From the Executive Director
The Federation hosts its Annual Visions of Community Conference in early March at the Seaport World Trade Center, and each year some say it was the best ever. Over 900 people attended the conference this past March. Once again, we are dedicating an entire issue of Newsline to capture the highlights and excitement of the day. Those who attended will hopefully enjoy memories of a wonderful day or discover new parts of the conference they missed, while those who were not able to attend will gain some “windows” on this incredible event.
It was an inspiring day that lifted all our spirits. Sometimes the daily challenges that our families face providing supports and overcoming barriers for their children with disabilities can wear us down. Sometimes our home communities, schools, and healthcare organizations are not as welcoming as we might want or need. We need visions of what our communities can become to encourage us, inspire us and strengthen us to continue the journey. And that is the goal of Visions of Community!
For the second time, we included a Youth Leadership Forum, a popular offering which filled up quickly. Presentations were offered simultaneously in 8 languages and in ASL. Expert presenters provided 48 different sessions on essential topics.
This is what people saw, heard and experienced: fantastic energy, great presentations, inspiring keynotes, large numbers of attendees, good spirit, cooperation, youth engagement, happy children, culturally and linguistically diverse families, new faces, families connecting to resources, presenters connecting with families, networking, gratitude. On participant declared, “I had all my questions answered in just one day”.
Indeed, for at least one day, we demonstrated a little reality of Visions of Community – with the hope that brings to each one of us.
Enjoy this special Conference edition of Newsline. May it inspire you to build better community in your own hometown.