By Rickielee Benecke, Class of 2015
Benecke is a Disability Rights Advocate for LIFE CIL. She is a Minnesota native, but she has lived in the Bloomington-Normal area for the majority of her life, and is an Illinois State University alum.
The MCLP journey as a whole cannot be described in one word or even one sentence. I can attempt to describe it with words such as life-changing, inspiring, motivating, intense, difficult, rewarding, and challenging. Yet none of those words, neither singularly nor collectively, can truly make one understand what an incredible journey this class has been.
To call it an awakening is accurate, yet also incomplete. This class has definitely awakened in me many different thoughts and ideas, has forced me to confront long buried emotions, and given me new insight to a variety of topics.
More importantly, MCLP has awakened, and even rekindled, hope. I have a renewed outlook on community and volunteerism. I have hope in humanity once again, inspired that there is so much good in people, and that together we can challenge and change what is wrong and unjust in our communities, and in our world.
Because of MCLP and the 25 amazing classmates and 2 outstanding facilitators that I have had the privilege to share this journey with, I have come to realize many things. Listed here are just my top five:
- Leadership is not your job title, how many people you supervise, or how many letters you have after your name.
- Our community has a wealth of untapped and little known resources (resources being business, non-profits, and people).
- You can celebrate diversity by looking at (and truly seeing) the entire masterpiece and understanding that everyone is unique and individual—offering many different strengths, each and every one contributing equally to create that amazing work of art.
- Vulnerability allows us to become “real.”
- Together, WE can be the change we wish to see in the world.