On June 29 at the MSP airport, Fie Boesgaard arrives from Denmark for a one month stay to learn about services for adults with developmental disabilities in the US, specifically in Minnesota at Lifeworks Bloomington.
At home in Denmark she is studying social pedagogy. She has one year of school left and will graduate next spring. Social Pedagogy is an academic discipline offered in Denmark that is concerned with the theory and practice of holistic education and care. Originally when Fie started her degree program she thought she might want to work with youth in a criminal justice setting, but now after her one month at Lifeworks she is rethinking that decision. She says that she would like to pursue a career working with adults with developmental disabilities.
I visited with Fie both at the beginning of her volunteer commitment at Lifeworks Bloomington and also at the end. I was curious to know about her impressions of Lifeworks and MN. She has only been to the United States once and that was to visit New York City.
She said she was surprised about the amount of green area that we have in MN, our love of the outdoors, the aggressiveness of our mosquitoes, but most of all a new found leisure activity, tubing on rivers. Fie joined a group on the Apple River for tubing and picnicking and loved the whole inner tube experience.
During her stay at Lifeworks Bloomington Fie said she was impressed by the positive atmosphere in our center.
“Everyone is so nice to each other. I like the way the day is structured for the people Lifeworks supports, it feels good to be here.”
She visited many of the Bloomington job sites but her personal favorite was REI, she liked the variety of the retail processing tasks that our clients complete, from unpacking the product, steaming it, folding it, hanging it, tagging it, to moving it out onto the sales floor. Fie thought there was a good mix of physical and mental work involved for our clients.
Finally I wanted to know what she is going to tell family and friends about Lifeworks when she goes back to Denmark. She said,
“Lifeworks does a great job of training people to be successful in the workplace. I like the way you go to a job site and have the Lifeworks job coach learn what is happening there and then teach the person with the disability.”
What would she change if anything about her visit with us? “It was just too short,” she said, I wish I could stay longer.”
Travel safe Fie, it was a pleasure to have you. You taught us new words, new games and shared a new culture with us. If you would like to volunteer at Lifeworks please contact me at 651-365-3720 or email me, firstname.lastname@example.org