Catherine Morsink is a founding member of Oak Hammock. As a former public school teacher, she had the opportunity to serve as the Department of Special Education chair at the University of Florida and as the dean of the College of Education at Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania.
In the 1970s, Morsink worked collaboratively with others to expand educational opportunities for children with disabilities. She remembers these students being labeled, confined and segregated. She recounts working with colleagues to find opportunities to serve these children more effectively in an integrated fashion through general education.
Morsink shares her love for Oak Hammock and explains the vibrance of her neighbors and friends. When she and her husband first moved in as a couple, everyone immediately welcomed them into the Oak Hammock family. After his passing, she was concerned about how she would interact with people.
Now single, Morsink feels very much a part of the Oak Hammock family, making new brothers and sisters all the time. With Oak Hammock being an inclusive community, it is easy to live independently and still have help available when needed. Morsink says staying connected with the people near you and far away is crucial.
Morsink says Oak Hammock provides a particular type of community that is difficult to find elsewhere. The campus is founded on the idea of inclusivity. As we age, we change. To some of us, some of those changes are good, and others feel like losses. It’s important during these times to remember the roots of our community and focus on the inclusivity with which Oak Hammock was founded.