TWURise: Building a Community—With or Without Blundstones
No, I do not fit into your mould, nor your aesthetic. No, I will not be buying a pair of Blundstones to fit over my cumbersome and often painful leg brace. Similarly, neither is seeming like I have it all together, because I don’t. But I am here. I am here and so are many others, and together we are just waiting for someone to tell them, “It’s okay to not be okay.” Suffering is not something that can just be whisked away. Pain is not something that ceases to exist. For those of us who are different, it creeps up on us when we least expect it. It hides in the shadows until one day, just when we think everything will be okay, it hits us. And then, everything is not okay. Some days your world just falls apart, and there’s nothing you can do about it.
While we recognize that there is nothing we can do about the inevitable bad days, TWURise has stepped up to tell students the truth they need to hear. We have only begun to put a dent in this kind of change. But, we could not be more thankful for and in need of everyone’s continued support. Thus far, we have been amazed by the students and staff who have reached out to us.
At our launch event, Bob Kuhn spoke about his own experiences with his exceptionality. He shared his phenomenal journey and expressed how difficult, yet necessary, it is for a person with an exceptionality to find a niche that allows them to succeed and serve. Over the past few weeks since the event, representatives from TWURise have met with several staff members from different departments to implement meaningful change. We are hoping to have catalyzed a greater awareness of the needs of students with exceptionalities through the personal connections, conversations with administration, and advocacy on social media. We are hoping to use the momentum gathered by this awareness to implement some of our bolder goals: support groups, workshops and specialized training for student leaders, and structural changes to the Learning Commons. President Kuhn
These partnerships are exciting in light of our mandate to build community. Our primary goal for students with exceptionalities is to administer community with each other through support groups and access to resources to advocate for themselves. Secondly, I want professors, staff, and students to be more informed about the way we speak to each other and students with exceptionalities. TWURise wants all of us to be more informed on how we can respond to the needs of students with exceptionalities.
It is going to take work that will start out as a series of small steps. But, in time, if we change the way we treat and view each other, we can eventually change the way we treat and view ourselves. As students with exceptionalities are blessed by cultures of acceptance and respect, they will be empowered to assume positions of leadership and service in our community. We must be intentional with our understanding and with our words; and as a school, intentional with what we make available for students with exceptionalities.
TWURise is overjoyed to have played a part in bringing this conversation to the forefront, thus far and we are also looking forward to the changes that all of us can make moving forward. We have the privilege of partnering with all of you to rise to a new level of inclusion and hospitality that possibly, Trinity Western has never seen before. Our campus is equipped with Christian leaders and followers of Jesus who are capable of catalyzing change, we just have to be ready for it to happen. Be prepared to welcome students with all exceptionalities and from all walks of life with open arms, our campus is preparing itself to be a space that upholds the love that Jesus calls us to—the highest of standards.