Remember the popular parlor game back in the ‘90’s, Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon? The premise was any actor can be linked through his or her films to the actor Kevin Bacon within six steps. The game is founded on the “six degrees of separation” concept by Hungarian writer Frigyes Karinthy. As a side note, Kevin Bacon created a non-profit organization www.sixdegrees.org to encourage charitable giving.
Six degrees of separation holds true in the disability world, too. Here are two examples I came across in just the last month:
1. Be Extraordinary's newest client is Charlie. Charlie’s son, CJ, grew up in another city. CJ knows a former high school classmate, Jamar, who sustained a high spinal cord injury. InvoTek met Jamar in 2009 but did not get the chance to work with him closely. CJ has volunteered to mentor Jamar and help him reconnect with InvoTek.
2. Be-X recently began working with a high school sophomore who had a spinal cord injury. Khiry’s goal is to go back to school and get his diploma. Wes, another Be-X client, sustained a spinal cord injury in high school. He not only finished high school, but graduated as valedictorian. He then went on to earn his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Wes has been looking for someone to mentor when we met Khiry. Now Khiry has someone who has successfully traveled down the path he is on. On top of that, the two only live an hour apart.
The point is we are all inextricably connected. We know someone who knows someone who knows someone who needs a partner to gain a measure of independence. That’s what excites me about the Be Extraordinary program. It gives each of us a vehicle to connect meaningfully to another human being we’ll probably never meet but for whom our partnership yields lifelong rewards.
What’s your strangest Six Degrees of Separation story? Let us know and we’ll feature it on the website and our Facebook page.