You know how sometimes people just connect and understand one another, plain and simple? I’ve seen a lovely example of it this fall at Reality.
Boris Beatty is a gem: lively, passionate about music, with a spark in his eye. Yet lots of people don’t connect with Boris, perhaps because he has autism and it can be difficult for people to know how to engage.
But Deborah Montes just connects with Boris. Deborah is currently serving in the Reality Fellows program, a 12-month internship that combines full-time work at Reality, living in community, and spiritual/theological reflection. Our Fellows, selected from a pool of applicants, come in with many different interests and hopes for their experience here; they are not required to have prior experience either in ministry or in work with people with intellectual disabilities. No matter someone’s background or goals, we believe that a year in this particular community can be a profound experience for each Fellow.
Deborah and Boris have developed a rich friendship; they both look to one another amidst a crowd and find comfort in the other’s presence. During Circle Time (the way we begin each session of Daytime at Reality), there are many days Boris struggles to connect. Some folks in the group aren’t exactly sure how to ask him questions, or he comes in exhausted or stressed. But Deborah is especially gifted at drawing Boris into the group, encouraging him, and helping him engage. He lights up when she is nearby.
In the same way, Deborah has expressed what a gift Boris is to her. She says she’s lifted up when he is here, and she looks forward to the time they share.
One of the best parts of my job is having our four Reality Fellows here every year. Deborah’s friendship with Boris is a perfect example of why this fellowship is a marvelous opportunity. She is experiencing every day that Boris and so many others are remarkable people who God has created to bless others. And Deborah and the other Fellows – Lisa, Luke, and Quinn – bless our friends, and our staff, on a daily and even hourly basis. Seeing them work and play and grow and reflect on what God is doing through this community is such a privilege!
We are just now beginning to receive applications for our 2017-2018 Fellows cohort, which will be the program’s third year. Our hope is that this opportunity is available to more and more young people. For that to happen, we need to spread the word, and you can help us do that! Whether you are interested, or you know anyone who might be, go here for information about the fellowship, the neighborhood where they live, and the application. Please please please share!