We Come Bearing Gifts: The story of the Deohaeko Support Network (1996)
This book tells the story of the Deohaeko support network. At the heart of Deohaeko is the belief that people who have never been able to have homes of their own, will actually live in their own homes in a community with other people who will welcome them.
Rougemount Co-operative Homes, Inc. is a 105-unit co-operative housing apartment building which was designed and built by the founding families of the Deohaeko support network. This is not a disability residential facility, but rather a community which includes some members who live with disability and many who do not. This book tells the story of how Deohaeko has assisted residents of Rougemount to foster a spirit of mutual neighbourhood support – the principle upon which this co-operative was established.
In the words of the Deohaeko network itself:
“If Rougemount is about where people have chosen to live, then Deohaeko Support Network is about how they live their lives. We are a group of families who come together to think about and plan for ways that our sons and daughters might live good, full, and contributing lives at the heart of their co-operative and larger community.
We are not a service model, not an agency. Board members are family members. Paid Supporters work for each family separately. Each person’s life is very unique and is supported as an individual. Families help their sons and daughters hire their own Supporters, plan their own schedules, and remain in control of their lives.
Our story is not about the co-operative, although this is a very nice place to live. It is about the capacity of families to be creative and innovative, to have a vision and follow it through.”
This is their story, as told by Janet Klees, the founding co-ordinator.
The themes of this book include:
- A community which strives to be thoughtful about welcoming and including all of its members,
- Which allows for the contribution and recognition of the gifts and talents of all of its members;
- And a way of life that involves relationship and commitment to others based on valuing gifts and similarities over deficits and differences.
- People who are paid to offer assistance or support of some kind to an individual
- People who provide assistance or support to an individual on an informal, unpaid basis.
- Natural support may be arranged by asking but is freely and willingly given.
- When people find the wonder and beauty in one another;
- May develop in a paid support arrangement but more likely to blossom outside of that arrangement and with others in mutual and equal circumstances;
- May grow to include providing significant level of support to the individual;
- The opportunity for relationship-building may be offered, but the growth of relationship between two people is spontaneous and personal.