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list price: $24.95
edition:Paperback
category: Social Science
published: Nov 2005
ISBN:9781551521862

The Company of Others

Stories of Belonging

by Sandra Shields, preface by Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network (PLAN), by (photographer) David Campion

reviews: 1
5 of 5
2 ratings
rated!
rated!
list price: $24.95
edition:Paperback
category: Social Science
published: Nov 2005
ISBN:9781551521862
Description

An extraordinary and moving book about the transforming power of family and community on "vulnerable" individuals--the mentally challenged, the mentally ill, the elderly--and how these efforts enrich us as a society.

Company of Others tells the stories, interwoven with photographs, of five such people, who are surrounded by social "circles"--friends and family whose respect, encouragement, and unconditional love gives them a sense of purpose and belonging. Among them are Betty, a First Nations elder whose family makes it possible for her to continue living on the central BC ranch she's made her home for seventy years; Rick, a man in his fifties, who shares his Montreal apartment with two other men, all of whom live with schizophrenia; and Margaret, a woman in her forties with Downs syndrome, whose aging parents' dedication has led to the support of an entire community in small-town Alberta.

The stories told here are profoundly inspiring, giving hope to anyone who is or knows a person who, because of age, health, or disability, has been excluded from having a full and meaningful life. This is not a book about helping those with disabilities, but a proposal for a better way of living together in any community.

The Company of Others is produced with the PLAN (Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network) Institute, an organization that facilitates social networks around the world, and is dedicated to ensuring that those with disabilities and other vulnerable individuals enjoy the full rights and responsibilities of citizenship.

About the Authors

Sandra Shields is a fifth-generation Albertan who grew up on stories of covered wagons and prairie homesteads. She has written about the Stampede for Canadian Geographic, Geist, Reader's Digest and The Boston Globe.

David and Sandra previously collaborated on Where Fire Speaks: A Visit with the Himba (Arsenal Pulp, 2002), which won the BC Book Prize for Nonfiction and The Company of Others: Stories of Belonging (Arsenal Pulp, 2005).

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PLAN (Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network) Institute is an organization that facilitates social networks around the world, and is dedicated to ensuring that those with disabilities and other vulnerable individuals enjoy the full rights and responsibilities of citizenship.

Author profile page >

David Campion came of age in apartheid South Africa, an experience that gave him a distrust of dominant social mythologies. His work wrestles with notions of power and the means by which it perpetuates itself. His photographs regularly show in galleries and public institutions.

David and Sandra previously collaborated on Where Fire Speaks: A Visit with the Himba (Arsenal Pulp, 2002), which won the BC Book Prize for Nonfiction and The Company of Others: Stories of Belonging (Arsenal Pulp, 2005).

Author profile page >
Awards
  • Runner-up, Alcuin Society Design Award
Editorial Review

When we hear the term 'networking', images spring to mind of handshakes, the exchange of business cards, and hopefully some sort of intangible benefits--a job lead, a meeting with an important person, or even a discount on a big-ticket item. We're often focused on what we might get from the network, rather than what we bring to it. The Company of Others turns that notion on its head, reminding readers that what we bring to the table is far more important than what we leave with.

This book introduces us, in pictures and words, to five individuals whose networks bring depth and meaning to their lives. They are the 'vulnerable' of society--the elderly, people battling mental illness, and those living with intellectual disabilities. We are offered a glimpse into their private lives are see that, through the circle of support around them, these individuals are experiencing the world in ways that some said wasn't even possible. As heartening as it is to hear about their perseverance and everyday successes, the true magic is in how the network of people offering support to these vulnerable individuals are themselves transformed, not by what they get from the experience, but what they give to it.

This concept isn't new to those who work in the nonprofit sector. However, these simple stories of belonging remind us that even the smallest gestures of kindness can have a major impact. If you are feeling isolated, stressed about life, or are just sitting at your desk wondering if you have anything left to give, pick up this book and witness the transformative power of belonging and giving. Although it is a quick read, the images and stories will linger long after the last page is turned, and you'll be left thinking about your own networks, and what you have to offer.
-Charity Village

— Charity Village

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Association of Book Publishers of BC
Librarian review

The Company of Others: Stories of Belonging

With Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network (PLAN), Sandra Shields and David Campion tell the stories of five vulnerable people and their circles of support through photographs with extended captions. This stark photo-documentary tells the tales of Jeff and Erin who have intellectual disabilities, Margaret who has Down’s syndrome, Rick who is a schizophrenic and Betty an aging grandmother. The book tells the tale of their support circles, a network of friends and family whose lives are enhanced by the relationship they share.

The authors’ book, Where Fire Speaks, won the Hubert Evans Non-Fiction award in 2003.

Source: The Association of Book Publishers of BC. BC Books for BC Schools. 2006-2007.

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Where Fire Speaks

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