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Review for On-The-Move Community Integration, Portland, OR, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

I have lived in Portland over 10 years and I've never found an organization quite like On-the-Move Community Integration. It is a relief to finally find a place that has an outlook about integration of people with disabilities of any kind as a important part of our community with gifts to give and receive by taking part of everyday activities everywhere - no limitations. I grew up in Maine in a family with a brother with developmental disabilities who gave equally to my world as much or more than he received from it. I worked for years in agencies that provided housing and activity programs for folks like my brother. I was fortunate to work under directors with very progressive and inclusive visions. Then I moved to Portland, Oregon and I worked in the bike industry and I found myself surrounded by a strange cross-section of community that didn't feel complete for me though I loved the bike world. It didn't feel real to me. It didn't feel complete.

My world is not complete when I don't see people with disabilities daily - it starts to feel segregated and odd. When I finally connected with On-the-Move Community Integration to volunteer as a reading tutor, I was so relieved to finally get a sense of the community around me being a real and complete community. I notice this acutely because this is something I was aware of from my birth; however, I think about people who don't realize what is missing in their world. When we don't see people with Down's Syndrome, with mental retardation, with whatever disability, we don't realize that it makes our own world smaller and along with that, the possibilities less. I love to know that I might come across someone I know from On-the-Move volunteering anywhere - planting trees, making waffles, packing food boxes at the Food Bank. Or I might come across a group of folks on a hike, at the zoo, at a concert, or at a sporting event.
On-the-Move is aptly named as the idea is that integration is fluid and entails integrating - being a part of what is going on all around us. I know that I get ideas for activities that would be fun to do by seeing what On-the-Move is up to in Facebook photos, I think I may very well not be unique in that. On-the-Move is a trendsetting, forward-thinking organization and it's fortunate for Portland that we have this organization in our midst. I am grateful and appreciate being involved in this organization.

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Role:  Board Member