When staff at the BCFR supported living site 3706 asked if anyone would like to attend a powwow, Grea, C-J, Louise and Robert jumped at the opportunity.
On Memorial Day weekend, the four friends and Mimi Martinez, a Teacher Counselor at BCFR attended the 5th annual “For the People Powwow” at the Boone County Fairgrounds. The event, which was sponsored by The Society for the Preservation of Traditional Values, was held to help raise money for the annual Oklahoma Sun Dance Ceremony.
For the clients or BCFR, the powwow was a whole new world to explore.
“We try to present clients with a wide range of activities and different opportunities to interact with different cultures,” said Melissa McBroom, a BCFR Site Supervisor.
Grea, 42, who likes to joke with staff and socialize with her neighbors, was right at home with the music and dancing. A longtime resident of supported living, Grea has been receiving services from BCFR since 1989.
C-J, 49, another longtime BCFR client who began receiving services in 1983, was enamored with the drumming. While listening, she stood up and imitated the drummers. Like her friend Grea, C-J is a bit of a jokester.
“She’s always pulling jokes on staff. She loves to come into my office and turn off the lights or, if I’m not in there, she will turn my chair around so it is facing the wall,” Melissa said.
Robert, 46, who began receiving services from BCFR in 1989, was so taken by the event he joined in the dancing.
Like friends, Louise, 52, is a longtime client, receiving services since 1985. While she enjoyed the music and dancing, it was the funnel cake that captured Louise’s attention. She concentrated on eating while the others watched the dancing. Melissa said, Louise knows what she likes and isn’t afraid to express it. She also has a special way of putting a twist on names she has learned.
“Like the way she says ‘Kendall’ is ‘Keno,’ but you have to hear her say it,” Melissa said.
An experience such as the powwow provides clients an opportunity to explore a new culture, but it also offers the community a chance to interact with people with developmental disabilities – and that has benefit beyond measure.
“We want our clients to be active in the community, and we want people to feel comfortable interacting with them,” Melissa said. “Our clients are some of the most awesome people I know. They have changed my life, and I am blessed because of that.”
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