Pieces of Heart: Charity

1 Jul 2014 by gebhard, No Comments »

ravenhomeThe kind of Charity I prefer is the kind that allows people an opportunity to work to improve their situation. For the last two years, I’ve worked for a company that writes software that supports the Developmental Disabilities community.

People with DD are people with severe chronic mental or physical impairments that make independent living difficult. Issues like Down Syndrome and severe Cerebral Palsy.

I recently visited a Day Service Workshop.  It provides occupational therapy and contacts business to find work it’s members can do, simple jobs like shredding documents, stuffing envelopes, placing labels on samples, and other such things.

Much like everyone else, people with DD have a varied range of skills, interests and focus.  Not all of them like a doing a repetitive task to earn money. Instead, in what I’m sure started as physical therapy, some of the clients prefer drawing and painting and the like.

Some of the workshop staff realized, “Hey some of this artwork is pretty good”, and the center opened a little art studio. The artists get all of the purchase price as spending money.

On my visit to see the software I make in use, and to learn new ways to better support our customers, I bought my first original pieces of art.

From a man I have never seen, and knowing only what I have learned from his paintings and what the staff has told me about the paintings. And, I only know his name because he signed his paintings Jarrod. He made a painting of a really neat house.

The staff tells me he didn’t believe himself to be very good, and that he didn’t want to sell the painting at first because he didn’t believe he could. The second painting that caught my eye is called “the girlfriend”.

This picture surprised the staff.  There is no one in the building who matches the image he painted. Sometimes clinics are combined or have outings to other centers. During a visit from another clinic, the staff spotted a lady who resembles the girl in the painting.

Jarrod must have caught a glimpse of her in the past, and her image was so strong in his mind, that he not only painted her, but named the painting “the girlfriend”.

This implies he put some thought into what could be.

thegirlfriendI’m very taken by this painting. My range of skills is vast, from de-engineering competitors firmware, hardware design, software architecture, system infrastructure, to UX design (and many other very long and boring words). At my current job, I am making something you might call art, Regardless, I am envious of Jarrod. What I make helps a product to be easy to use.

What he makes speaks from his heart.  It encapsulates an emotion and enriches the lives of those see it. What I see when I look at it is that no matter how cruel life has been with the handing out of abilities, no matter what challenges physical or mental someone faces, that everyone can make, and leave behind something beautiful in this world.

And also that the heart is the same, and the desire for companionship is a constant among us all.

If you would like to support this DD community please visit: https://www.facebook.com/PiecesOfheARTStudio   Charities depend on people like you, to help the people in your local area.

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