Main Street, Rockville
In the heart of every town, there is a Main Street and, for the City of Rockville, that's where true heart is soon to be! Main Street is an inclusive, community-centered residential development where 25% of the apartments are designed and designated for adults with disabilities. It is the result of great need, vision, determination, and collaboration and is the first of its kind in the D.C. area...
Approximately 75% of individuals with developmental disabilities live with a family member. This is, in large part, due to the lack of resources afforded to adults with disabilities following graduation from high school. Without support services and employment opportunities, both disabled adults and their caretakers suffer difficult challenges. For the caretakers, many of whom are over the age of 60, there are financial, emotional, and physical stresses and limitations. For the individuals with disabilities, the disappearance of services, support, and purpose, often results in feelings of depression and isolation. Main Street, planned to open in 2020, will addresses this problem! With 70 reasonably-priced 1,2, and 3 bedroom apartments, Main Street will provide a diverse and inclusive residential community that will inspire a sense of community and independence. Main Street will host on-site activities and is city-centered to provide easy transit, employment, and social opportunities. Grocery stores, restaurants, movie theaters, and a public library are all just steps away. No doubt it will become the model for independent and inclusive-living.
How did I discover the great magic of Main Street? A dear friend introduced me - a very BUSY friend I might add! After many failed attempts to see Lois socially, it occurred to me that the best way to see her was to go where she was going so I invited myself to join her at a Main Street gift bag-stuffing party that her friend (and Main Street founder) was hosting. Gift bags were being stuffed by the hundreds to prepare for an upcoming fundraising luncheon. Here, I was in the company of a diverse and amazing group of women, all of whom had either personal ties to the hostess, to the special needs community, or to both. There were even a few familiar faces there as my travels and 50 experiences have introduced me to so many people outside of my normal circles. Though my bag assembling didn't do anything to directly advance the development of Main Street or to serve its future residents, it did help the cause and I learned more about the special needs community.
Jillian and Lois, thank you for hosting me and exposing me to the needs of this special community. Main Street, I'm so happy to be your neighbor!
My Takeaways: (1) Even just learning about something new can be a community service as it can inspire future action or simply present or re-frame an issue to think about differently. Though I don't personally care for a family member with special needs, I do know and love several people who do! I hope that my brief exposure to Main Street, which has caused me to consider things I may not have otherwise, will allow me to be a more supportive friend and community member. (2) Wanting to be and feel independent is universal and does not just belong to a single group. Adults with disabilities and their parents want the same for themselves as well and now there are options at Main Street!! (3) Meeting for coffee is overrated! Go DO something productive with a friend! (4) I love that as my world gets bigger, it gets smaller all the same. Follow Me To 50 has caused me to go out of my normal stomping grounds and yet now I'm seeing the once new faces over and over again! I really enjoy being a familiar face in this special crowd!!! (5) Don't forget what the cookie pictured above says - there should be a "YOU" in the word "commYOUnity!" This is my new favorite!