When we were looking for a community to settle in, my husband and I started here and drove down along the Hudson looking at towns. We got as far as Saugerties when we realized that we had already found the place – Bethlehem. This community had everything we were looking for. As soon as we moved into our house we felt integrated into the community. From our front porch, we could sit and watch the world go by. Our neighbors across the street invited us to tea to welcome us. Our kids could walk or ride their bikes to the middle school and the high school. They could go by themselves to the library or Stewarts, and we always had the feeling that they were safe.
Even now, one of our sons is able to live here independently as a disabled adult with autism. He is just a few blocks away and through a program with the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities, his next door neighbor serves as a support if he needs help. All his neighbors look out for him so he can safely take walks around the neighborhood. He has been integrated into the community in a caring and supportive way.
It would be a dream come true if more people had access to this kind of community and felt welcomed and protected and spoke up for one another. We have to stand together in the face of intolerance and injustice. We all have common ties of humanity. Those values on the local level are precious. I believe that if we each made our own little pocket filled with goodness, the world would be good. We need to make it good, keep it good and share the good.