Attitudes towards other people influence our behavior towards them. One important way in which we relate to others is to identify them as ‘like me’ or as ‘dIfFeReNt from me’. On this basis, we make assumptions and judgments; we are attracted or repelled; we are curious or disinterested. One needs self-confidence to be dIfFeReNt . Those that dare to stand out ~ to be dIfFeReNt OFTEN meet with GREAT OPPOSITION, some encounter those “roundpeggers” that seem to think that putting someone down who is dIfFeReNt enhances them in some way. Being unique can make you start to feel awkward about who you are. If you are not like everybody else ... youcan feel like you don't fit ... and don't belong. Everyone, underneath the things that define a generation or a culture, is truly unique and vastly dIfFeReNt ... from the things they love --to what inspires them or makes them laugh.
NEWSFLASH- EVERYONE IS UNIQUE – EVERYONE IS dIfFeReNt! What I hope to do through this organization is enlighten people to that the fact that YES WE ARE ALL dIfFeReNt but in the whole scheme of things WE HAVE MORE SIMILARITIES THAN dIfFeReNcEs.
There are some people who prefer to be dIfFeReNt; some don’t want to give personal preferences, others seek to be dIfFeReNt as a reaction to whatever is popular. The latter don't want to go along with the crowd, just because IT IS A CROWD who is going along with something. If you ask most people, they would say that they prefer not to be dIfFeReNt. Most people don’t want to STAND OUT so they go along with what is considered as normal. What is NORMAL anyway? It is said that NORMAL is nothing more than a setting on a washing machine.
You might wonder ~ when did I first notice I wasdIfFeReNtfrom others? To that, I would reply I WAS NEVER THE SAME. I never had the same interests as my peers the social nuances of schoolyard play escaped me; a square peg in around hole. My interests in music were dIfFeReNt; I laughed at things others DID NOT think were funny; I said things that were inappropriate (not raunchy just my mouth engaged before my brain). It appeared my peers were growing up without me; I was more immature and seemingly growing in a much dIfFeReNt direction. I tried to mimic their mannerisms, dress like them, talk like them; listen to the music that they listened to – BUT THAT WAS NOT ME! However, I COULD NOT find the answer to that question asked of every child “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I COULD NOT see myself in my 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, or 50’s. I COULD NOT choose a single career, a firm direction.
I loved animals so I wanted to be a veterinarian; academically this was possible; I worked in flea markets from a young age and was successful; I wanted to be a salesperson. I did become a salesperson and I was very good at it but I soon lost interest in that. I was semi-successful in helping an attorney argue a case on a lemon car I purchased; I wanted to be an attorney but again I DID NOT do well in school so this was not an achievable goal. I did get a Paralegal Certificate though I never worked in the field that was about the time that this mysterious illness overtook my body, a disease doctors knew little about at the time – it was called MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS (MS).
While on Social Security Disability, my career took yet another turn. I studied neuropsychology in college and earned State Certification in Drug and Alcohol Counseling. I specialized in working with Mentally Ill Chemically Addicted Adults. I THOUGHT I found my niche. I spent my career working with underserved populations’ primarily deinstitutionalized mentally ill living in Adult Homes and Single Room Occupancy Facilities. Just as I was starting to get bored with that,the MS reared its ugly head again and I found myself unable to work.
Icontinued to march to the beat of a dIfFeReNt drummer which often left me alone without friends, without peer supports in fact I NEVER remember having a best friend. It is strange how sometimes life drops in our lap what we have been searching our whole lives to find. When I attended college, I did so in a wheelchair. This was in the years before the Americans with Disabilities Act there WERE NOT a lot of disabled students on campus (we were dIfFeReNt“breed”) andthe “rights” we were given were discretionary based on what the university “felt like doing”; nothing mandatedthat they provide accessibility or accommodations. I began a journey of trying to get my needs met, with the university, with the Social Services Department, regarding Handicapped Parking issues.
In advocating for my own needs, I soon found MY PASSION. I became a strong supporter of disability rights. When I got my Service Dog almost 6years ago, I entered a whole new world of disability rights. As I approached (and now passed) my 50th birthday I became concerned about LONG TERM CARE ISSUES. Long ago resigned to spending my life without a partner concerns for where I would live out my final years and who would care for me if I could no longer care for myself REALLY SLAPPED ME IN THE FACE. I learned that these WERE NOT just MY ISSUES they were issues facing MANY in the disabled community. I grew increasingly concerned with the large number of young people (age 18 to 64) who were living their lives in nursing homes because their care needs COULD NOT be met in the community. I could READILY IDENTIFY how the dIfFeReNt care needs, dIfFeReNt mental health needs of this younger population OFTEN CLASHED with the needs of the MOSTLY OVER 70 nursing home population.
The younger disabled patients were dealing PRIMARILY with PHYSICAL LIMITATIONS while the MAJORITY of the older residents had Alzheimer’s and similar dementias. Aside from the age-related dIfFeReNcEs between these populations, I wondered the effect that living with those with diminished mental capacity year in and year out would have on the younger population. Statistics show they have a higher rate ofdepression; nursing homes provide MINIMAL physical therapy at best, the social needs of this younger population also cannot be addressed in a nursing home. IDEALLY, it would be WONDERFUL ifALL of these young people could continue to live their lives in community but this IS NOT always possible – WHAT IS POSSIBLE IS A NURSING HOME THAT IS DESIGNED TO ADDRESS THEIR UNIQUE NEEDS!
I set out to use my dIfFeReNt experiences as a dIfFeReNtLy abled person to create not just a FACILITY to address the UNIQUE and dIfFeReNt needs of this population but I would construct a COMMUNITY ~ A CAMPUSwhich addresses the MULTIPLE NEEDS of this population.
Finding the PIECES OF THE PUZZLE that were/ are MISSING in my care, ASSESSING what my FUTURE NEEDS might be EsperanzaEnterprises was born. I turned my passion into a COMMITMENT to turn being dIfFeReNt into a good thing; a way to help others who are dIfFeReNt.
Being dIfFeReNt is what makes me who I am. I NEVER imagined that what makes me dIfFeReNt would become my LIFE’S CALLING. I plan to show through the OVERWHELMING SUCCESS of EsperanzaEnterprises that BEING dIfFeReNt CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
My ability to STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD and cElEbRaTe My dIfFeReNcEs will serve me well in the business world. Marketing the activities and strategies employed by an organization that are designed to spread the message of the organization, as well as to solicit donations and callfor volunteers is the hallmark of every nonprofit. Within nonprofit marketing lies,a branch called DIFFERENTIATION MARKETING. Differentiation marketing means that an organization is perceived dIfFeReNtLy, in a POSITIVE WAY, from the competition
Differentiation is KEY to any successful marketing program, because it is what gives the consumer an understanding of the organizations unique personality and a reason to remember the organization when it is time to buy or refer for services. It gives the consumer the SPECIAL REASON they are looking for to buy or seek services from a particular organization.
POSITIVELYdIfFeReNt makes the perception of organization BETTER. To be dIfFeReNt, an organization needs to try NEW APPROACHES, APPROACHES NEVER BEFORE ATTEMPTED. This involves TAKING RISKS, NOT DOING THE SAME THINGS THE COMPETITION DOES. A unique identity is what separates one organization apart from another in a consumer’s mind. When this identity is carried throughout all of the organizations marketing, the consumer is less confused about what ORGANIZATION“B” offers in terms of products and/or services that ORGANIZATION“A” does not; it develops a “PICTURE” of ORGANIZATION “B” and lets the consumer know what they are all about.
Differentiation marketing makes it clear to the consumer exactly why they should buy or receive services from ORGANIZATION “B” as opposed to ORGANIZATION “A”– it gives the consumer a unique reason to do business with a particular organization. Before a consumer can make the decision of choosing ORGANIZATION “B” over ORGANIZATION “A” they need to know what ORGANIZATION “B” is all about; what makes them tick. When Differentiation Marketing is done correctly, an organization BENEFITS by having their product or service being more ‘memorable’. Itis IMPORTANT that an organization not just focus on being dIfFeReNt they needto be DISTINCTIVE -- in the things the consumer and clients value most.
TOO OFTEN we seem the LIMITATIONS and STIGMA of being dIfFeReNt but there are MANY WAYS that we can use our dIfFeReNcEs for GREATER GOOD.
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PLEASE DO ME A FAVOR, tomorrow morning when you look in the bathroom mirror say to yourself (with the utmost CONFIDENCE and POISE) Say to yourself: "Yes, I amdIfFeReNt. Yes, I am unique. Yes, I am (your name here);cool, awesomeand unique and no one can change that!" DO THIS EVERY SINGLE DAY and NEVER MISS THE OPPORTUNITY TO CELEBRATE THE UNIQUE “YOU” THAT YOU ARE!
Regardless of what path you chose as you journey through life DO NOT ALLOW ANYONE TO CHANGE YOU FROM THE UNIQUE, WONDERFUL and dIfFeReNt PERSON YOU ARE INTO A CARBON COPY OF SOMEONE ELSE.
CeLeBrAtE oUr dIfFeReNcEs