Today was my first day to go on my Volunteer Odyssey. I was sent to SRVS which is pronounced as “serves.” This non-profit is where adults with disabilities can come learn new tasks through sensory play, art, music, dance, reading, math, and apartment living to even cooking in the kitchen. When I first learned that I would be going to SRVS, I was really nervous but excited. Even though I am an adult, I have never felt comfortable working with people with disabilities. I would never know what to say and I would have trouble figuring out what they are trying to say to me. But all that changed today when I went to SRVS. I just made sure I went in with a positive attitude and talk to them the way you and I would talk.
When I arrived at SRVS, I was introduced to Allison Renner who gave me a tour of the facility and she discussed what the clients get to do in each area. I felt like I was at a really cool school with fun activities to keep me busy all day long. Then I was placed in a room where I helped the clients with sensory play. Even though I was still a little nervous, I finally felt at ease once I sat down and started working with Rosalyn and Denitia. Rosalyn was working on tracing her letters and repeating what each letter was. Denitia was working on numbers by looking at the number and putting the right amount of sticks in each slot. I was also introduced to Debby who is a teacher that floats from room to room. She talked to me about the sensory play that they teach to each client. A simple task, for example, taking marbles out of one bucket and placing those marbles into another bucket would be easy for a person like you and me, but for people with developmental disabilities, it could take a year to learn. I could see the excitement in their faces once they got that task accomplished and in Debby’s face on getting to witness their accomplishments. I believe it is rewarding when you can simply see the smile on their faces light up. After sensory play, we got a break and watched The Price is Right, which they really love to watch them spin the wheel. They love to pretend that they are spinning the wheel and call out the numbers for the right price. Before I knew it, it was time to go to lunch. Overall, I believed I learn more from them than they did from me. Just because they have a disability does not mean they are incapable of doing a simple task, they just need the extra guidance to help keep them be independent. I really give credit to the staff because it takes a lot of time and patience to work with their clients on day to day tasks. Once you take the time to be positive and get out of your comfort zone anything is possible.
I am truly blessed to know that Memphis SRVS “serves” people no matter what the disability. This is a very happy place to go to if you ever get the opportunity. Before coming to SRVS, when I would be out in public and see a person with a disability I would try to avoid them. I know that was wrong. We are all God’s children and deserved to be loved and treated with respect. Just because a person might be different does not mean we should treat them different. As it says in the Bible, “Every good and perfect gift comes from the Father above.” Bottom line; do not be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. You never know what might be in store for you.
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