Let the love for your child and the world flow

kari and mielleTwo reflections about exclusion and inclusion from an upcoming book “SNAPSHOT OF A SOUL PLACE in the Land of Special Needs” by Kari Burk.

“Perhaps the greatest obstacle faced by a person with special needs is being misunderstood and isolated from life’s processes and events.”

“Let the love for your child and the world flow and let others see that you are comfortable and not afraid. Then they might become comfortable and not be afraid either.”

Kari is an artist and landscape gardener who lives with her 24 year old daughter Mielle Metz, in Castlegar, BC. In Snapshot of a Soul Place, Kari and Mielle lovingly invite you on their extraordinarily creative journey into the ins and outs and ups and downs of their day to day with Down Syndrome.

You can help to fund the first printing: Click here before December 31 to pre-order your signed copy of this book coming out in 2015. 

Kari demonstrates her understanding of Inclusive Leadership as a skill-based practice when she says, ““I try to stay positive for myself and Mielle but there have been many times where I too have cried when a wall suddenly appears. I have to look to my skills and practices to create a door or window in this wall, to see it as an opportunity more than a struggle, to move forward with good choices and keep rowing the love boat gently down the stream.”

rick and mielleMany readers of this post will remember seeing Mielle at age six, starring with her Grandfather Rick Scott in the video of the song Angels Do, which ran for ten years on Treehouse TV. Rick Scott (and his life-partner Valerie Hennel who is always there sharing leadership behind the scenes) are well known around the world for their Inclusive Leadership in building peace-filled, inclusive communities through the strength of music, song and stories of connection with diversity. In the foreword Rick wrote for Linda Hill’s 2nd Inclusive Leadership book (Connecting Kids) he says, “Fun is powerful medicine which needs to be pushed to the front of the line, before diagnoses, therapies, exercises, judgements and resolutions. Making music with children, I am constantly reminded that laughter is an international language. A little bit of fun goes a long way to bridge gaps of age, language, race, class and gender.”

In their book, Kari and Mielle share their triumphs, challenges, hopes about inclusion and fears about exclusion through photos, paintings, cartoons, poetry and prose. Here is a preview:

Self With Scaffolding

Self With Scaffolding

“The love, care and acceptance shared within families and friendships is powerful, and sometimes it has to carry the weight of the opposite, which is exclusion.”

“A parent of a special needs child is vulnerable to how the world will treat their child. You don’t want to be in protective mode or hiding ‘safely’ at home too much of the time, so you learn to adapt and modify those kind of feelings in order to be at ease so that others are at ease.”

“Children who are exposed to the world of special needs are more comfortable with differences. Inclusion in whatever way possible is extremely valuable for all concerned.”


Kari and Mielle looking backrays me
and connect me
until I get things right.
keep me linked and loved
don’t let me ice up
like a floe without flow.
reach for me if you will,
I’m talkin’ send in
what you can
If you understand
the sun & the moon
and the cosmic no plan.
close in on me
when I am far away.
see me there in the dark
a starry night spark.
take my laughter
into your heart,
and I will do the same
for you.

 Click here before December 31 to pre-order your signed copy of a book that is a beautiful journey into a soul place. 


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