Pomegranates by Chanan Mazal

Pomegranates by Chanan Mazal

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Becoming Community ~ "A Better Slice of Life" Documentary



Tonight, I was honoured to attend the inspirational premiere of "A Better Slice of Life" documentary at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema.






The film tells the powerful story of people with disabilities gaining independence and developing practical skills to prepare them for a viable career in the culinary field.


This documentary sheds light on the need for all people to have access to education and hands-on experience to build marketable employment skills. 

Culinary student, Jim Maize, eloquently expressed how this unique program has enabled him "to see colour and the beauty in people."  He speaks candidly about his struggle over the years, having felt left behind.  However, with support in the classes, culinary lab and restaurant practicum, Jim flourished and experienced a true sense of belonging.  In Jim's profound words, the program was "life-changing."

Jim gave me permission to share with all of you that upon graduation he was hired and is now a proud employee at a local restaurant in his own community.



Shannon Buller (Employment Coordinator, Christian Horizons) and Jim Maize (Graduate)  



As I watched the documentary I was deeply moved by the power of true community.

Christian Horizons, Humber College, The Ministry of Community and Social Services and local businesses all worked together with the students and their families for a common purpose.

Everyone was committed to the successful outcome of each and every student.




When a person with a disability receives support they are empowered to achieve their goals and dreams. And when that support is both diverse and multi-faceted, the likelihood of success is significantly enhanced. 

As a community we all impact one another.  Individuals receive support but also have much to offer.

As the student gains independence this contributes to the well being of the entire family.  When employers receive trained and qualified employees then our local businesses will also thrive.

When everyone works together then our communities become stronger.  

We become whole.


Jean Vanier says it best...


We become community when...
"we all exercise our gift to build community."

We become community when.... 

 "people start truly caring for each other and for each other's growth."

 We become community when we...

"break down barriers to welcome difference."

We become community when... 

"there is true belonging" 

~Jean Vanier, Community and Growth


I believe that when we become community, we reflect Jesus.

Jesus is radical because he extends belonging to those on the margins.

Jesus offers dignity, not charity or pity.

As His image bearers, we are called to follow his example.

God, the Creator, calls us to a work of creation.

We are all called to participate in his kingdom work by utilizing the gifts he graciously bestows on us. 

When we contribute, we belong.


Vanier reminds us that...

 "belonging leads to becoming ... we become more fully human."


God's design for humanity, from the very beginning, is rooted in the character of the Triune God which is communal by nature.

We are all created to be in community. 

We are also all created to utilize our gifts for the benefit of community.  This must not exclude anyone!

Our communities will fail to thrive if we fail to make room for the talents and abilities of each and every person.


I give thanks for extraordinary, inspiring women like Irene Moore who had the vision and boldness to dream huge!  I am grateful and honoured to work with her and be along for the ride! 
   

 Irene Moore, Christian Horizons




Thank you to Gina Antonacci and Jo Anne Nugent from Humber College for leading the way to provide access for all people to further their education and skills.

Thank you to Shannon Buller, Mary Lou Kelly and Judith Huh for your passion and faithful dedication that made all this possible.

You have reminded all of us that a community who works together has the power to transform lives!

For more information regarding the Culinary Program check out:

Christian Horizons/ Humber Culinary Program














6 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing. A great evening giving testimony to the hard work and determination of the students and facilitators to make this happen. Thanks to you and Ken for graciously inviting/treating me to dinner with you both. Love BURGER PRIEST. Awesome evening.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was a wonderful evening - thanks for all of your work to make it so successful.

      So glad you were able to join us for burgers...mmmm now I'm dreaming of Burger Priest!!!

      Delete
    2. The documentary was so moving, and the presentation at such an awesome location, so well done! The evening left me with a sense of awe at the accomplishment of the team that brought this program to fruition, and the leadership of the formidable Irene Moore! Even watching the clip again, I am so inspired by the difference you have all made in bringing out people's gifts to the world. Thank you so much.

      Delete
    3. I am so glad you were able to be there and share in this special evening. It is wonderful to have their stories heard. The work that you and Paul have done over the years has led the way and inspired so many of us.

      Delete
  2. Thank you nicole for such a beautiful blog! As I said in my email to you--last night was celebration & laughter--today tears...I'm do honored to be on this journey with such amazing people!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for taking the time to read and share here on the site. Thank you Mary Lou for your passion and gifts that you share every day to make a difference in the lives of those we serve.

      Delete

Rocks Of Remembrance

"When the whole nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua,   “Choose twelve men from among the people, one fr...