Exclusive nightclubs. Ever been in one? We see these kinds of places featured on entertainment shows. The long velvet rope where people line up to get in, the rich and beautiful people with the networks to have their names on the list. At one time in my life, I would have been impressed with that scene and thrilled to get into one of those places. And I did- once. It was a showcase for the band I was in, to play in front of record-label execs. I realized quickly, this was not my world. I felt awkward, out of place, and was critiqued on my weight before I even sang a note. Lord have mercy.
Now just imagine feeling a bit out of place, misunderstood, awkward or excluded most of your life and in many places that you go. For many people with disabilities- that is their every-day experience.
But there’s a place in Baltimore that has turned exclusivity into inclusivity. The League for People with Disabilities serves their clients through a variety of programs and services in a modest facility at 1111 E.Coldspring Lane in Baltimore, but one Saturday night a month- it becomes “Club 1111”, an inclusive club for some of the most beautiful people around. Flashing lights, an infectious beat with the DJ spinning tunes, and a fun, safe atmosphere, Club 1111 is the place where people with disabilities connect with one another, dance the night away, make new friends and enjoy themselves. Classrooms are turned into spas for manicures, refreshments are served and confidence and encouragement are served up too. Club 1111 is for those amazing, beautiful people that navigate this world with physical, developmental and cognitive challenges every day, and need a place where they can exhale and recreate.
Club 1111 is catching national attention as other places around the country are looking for innovative ways to serve their clients, but it started here in Baltimore.
Yep…another bright spot of hope right here at home.