A Message of Unity and Commitment from Tony

As we start a new year and begin to work through our resolutions, we invite you to join us on this journey as we collectively ask ourselves: How through these challenges that we have, through the world of disability or the greater world at large, make us a better person? And as we strive to become a better person, how can we help other people to do the same. In times of uncertainty, Tony reflects on drawing upon values of commitment, integrity, caring about people, diversity, and collaboration to be his compass.


SPEAKERS: Tony Delisle

Tony Delisle  00:00

Hello everyone, and welcome to another episode where in we’re going to take some stock, at least I am, on where we’ve been where we are and where we’re going. It is January 28, 2021. And there is so much going on in the world at large, and in the world of disability, in the world of independent living, all of us are going through very shared experiences right now. And this is, I think, a really good time to, perhaps, for me to share some thoughts about it. A lot of things come to mind, especially this time of year where I think it’s very typical people, you know, look to this is a time of renewal. And looking forward, for some clarity. This is a time where people make resolutions to make changes in their life where they can become a better version of themselves. And it’s well known that many resolutions don’t stick, that people go back on them for whatever reason, and it’s very challenging. One of the things on this journey that I am seeking and invite others who are listening to go along is how through these challenges that we have, whether it’s in the world of disability, or if it’s in the world of disability in the greater world at large that we’re in right now, in a way that makes us a better person. And in through becoming a better person, how can we help other people do the same thing. And so in this time of looking forward, and where the times are very uncertain, I definitely draw upon values to help build and be my compass and our organization, the Center for Independent Living North Central Florida has done similar work on itself. And when I look at those values, which our commitment, integrity, caring about people, diversity, collaboration, I don’t know where exactly the situations that are going to be and unfold in 2021 confident to say there, there are going to be challenges that are going to really test us. But when I look at these values, it makes it a lot easier for me to meet these uncertain times, with a sense of confidence, and a sense of clarity, that clarity that I am seeking to have every day, but especially now in a new year. Looking forward. Having clarity during uncertain times. Sounds like a paradox. But I do believe it is a reality. If we have these core values to matter what’s going on in the external situation, that these values can be a really important compass for us to say the right things and do the right things that are needed to help us be a better version of ourselves, and how we can be a contributing member to the society in the world that we live in. In this podcast, we’re going to be introducing to you and have introduced you to several people that deliver important services to improve and empower people with disabilities to live independently. We really find that this is a very important part of the podcast that we really want people to get connected more to independent living services, not just at our center, but in all centers. In the state of Florida. There’s a center that serves you, no matter where you live in the country, we have centers throughout the country. And we really want to make sure that people are aware of these services, and how they can benefit them to live the independent life. We’re also diving into many of the different complex issues that impact people with disabilities. We’ve already talked about intersectionality, we talked about the legislation and policies that are involved around with disabilities. And we’re going to be talking a lot about how the COVID pandemic impacted people with disabilities, health, transportation, housing, employment, education. There are a lot of complex issues and forces that are out there. And we are going to be unpacking these things, to better understand them and to also do better in these areas. Along the way, we’re going to be really diving into the values that it really takes to be able to make the change that we want to see within ourselves and within the world. And we’re going to do this by really talking to a lot of different people from different backgrounds that can offer up their wisdoms to us so that we can be the better version of ourselves and that we can, you know, help one another more than ever we need to be united during these times. And disability is that space where I fully believe that we can make that impact. I’ve been witness to our organization making many different changes throughout this year. We’ve been tested in many ways that were unforeseeable and through the adaptability of our organization, largely due to the hard work, skills, determination, heart that our staff has, we’ve been able to adapt and overcome many of the different obstacles that have been thrown in our direction. We’ve been challenged in so many different ways that were unimaginable, because we have met similar challenges and having disabilities and having to learn to work with one another, we’ve been better able to meet these times, I believe, because of it. So we’re going to close with a with a quote that is, I think, really relevant to these times right now, and comes from us from Marcus Aurelius, who talks about adversity is a part of life, bad things, disasters, disabilities, disease, war, conflict, inevitably, are a part of life. And one should not hope and pray that these things do not occur, but rather, that when they do occur, that we have the strength of character, to endure through them. And this really relates, I believe, to his other quote that we started this series out with, which talks about the impediments to our action advances our action, which stands in the way becomes the way, the obstacles are the way. And I believe this, these are the way to be in the better versions of ourselves. Because we are challenged to grow, we are challenged to be better. And we are required to then have the responsibility of helping others who are not in a place right now that we are in to be able to serve others. So I say to you all I hope that we can have a year of unity, have a year where we can collaborate and come together and to meet many of the obstacles that are in a way and in the process, be the best version of ourselves and build a better life for everyone. Thank you and I look forward to continuing our conversations. Onward and upward.