After 47 years at my agency, I decided to step aside from my administrative responsibilities and move on as a consultant and special adviser. Initially this decision was difficult as my involvement with CLASS has been a natural and integral part of my life for so many years.. It was hard to imagine anything else. But as I got closer to the transition date, Jan 1, 2019, my decision became easier and easier to accept.

In the month of December, I began to go through all of my files and clean out my office. As I went through files dating back to 1973 I was flooded with incredible memories. In fact, I found a journal that i kept from 1973 to 1976 and was written in a personal diary format. It captured not just people and meetings, but my innocent reflections about these people and meetings. The vernacular was vintage 1970 as I reported that I “rapped” with people about opportunities for folks with disabilities in the community.

I found other files and photos of people and topics from time gone by, but throughout all of these materials was a common theme of inclusion, participation and engagement in the community for people who have been devalued or marginalized - a challenge we deal with to this day.

Over the past few weeks there have been receptions and gatherings for me, all that I found to be awkward as I am not one to wave my flag. Certainly, I have been appreciative of these receptions, and so taken by the kind comments and remarks - but still recognize that such a macro journey is not shaped by one person alone. Rather, it is the joint efforts and energy that are at the core of change. I have merely been happy to have been a part of the journey.

And, I am not done yet! By moving from my role at CLASS, I am now liberated with time and new energy to continue the journey. I now have time to work on a new book with my daughter and her partner; I am now able to participate in projects with other organizations; I can increase the training and speaking that I have enjoyed doing; and have really been excited about the new research that I can do with other folks around the world. These are all exciting projects.

So, in a way, this blog post is a humble thank you to all the amazing people I have had the pleasure of working with in this journey. And maybe more, it is an invitation to others to possibly work together in the future. Can’t wait to see you down the path!