(October 2019 Series, Blog #3)
Muir Woods of Northern California. Amazing beauty. A natural wonder. A refuge for cherished time reflecting, contemplating—and being away from life’s many (electronic!) distractions.
We were among those escaping from the city, enjoying together time and experiencing the many benefits of stepping away from it all. Getting outside of our everyday bubbles for fresh air, fun, learning and perspective is helpful, exhilarating and super constructive. While easier said than done with more things to do than hours in a day, I can attest to its rejuvenating value.
That time in the woods helped me reset and go “all in” at last week’s 1,300-strong International Economic Development Council annual conference in Indianapolis, where I learned more about the creative ways communities and professionals are prioritizing and addressing issues that involve the underserved, underrepresented and an amazing new term for me: underestimated. It also reinforced how important it is to engage “civilians”—those outside of the autism and neurodiversity bubble—so we can hardwire and fully integrate plans into the fabric of communities everywhere.
This week, First Place is hosting its sixth Global Leadership Institute symposium and collaborating with the Autism Housing Network on a think tank involving the Urban Land Institute, National Association of Home Builders, Arizona Multihousing Association, Arizona State University’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy and several others from across the U.S. and around the world. Together, we’ll be getting out of our bubbles to identify how we can continue to fuel a new wave of real estate and community development ensuring that housing and community options are as bountiful for adults with autism and other neurodiversities and they are for everyone else.
These important semiannual symposia are a testament to the fact that so many of us are working hard to change for the better the life course of special populations. We are also committed to changing the world so that others may experience their gifts, talents, kindness and the myriad ways they can and do contribute through pride, purpose and endless possibilities.