We held the town hall meeting in our home on Feb. 27, 2011 – three days after the Princess turned 18. There were a total of 16 people that showed up, including her new roommate to-be, Ashley. I didn’t realize until that weekend that Ashley was quite nervous about meeting “the gang.” I felt so bad for her, sitting so small and quiet on the couch. Luckily, my friends aren’t shy and they were soon chatting away with her.
I started the meeting by getting everyone’s attention and letting them know that I was winging this meeting. I shared the planning document and the Princesses goals with them. Then I explained that although it would be great if some of the people could commit to things like taking her out for physical activity once a week, the bigger picture was creating a circle of support.
A circle of support for her would mean she has a group of people she can call on to help her. She isn’t relying solely on her mother – after all, I may not be around forever. A circle of support means people who are around enough to speak into her life. A circle of friends who would notice if someone convinced her to apply for a credit card and buy them gifts, or if something was going on in her life that wasn’t quite right. They would have permission to speak into her life or to approach her parents and say “Ummm, I have a bad feeling about this…”
The meeting went very well. Although it was slower to get started because no one was quite sure how things should go, once things got rolling, there was no stopping it.
Some of the decisions reached included:
- An RN friend would teach Ashley about diabetes.
- A female friend would provide physical activity for her once a week.
- Mum would provide Ashley a list of all the people present and their contact information. Mum would also enter them into the Princesses cell phone.
- An accountant friend will handle the financial paperwork for PDD.
- Ashley and the Princess will keep a communication book where they will review their arrangements on a regular basis.
- The Princess will give Ashley her receipts and Ashley will track their budget. Later, Ashley will put a spreadsheet on the fridge so the Princess can start entering herself.
- Her brother will mow their lawn.
- Ashley volunteered to shovel.
- Two ladies volunteered to go over to the girls home once every week or two and have a cooking party. They will make and freeze meals while chatting.
- Ashley and the Princess have already found a young adult church service to attend on a weekly basis.
- A friend from Kelowna has offered a place for the Princess to stay if she needs to get away.
I am sure there are things we haven’t thought of, but we will cross that bridge if we arrive at it. For now, I feel confident that there is support for the Princess and that I am not in this alone.
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