Sunday Conversations with Win Charles
Usually, you don’t hear from us on a Sunday, but here it is – Sunday Conversations. For now, Sunday conversations is a three-part series sharing the stories of three remarkable people who have faced great challenges in their lives.
Each has a very different story, but they have in common that they have taken their individual challenges and turned them into an opportunity to help others.
Win Charles is a podcaster, a published author, an athlete, and she happens to be born with Cerebral Palsy, CP. I asked Win if she was willing to answer some questions from the perspective of a person dealing with a disability.
We often stress the importance of community building in our podcast and that needs to be an inclusive approach if we want to create a more sustainable world. Yet in reality, most communities are somewhat homogenous. We tend to look and bond with the familiar and exclude what we perceive as different.
We Need to Understand
Cities are divided into affluent and not so affluent neighborhoods or by racial or ethnic identities. Other groups have members who are all similar in age, political opinions, or interests. But is we want to work together, to figure out how we can help each other and lift each other up, we need to know and understand at least a little bit about each other.
Not that long ago, disabled children used to be either kept at home – and I mean, kept at home, hidden, not to be seen. Or they were deposited in an institution, which amounts to the same: Invisibility.
Win’s parents were advised to send her to a facility, but they refused and gave all the support they could to their daughter. And she soared and has achieved more than many of her able-bodied peers.
As a teenager and young adult, I had a friend with CP. When I pushed her wheelchair through the town, people were often staring or looking very deliberately the other way. Things have changed, but I do think that many people still feel uncomfortable around a disabled person.
The unease often comes from no exactly knowing what to do. Should I open and hold the door for a person in a wheelchair? Or is that taking their power away? Should I grab a hold of the arm of a blind person and help them cross the street? Or not?
(Hint: I open the door for everyone – I say a yes on opening doors. A big NO on grabbing a blind person – from what I gather, that is one of the # 1 complaints).
During the podcast, I asked Win to share some tips how she would like to be treated:
“Direct your questions toward the disabled person. Not to a caretaker or another abled body person in their surrounding.”
“If you want to help, ask.”
It made me sad that Win was saying that many disabled (differently abled) people are not used to being offered help.
Some Highlights of Our Conversation
Some highlights of our conversation:
- Win walked until she was 18.
- Hopes that another surgery will enable her to get off the mobility device.
- Every day can be completely different from the rest.
- She needs to work no matter what.
- Win schedules her workout time as a meeting in her calendar.
- She writes books.
- She has a podcast.
- She works full time.
Buy Win’s Book
Buy Win’s book on Amazon (affiliate)
Extra Bonus: After the interview, Dr. Adrian Cooper is answering listener questions and giving more tips on how to create a nature reserve in your community – one backyard at a time.
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Check out the first or our Sunday Conversations.
Listen to our first show with Dr. Adrian Cooper