Yesterday was a Main Street Connect day of community, and welcome but unexpected connections for me… a day that began with work and business as usual (a blessing!)… and that closed with an on-my-calendar event that immersed me in an unanticipated time-and-space moment — that tangibly (and audibly) brought a purposeful essence of “what was” into a present “wow!” moment of “what is” and “what matters” (a Blessing!)….
MSC is a non-profit that provides opportunities — from affordable and inclusive apartments to community engagement (and so so so much more) — for people with a diverse range of abilities. It was conceived by the Copeland family, whose son Nicol lives with developmental
challenges, and was becoming a young adult who would want (and need) independence, and yet he would also want (and need) a variety of options that would optimize successful independence.
MSC includes folks with developmental or other disabilities and challenges, and it also includes family members, professionals, local leaders, fire and police officers, and other folks who enjoy building and connecting with community. Some members are residents in the Main Street Apartments (25 percent of the units are designated for adults with disabilities) and some members live elsewhere in the community.
MSC is not an assisted living facility or a disability support program. Instead, it is a place and space that offers community programs tending to and supporting the wide variety of interests and needs of a wide variety of folks. All members are encouraged to “bring your own independence” — which means different realities for different people.
I have the privilege of serving on the MSC Board of Directors. And on behalf of Mattie’s Foundation, I partner with the staff and community offering “Mama Peace Chat” programs — from shared meals and conversations to mosaic creations and activities that amplify peace,
purpose, and play — for all.
I have been a Main Street professional member since MSC formally began back in 2020, but my involvement and support and appreciation and love of this community goes back much further…
…my logistic involvement goes back to 2017 when Jillian Copeland (Nicol’s mom) sat at my kitchen island, excitedly sharing a vision for an inclusive housing complex that would include programs that bring diverse abilities together in community, and asking if she had my permission to name the community gathering space “Mattie’s Peace Room”… (wow! thank you! and yes!)…
…my true involvement goes back even further though… it goes all the way back to spring 2001, in an archaic (but competent and caring) pediatric ICU setting when and where a toddler whom Mattie lovingly called “Nicol Pickle” was in the bed space next to my son, and Jillian and Scott (and their immediate and extended family and friends) all quickly became friends and family to Mattie and me — with a sincere and mutual connection of understanding and appreciation and respect, and even love amidst chaotic and difficult life journeys… a time and space now packed away in memories… memories that were born of challenges, but memories that were rooted in a mosaic of purpose, and that have become momentum for “moving forthward” with choice, and positivity, and yes — peace and purpose and play…
Yesterday, I happened to have a program planning meeting with other MSC staff, then decided to stay and participate in a few of the afternoon activities available to members — including a baking session in Poppy Boy’s Kitchen and a music and workout session in Mattie’s Peace Room — all before heading into the “Gratitude On…” holiday season happy hour celebration that was my final calendar entry of the day, and an opportunity to toast to an amazing year with so many incredible and talented and diverse MSC members….
And so there I was last night, watching a now young adult “Nicol Pickle” mix an adult beverage for his old friend… as he filled and handed me my glass, so many of those packed but ever- powerful memories that root momentum in and with purpose, and so much more, unexpectedly filled my mind and my heart, and my spirit…. I looked at Jillian and said — “wow! who woulda thunk 21+ years ago this once little guy would one day be here, with all of us, in this space that celebrates the potential of all people, and that creates and connects community, and that also positively remembers and reflects the very true challenges of so many journeys — toasting with gratitude, to peace and purpose.”
I know for sure that our three-glass “clink” that followed touched my heart in a lovely way, and that it also touched the spirit-heart of an ever-young poet, peacemaker, and philosopher who played, and who continues to touch and teach our world today.