaken the law I know multiple people who spent most of their lives institutionalized before its passage. Some people still are unnecessarily institutionalized, depending on what they can get covered in their state.

You can draw, play music, be witty. You garden and join in community activities.

Luckily I am at kind of a peak currently as far as my health is concerned. The past two years have been the best I have seen in quite some time. I also have a very supportive partner that is willing to make things a possibility for me that might not be otherwise (such as the gardening). I am currently cherishing this time, but to be honest I am absolutely terrified that it isn't going to last. It usually doesn't. I don't mean to come across pessimistic, that is just kind of the boat that I am in (I am sure you can relate in ways). But, enjoy it while you got it, right?

As far as the wittiness goes, you have had a couple of moments in our conversation. Keep working on it.

This topic, in general, brings up so many thoughts and feelings for me that I could keep typing forever about different aspects of it. But, I am supposed to be helping pack, so I should probably cut myself off. Thanks for commenting and sharing with me. Best wishes.

I know your young life has been profoundly influenced by medical issues. That's rotten luck, and scary. All those services you received, you're entitled to them. There should be no Medicaid. Shouldn't be a separate way of paying for necessary care. It should be a unified system that covers everyone, like Medicare, except better. Because under Medicare, people can still be impoverished by medical bills.
Enjoy the sun, enjoy the good days. May they last, and last.
All the best to you.

There should be no Medicaid. Shouldn't be a separate way of paying for necessary care. It should be a unified system that covers everyone, like Medicare, except better. Because under Medicare, people can still be impoverished by medical bills.

Agreed. In fact, the only reason I am on Medicaid is because Medicare is insufficient for my medical needs. Unfortunately, in order to receive Medicaid when you are on SSDI in my state, you must stay at about half of the federal poverty level (around $645 a month) and are not allowed to have more than $2000 dollars in total assets at any given time. My SSDI income is greater than $645, so I have to pay the difference back each month. I am basically agreeing to live in poverty in order to save my health and credit from being destroyed by unreasonable medical bills.

Kim and I cannot marry without jeopardizing either my healthcare or her income. Technically, the way my states law is written, if we present ourselves as an (unmarried) couple in public, buy each other any type of ring, or have a joint bank account, she is supposed to be penalized as if she were my legal spouse.

And getting a 'real' job is kind of pointless. I would have to forfeit all my earnings to the state to remain adequately insured. It is a fucking mess. And a frustrating one at that. Yet somehow it is still ever so slightly better than how things were when I was not on Medicaid; living in a constant state of financial insolvency and not knowing what care I would be able to receive. It's the ol' Medicaid poverty trap at play. There is a whole host of other problems with most states Medicaid laws that contribute to the cycle of poverty. I once gave a presentation on the subject to a local nonprofit group that was examining forms of institutionalized oppression.

If I could get by on just being on Medicare (or some other form of healthcare that didn't require you constantly being able to work), Kim and I could marry (or at least stop pretending I am her tenant), I could work legally as I was able; it would almost be like I was a normal person! Haha.

Sorry. I am just kind of venting/ranting now. I need to stop myself. I told you I could go on and on about this stuff. Haha.

Good night, friend.

Not a rant--the truth. There's always a place for that.
Be well.