NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — It’s a place where everyone is welcome – and everyone is equal.

“Our Places provides housing for adults with developmental disabilities in inclusive communities,” said Jordan Collins, Associate Director at Our Place Nashville. “So we pair up students from local universities, older adults over the age of 55, and anybody who needs affordable housing to be a partner to help our friends with developmental disabilities succeed in the world.”

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Of course, I wanted to get involved, so I volunteered and hung out with our new friends to teach a life skills class about public speaking!

“We do this work because we know that people that have a developmental disability are often so much more capable than people will give them credit for,” Collins said.

There are many ways you can volunteer at Our Place, including teaching a Life Skills class.

And the group schooled me in a mock-reporting scene!

“Hello, this is Zack Sutton – the car guy reporting for Friendship House 2. You sir, Evan Slaton, I’ve heard you were in a big race, tell me about it!”

“It’s really respect more than anything. And it’s letting people – be equal with their peers. Nobody needs special treatment, and our goal is not to be superstars, our goal is to be extraordinarily ordinary,” Carolyn Naifeh, Co-Founder & Executive Director

Even when we felt a bit nervous, we still supported each other.

“Everybody is equal, and so no matter who you are, if you come in as a student or as a friend, or as an older adult, the idea is community and being there for each other,” said Collins.

“They support each other like families, they circle the wagons when there are problems, but independence doesn’t mean that you’re not interdependent, and it doesn’t mean you have to live alone,” Naifeh said. “It means that you get to be the best you, and least for us that’s what it means.”

Because in the end – we’re all friends, and we all belong.

“I think the coolest thing is that this will show that people with disabilities, you know, they work just as hard as everyone else does. They want to go to school, they want to make friends, they deserve to show that they belong,” said one Our Place Nashville guest.

Our Place Nashville is always looking for volunteers and donors — click here to get involved.