Embracing diversity

The Generations of Hope Community Model

CORE COMPONENTS : DESIGN PATTERN #3

Embracing diversity


3

Living in a community intentionally designed to incorporate differences is not always easy, but the rewards can be powerful.

Strength in diversity

When Hope Meadows was first created, its founder, Dr. Brenda Krause Eheart, wanted a diverse neighborhood – a place composed of people of different ages, races, and socioeconomic status. Further, she wanted to avoid a neighborhood where children were labeled as foster children. Her initial vision for diversity at Hope Meadows has been both realized and consistently expanded over the community’s 20-year history.

Over the years as older adults and new families have moved into the neighborhood, they have found it nearly impossible to tell which of the children came to Hope Meadows through foster care, with their birth families, or were previously adopted.

Relationships become prominent

Over time, many individuals with a variety of challenges have come to call Hope Meadows home. There are always a few seniors who are wheelchair-bound and others who need to carry oxygen tanks. One parent at Hope Meadows had cerebral palsy. Children have arrived with multiple developmental disabilities including autism, sensory integration disorder, and cognitive impairments, as well as severe emotional and behavioral problems.

These differences would seem to present insurmountable challenges to most communities, but this diversity has made Hope Meadows a stronger community, as differences become less salient and personal relationships more prominent.

In this time of racial segregation, age segregation, and residential segregation, GHCs represent a new step in uniting rather than dividing people.