When Matt and Danielle first moved into their new home in Moline eight months ago, one of the first people who took notice of the new faces in the neighborhood was Joe who lives right next door. He asked, “Do they (previous owners) know you are here?” When Matt and Danielle explained why they were there, Joe relaxed and introductions were made. Says Danielle, “Joe was the first person we met when we moved to Moline.” “It was his way of looking out for his neighbors.”
Both Matt and Danielle are entrepreneurs and run several businesses. As they came to know their new neighborhood and a few of their neighbors, they recognized Joe out front of his house selling his handmade bracelets. They became frequent customers of Joe’s and when Matt wanted a customized bracelet for Danielle, Joe made sure he got upfront payment for his wares. “We appreciate his hustle,” said Matt and happily obliged recognizing one entrepreneur to another.
With a new house to work on, Matt and Danielle spent many hours working on their new house and yard which afforded them more opportunities to get to know their new neighbors. Joe made frequent appearances and kept them up to date on neighborhood happenings and his personal successes. “We are happy that Joe shares his successes with us.”
One day a bus pulled in front of their neighbor’s house with ‘The Arc’ on its display. “We didn’t know that our neighbors were being supported by The Arc until then and it all came into focus,” said Danielle, “We’ve lived here for eight months but already have made great memories. We feel like part of the neighborhood, Joe and our neighbors made it that way.”
Throughout the month we will be sharing more stories on three themes; see me as your neighbor; see me as your co-worker; and see me as your friend. You can post what inclusion means to you by tagging The Arc of the Quad Cities Area (@ARCQCA) and using hashtags #DDAware, #DDAwareness, and #InclusionMatters.
Picture Caption: Joe (left) and Danielle (right) take a selfie on Halloween Night where Joe was handing out treats and selling his homemade bracelets to Trick or Treaters. Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month highlights how people with and without disabilities can come together to form strong communities.