By opening our eyes, minds and hearts to possibilities, we can support our sons, daughters, friends and neighbours to live interesting, challenging and joyful lives. The people with disabilities in this book and their champions are determined to ‘do’ with their lives, not merely exist.
Flourish: People with Disabilities Living Life with Passion by noted writer Karin Melberg Schwier reveals the thoughts behind making a vibrant and interesting life for son Jim, and tells 25 stories of people who have been encouraged and supported to pursue passions, and helped to uncover interests they never realized existed within themselves. You’ll also meet people who have helped ignite that spark and who believe in the person’s ability to imagine, and still others who share what pursuing a dream has meant in their own lives. Flourish is more than a collection of stories. It offers encouragement and ideas from the author’s own perspective as well as others who have dedicated their lives to helping people with disabilities discover their own unique gifts and potential.
Karin Melberg Schwier has been writing about people with disabilities for nearly 30 years. Always intent on capturing authentic voices of people she interviews and writes about, she was honoured in 2011 when actor Benjamin Bratt selected a piece from her earlier book of first-person profiles of people with disabilities to perform as a dramatic reading at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica. Among her works are Sexuality: Your Sons and Daughters with Intellectual Disabilities (Brookes Publishing, 2000, co-authored with Dave Hingsburger) which has since been translated into German, Italian and Korean, and Breaking Bread, Nourishing Connections: People with and without Disabilities Together at Mealtime (Brookes, 2005). Flourish is her eighth book. She’s a prolific writer who contributes to a variety of publications, including Saskatoon Fine Lifestyles, Fine Homes and Saskatoon Homemagazines.
Praise for Flourish:
“I fell in love with Flourish after reading just the first page. As I moved from story to story, I thought, “Why can’t every ‘behavior’ meeting start with a discussion of this book?” Then I thought, “Why can’t every IEP meeting start with a discussion of this book?” And then, “Why can’t every transition meeting start with a discussion of this book?” How different our work and our world would be if we all focused on this way of thinking. This book will not only make you want to support other people in finding their passions, discovering their talents, and creating their ‘bucket lists,’ but it will make you want to do the same for yourself.”
and “You’re Going to Love This Kid”:
Teaching Students with Autism in the Inclusive Classroom.
“I am warmly attracted to a unique and unrepeatable man, Jim Schwier. Although experts might point out his disabilities, I am so impressed by how he has, with a smile, for 16 years mopped the pool deck and handed out towels at the YMCA. At St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, he greets members, hands out bulletins and takes up the offerings. He sweats, jokes and laughs side by side by side with his folks in their large garden; he shovels snow, plays cards, cooks meals. His days are filled with responsibilities and friends. In our pen pal relationship, and on rare visits, I will always be known as “Bob Brewsky,” a name I treasure. I am convinced that all the happiness that I perceive in this family stems from their “flourishing” life. Now comes this book. Karin began “as a way to think about what makes our son Jim happy.” But she couldn’t stop there. She widened her net around the world to see what makes others flourish, too.”
Circles of Friends: People with Disabilities and
Their Friends Enrich the Lives of One Another, Darien, Connecticut
“Finally… a riveting read that reveals the secret to supporting people with disabilities to create a life worth living. The secret? It has nothing to do with disability! Karin gracefully reveals the ingredients: passion, belief, laughter, creativity and tenacity. Flourish is a thoughtful and insightful journey of hope.”
Director, Life Works, San Diego, California