Friday, February 09, 2007

Brushes with Life

Check out the show at the NC Museum of Art

The Brushes with Life art show and reception at the STEP clinic was very cool. I saw so many ex clients and their families that I felt literally overwhelmed with their stories and greetings—I felt like I was at an Alumnae Reunion with not enough time to talk with everyone. As I was listening to one person, I’d get jostled for contact from several others.

One aspect that has always interested me about these events is how intriguing it is to see people in a different environment. Many former Caramore clients said hi and I was pleased to see them outside the confines of Caramore. It reminded me of when I was a kid and I would meet a teacher outside of school. What a strange feeling that was—it was like that teacher had another life that I never would associate him or her with. I always referenced them as solely a teacher, not as a person with a life outside the class room.

The other lives of our clients, past and present, are really what makes what we do at Caramore so fascinating. For many of us, we sometimes see them in certain limited situations. But they all have "other lives" that we don't always see or appreciate. We have an impact on those lives far more than we might realize.

The high point of my evening was running into Jeff N. and his mom. Jeff was a real handful when he was with us—surly, disinterested, and slovenly. He had a couple of art pieces in the show and one work is featured prominently on the cover of the program brochure. He recently had a solo exhibit at Driade Cafe. He looks terrific. His mom introduced herself to me and went on about how well Jeff is doing. She says that she owes most of Jeff's improvements to his time at Caramore. Mind you, this was totally unsolicited by me and I didn't know what to expect from her. Jeff also referenced something I had given him eight years ago that he still has and appreciates. It illustrates to me the importance that we maintain in many of our clients' lives and the awesome power and influence that we demonstrate—sort of like being a parent.

Anyway, it was great to see people that we have worked at the reception. It's real nice to witness the "other lives" of the people we have worked with and it gives me renewed enthusiasm for what we do.

Barry Shanley

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