The Blue & Gray Press

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Volunteer to Change a Life, Possibly Impact Your Own

2 min read

Have you ever noticed that almost everything in this world is designed without giving consideration to individuals that are visually impaired, deaf or unable to walk?

Even people that have a non-traditional disability, like myself, such as being left-handed, have a difficult time adjusting to simple things like sitting at right-handed desks or eating dinner without elbowing the person sitting beside us.

Narrow hallways make it tricky to maneuver a wheelchair, and what good is a class in a trailer if there aren’t handicap accessible ramps?

Even subtle things, such as scissors, are made without thinking of the challenges they might pose for a lefty. I face many of these challenges every time I go to work.

Many individuals will admit that volunteering, helping out around the community and working jobs that involve the less fortunate are selfless acts. However, few people make it a priority to follow through with such endeavors.

During the past month, I had the privilege of meeting a young woman diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. After meeting her, I felt so compelled to help her that I began sobbing as I pulled out of her driveway.

Makeup was streaming down my face and I was barely able to keep my hands on the steering wheel.

I knew I wanted to make a difference in this girl’s life.

Cerebral Palsy is a neurological disorder affecting one’s movement, coordination, and balance.

Sometimes at birth, or within the first few years of life, the brain loses the ability to adequately control the body.

Symptoms vary case-by-case, but it is not uncommon for cerebral palsy to affect an individual’s speech, ability to walk, and other vital motor skills.

In addition, many individuals diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy are confined to wheelchairs. While this disorder is non-progressive in nature, it’s also non-curable.

Since beginning work as an attendant, I find myself paying close attention to details like whether or not buildings have handicap entrances.

While being in charge of another person’s life is a tremendous responsibility, I’ve found that, it’s not a responsibility, but a privilege to be around such a fun and inspiring individual.

Although I only recently began my job, I have never been so compelled to make a difference in someone else’s life.

If I accomplish nothing else during my short time on Earth, I hope that devoting my time and energy to another person makes their life a little easier, and if nothing else, provides them with hope for the future.

If this turns out to be the case, then I have accomplished my goal.

The next time you receive an e-mail or hear about a volunteer opportunity, please take the time to read it.

Occasionally, everyone should take a break from their hectic schedule and never-ending schoolwork to engage in unrelated activities. The possibilities are endless, and if you’re lucky, the experience may be life changing.

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