Along with Putting People First, another of our core principles is to always be looking to strengthen our communities. This can be done in many ways, such as through our shared living and community connection programs, to name just two. It is our belief that by including all people, communities become stronger.
There is no greater example of this than what has occurred for the last three summers when Living Innovations combines forces with the team from Summer Sessions Surf Shop in Rye, N.H. to offer surfing lessons to the individuals we work with in New Hampshire and southern Maine.
The brainchild of Mary Groebner, an 11-year direct support professional for Living Innovations, and her friend, Lenore Rogers, the goal of these classes is simple: Give anyone who wants to get up – or lie down – on a surfboard and ride the ocean waves an opportunity to do so.
“Our (individuals) are constantly being told no. Or they can’t. Or they won’t do something,” says Mary. “Our reaction is why not? You can do it. You will do it. You are doing it.”
Mary says the surf lessons are well received by everyone who takes part due in large measure to the positivity of Summer Sessions’ Ryan McGill.
“He is just the most positive person,” says Mary. “Ryan and his team make magic happen.”
After the lessons, everyone who took part stays for pizza from Community Oven, in North Hampton, N.H.
Mary says Community Oven’s involvement is also great and another example of Living Innovations fulfilling its principle for being an organization that looks to strengthen all the communities it is involved with.
What follows is a picture essay of how the day went.