When The Arcadia Institute staff was invited by the Georgia Council for Developmental Disabilities to go to Atlanta and Macon, an important person on our team was Josh Stephens. Josh is a person with a disability who is very involved in our community. He is the Chair of the Regional Interagency Consumer Council and has participated in many volunteer activities. He is also a valuable member of our Building a Community of Belonging Network and participated in training sessions for The Boys and Girls Club of Greater Kalamazoo and the Camp Rota Kiwan Staff this past spring. We recently asked Josh to reflect on his experience in Georgia.
Josh told us that this was his first time to ride in an airplane. He loved it and really enjoyed getting to know the people sitting around him. Everywhere he went he invited people to come visit Kalamazoo.
While in Atlanta, Josh enjoyed visiting CNN and Martin Luther King Memorial at the Ebenezer Baptist Church. He said that it was really meaningful for him to be near the place where Dr. King stood. He was also impressed by the Stone Mountain Monument.
Josh said that his favorite part of being with the people in Atlanta and Macon was to talk to them about the importance of inclusion of people with disabilities. He knows that he made a difference because they told him so. Also, he very much enjoyed greeting people at the door and introducing himself. He made new acquaintances everywhere he went.
Josh is anxious to go back to Georgia someday with his family. He wants them to see the places he saw and meet the people he met. We are sure that Georgia will welcome Josh back with open hearts!