For this weeks’ Happy News I want to share the story of a young lady I have known for a long time.
In high school she began volunteering to coach various teams, from a community of adults, who are living with physical and mental challenges. She has been a friend, coached, mentored, and organized games and trips to faraway cities so the various teams can compete in basketball, T ball and bowling.
Watching her communicate with some of her friends on the team, who are often hard pressed to get an idea across to others, is watching a miracle in patience and empathy.
Once I watched her develop a touch code with a young man who was mostly blind, deaf and mute. Somehow they communicated and she understood his needs -remarkable!
After high school, and a cruise by college, she spent the last dozen years working in a women’s health clinic that offers all the services that women need in our complicated society.
She continued her participation with “Special Olympians” over the years.
Recently she joined the local school district to become a full time aide to a little six year old saddled with cerebral palsy.
She is with the girl for the entire school day helping with lessons, exercising, bathroom breaks, assisting with the young girls lunch, snacks and any other needs that come up during the day.
She and the little girl have already formed a strong bond as they juggle the rigors and complications of first grade.
Only the parents spend more time with the little angel.
The only time she is away from the little girl is during her thirty-five minute lunch break.
The child’s physical abilities are, at the moment, limited. The hope is she will be able to develop the strength and confidence to use her arms, hands and fingers with much more control in the future.
The little girl has a specially programmed Ipad that allows her to communicate over a broad range of topics. For instance, she can touch an icon of her mother and it will open to share a little information on her mother. Once one knows how to ask the proper question, or elicit a question from her, the Ipad allows a pretty good flow of conversation.
Thank you Apple!
To watch the two of them during class, recreational time and during lunch is to watch two people becoming tied together by the strongest of bonds.
I remind myself never to be surprised as this has been her gift to others for years.
In a society that often overlooks the people who are out there offering themselves to others it’s nice to stop and look around at those who are doing so much for so little. This particular lady is a single mom raising a teenager on a salary that would take her more than two years of loving this little girl to equal what Willard Mitt Romney makes in a single day doing nothing more than saying what he may do given the opportunity.
My hope for the future is built on people like the one described above.
Those that put what’s most important where it belongs-
Thanks from all of us to all of you behind the scenes, holding it all together for all of us.