Last week I read the Star Tribune article; Eating Disorders facility touches off a battle in Orono, by HERÓN MÁRQUEZ ESTRADA. I wasn't so shocked by the content of the article, as people often react out of fear of any change. I was mostly disappointed. What shocked me most were the comments from readers - lots of anger an assumptions.
Reading many of these comments is fascinating to me. I am happy to see that there are a couple that sound open minded and able to see a grey area worth exploring further.
My initial reaction to this news, as a coach supporting the parents of these frighteningly ill young people, was REALLY? And then I thought about it, would I want this right behind my home as neighbor5533 points out? Will there be bright lights all night long? Were there lights when it was a school? Was there noise then? Will this bring more noise?
So many things to consider. How many families will this help? Will this raise property values? What if everyone believed that having an eating disorders treatment facility nearby would RAISE property values?
Reading the comments I was very sad to see so many ASSUMING that everyone in Orono is super wealthy. I lived near Orono for a while, close to some homes that didn't even have insulation, the people were not all well off.
I am a strong supporter of the Emily Program having a facility in the western suburbs. Now that the Anna Westin House is moving to St. Paul there is next to nothing west of St. Louis Park for far west suburban and rural west MN families facing this crisis. Having a child with an eating disorder and trying to find and GET TO treatment is a nightmare I wouldn't wish on anyone.
Eating Disorders are an epidemic, destroying millions of lives everyday. There are not enough treatment facilities and I am so glad that the Emily Program is expanding to serve this dire need. I do hope that cooler heads will prevail and find a solution that serves our communities effectively. If this old school isn't used for this desperate need perhaps there is another facility that won't disrupt zoning issues. I do wonder then, what will the old school be used for? Will it be something creating even more traffic or police calls?
Fear and Panic are what parents of kids with eating disorders live with every day. I hear fear being present for this neighborhood that is about to have a change. Change is not easy. We can choose to react out of fear or we can choose love. There are so many more options available to us if we choose love, curiosity or another perspective other than fear. I'm not saying that is easy but if we can see the grey area, choose curiosity or love, then we might find a solution for this wonderful old building. And for people who need our help to get well.
I am grateful that the Emily Program is working to expand their locations and I hope that they can find a community that welcomes this much needed service.
Comments? Thoughts? Ideas?