A Language of Kindness

Back in 2017, we had the pleasure of spending a full day with Archie and his team at the Independent Living Learning Centre (ILLC). He met us with warm handshakes and a sincere presence.

As a welcoming gift, the children of ILLC presented us with self-made lays of re-purposed magazine paper. We wore these artifacts of creativity and compassion all day. I kept mine as a reminder of the beautiful individuals I met at the ILLC.


A precious gift

The ILLC is both a school and a community of people caring for unique, special children.

The building in which ILLC operates grew from a small house to a large structure, a testament to the human kindness at work within it. Over time the ILLC approach gained recognition for carving a bespoke syllabus from a larger array of possible classes/modules. The family of students and teachers around Archie grew as well.

We listened in rapt attention to their stories – not just Archie’s, but the stories of lives touched within ILLC. The joy of meeting them was soul-nourishing.

They fed us a beautiful lunch, cooked in-house by students, masterfully capped with unforgettable turon. I still think about that meal, and the beautiful souls who prepared it. 20170814_095153200_iOS.jpg

The Equity Initative 2017 Fellows with Archie David at the ILLC

As we ventured further into Archie’s story, we visited Project Teach, a community-based rehabilitation program.

Archie at Project TEACH


Here, we encountered another unforgettable person- a boy named Gio.


Cerebral Palsy kept Gio from moving most of his limbs, and restricted his ability to move his head. Gio receives physical and occupational therapy in-home through Project Teach. The term “community-based rehabilitation” doesn’t fully capture the process I witnessed. It was more a community affirmation of Gio as a human being.


As the physical therapist moved his limbs and sang to him, so did his mother, and so did we. I may never witness Gio physically walk, but in that moment I saw his heart soar. And I saw his mother’s heart soar, too. I saw motherly pride and love and courage. I was so honored to witness this sacred moment of live-giving touch and song, warmth and care. To the children of Project TEACH, you bless us with your uniqueness, you are the treasures of your community.

To the whole ILLC and Project Teach family, you left an imprint on my heart by your presence, by your joyful noises, your wonderful spirits.



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