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Wesley Glen is in the business of spreading joy

10/16/2022

A Word from Cameron Bishop, CEO, Wesley Glen Ministries
 
I have had the privilege of traveling to various churches and community groups over the past month to share about “what’s happening” at Wesley Glen Ministries. Aside from meeting some incredible people during my travels, I have been amazed to learn just how many individuals have a personal connection to someone with an intellectual or developmental disability (IDD). Although the stories vary in terms of the who, what, when, and where, one thing remains consistent: each person tells me about how they have been personally blessed by having a relationship with someone who has IDD. Specifically, I often hear people talk about the contagious sense of JOY the person has and shares with others.  
 
As a clinical social worker, I’ve spent a lot of my career studying human behavior. Typically, my studies have involved behaviors that challenge, trauma responses, depression, and anxiety. A great deal of neuroscience and psychology points to the significant impact of mirror neurons in our brains. In short, these neurons are a type of brain cell that respond when we witness someone else perform an action. For example, recently as I watched the UGA vs. Missouri game, I found myself feeling frustrated, short of breath, and a sinking feeling in my stomach. From the comfort of my couch, my body was responding to what I was seeing take place on the TV. I was experiencing emotions similar to the players on the field.  
 
Although we often talk about mirror neurons in terms of negative emotions, they are also credited for their work in experiencing positive emotions. I believe that the joy I’ve heard people recount from having a relationship with someone who has IDD is due, in part, to these mirror neurons. Pull the science out of the equation…the JOY is CONTAGIOUS! I am certain that many of you have experienced this CONTAGIOUS JOY firsthand as you’ve spent time with the incredible individuals we serve at Wesley Glen. I’ve witnessed this contagious joy while observing our employees and residents play, laugh, and work together. I’ve witnessed this contagious joy on the faces of guests to our campus as they tour our facilities and meet our community. I’ve witnessed this contagious joy spread amongst groups of people as we have gone out into the community to share about the work and ministry of Wesley Glen. Most importantly, I have EXPERIENCED this CONTAGIOUS JOY personally as I have grown in deeper relationships with both the adults we serve as well as the team who supports them each day.  
 
Growing up in Sunday School we would sing, “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.” As you’ll recall, part of the song says “Hide it under a bushel? NO! I’m gonna let it shine!”  At Wesley Glen, we are in the business of spreading joy! We will not hide it under a bushel! We invite you to come experience this joy firsthand. And because your brain is full of mirror neurons, you too will be filled with an incredible sense of JOY!
 
Wesley Glen Ministries is a Christian organization whose core mission is to support adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Find more information about Wesley Glen Ministries at www.wesleyglenministries.com.
 

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