Making Change One Person At A Time

“Change happens slowly. And it only happens one person at a time, one day at a time.”

This was the title of an article Karen Corr, director of Make a Change, spotted on a Linkedin article by Ann-Maree Davis Executive Director of Amicus.  Inspired and intrigued we asked Ann-Maree how she is creating change one person at a time.

“Making change one person at a time comes from the belief that everyone deserves a good life.”  Amicus is actively working towards a community where all members of a community are valued and respected for their unique talents and contributions.

Ann-Maree explains traditionally organisations were set up to respond to a community need, rather than individual need. Amicus designs services and support that are unique to each individual who chooses Amicus support.  Making change that is about people, rather than an organisation can be challenging for everyone involved.

“Change of this magnitude has been made easier within Amicus.  The benefit was immediate for individuals and their families as we moved from focusing on the organisation to the individual.  The greater challenge was building the capacity of our community to adapt to the change and overcome myths such as; people with a disability belong together.  Just because you have a disability doesn’t mean you only have friends and only do activities with people who have a disability.”

To create opportunity for people with a disability to be active participants in the life of our community we used change management principles such as:

•    Work with early adaptors and share their success stories
•    Accept that change takes a long time
•    Change your environment

“Taking control of your environment to create change is something that many organisations or business can implement to great effect,” Ann-Maree advises. “Amicus now has only one site in the CBD.  All our support to people happens out in the community. Taking away our traditional facilities that maintained segregation, our team had to come up with new solutions and new connections.  Changing the environment wasn’t the catalyst for change, but keeps the momentum of change happening.”

“I understand the challenges people face to create a good and ordinary life.  My mother was born with cerebral palsy in 1950.  My Grandparents’ were determined to send her to mainstream school and have a career, despite the doctor’s advice that she will never have a normal life.  And yet she attended school, got married and here I am.”