Change Making in a new Community

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Each time that I move I have to build relationships in order to become part of a community. Since living in both India and Nepal for seven years this has become easier as I met people from many different cultures. I enjoy meeting new people and also connecting them to others. But not staying in any one community for a lengthy period of time prevents me from really digging in deeply. Or does it?

From my last Himalayan Times column (9/1), “Coming Home,” you may remember that I was in the process of moving back to my birth state of California. I’ve been back about three weeks now, spending time with family and friends, starting a new job at Desert Ability Center (DAC), and awaiting my fiancé to join me here as we begin our new life together.

My role at the Desert Ability Center in the Coachella Valley in California is wide open. Although my official title is Director of Programs, which means, among other  things  that I will develop adapted sports opportunities for persons with disability, on my Facebook page I’ve listed my title as Change Maker/Lover of Life.

My initial project is working with the Director of DAC, Judy May, on the 8th annual Ability Festival, a one-day event featuring a plethora of adapted sports opportunities for the community. Since DAC is the only adapted sports organization for people with disability in the Valley, the goals of the Festival include exposing the public to adapted sports, dis(covering)ability, recruiting new athletes, and bringing like- minded community organizations together.

During my first week on the job I spent most of my time sending emails and calling people about participating as coaches, finding food vendors, and talking to potential exhibitors. I also called athletes to set up a meeting to discuss the various sports that we offer and the goals that we want to set for our programs.

The more that I talk to others, the more I feel that I can help them accomplish their dreams. The list of adapted sports is huge and I look forward to the challenges offered, including attracting more athletes.

When I abruptly left Tucson, Arizona in December 2017, due to my mother’s illness, I left behind an adapted sports NGO which I helped to found. I’ve always liked building organizations, having had experience with this throughout my life. Although I left the Tucson community after only 14 months, I’ve found another adapted sports organization that I’m able to help build community  We are working towards raising awareness about the abilities of people with disability, creating opportunities that increase their engagement and improving the quality of life for all.

In being a change maker, I need to be open to possibilities by not limiting myself or letting others put me in a box. I have to network to get to know people and to understand what others are thinking, what they’ve accomplished, and what is important to them.

Over the last decade my environment has been constantly changing but wherever I go in the world I will do my utmost to be a positive change-maker and even more important, a lover of life.

Position: Lover of Life-Change Agent

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