I had the pleasure of touring a potential volunteer today and had two wonderful, unexpected experiences.
When the volunteer arrived, I asked why he chose Abilities United for his volunteer work when there are so many other organizations to choose. He told me his personal story which began in 1976 he was a high school basketball player. He and his team came to Abilities United to teach the after school students how to play basketball in preparation for Special Olympics. He had a wonderful time and enjoyed working with the students. They impressed him with their energy and eagerness to learn. Having left an indelible mark on him and his life, he continued to think about that group of kids, his 4 hour long teaching experience, and Abilities United for all these years. Now, 35 years later, he finds himself with more time to donate to a nonprofit agency. He said “I always had Abilities United in the back of my mind and wanted to be able to volunteer and contribute what I can to the organization. Those kids really impressed me. Now I have the time and resources to contribute. I hope I can make a difference. They made a difference in my life.”
While touring this volunteer, one of the men in the Day Activities program came up to greet us. I have know this man for years and he has always come up to greet visitors but would grab a person’s hand and hold on tight. I was surprised, thrilled, and impressed when he walked up to the visitor, reached out his hand, and gently shoot his hand and released his grip within seconds. Wow, what a change in just a few months! I was blown away and learned to always expect the unexpected each time I see the program participants. Each day they are learning new things… it may take a while to “get it”, but then suddenly it will “click” and voila, they have acquired and perfected a new skill. This man was proof of the importance of practicing over and over again an act as common place as shaking hands. Learning such skills is an individual accomplishment and something we need to appreciate, celebrate and value in all people. All people have the ability to learn new things…everyone just learns at their own pace…but they will learn given the instruction that works for their learning style.
What an unexpectedly delightful and educational tour this turned out to be for me and apparently, our new volunteer! If you are interested in seeing Abilities United in action and meeting the individuals who make this organization the wonderful community resource that it is, contact 650-494-0550 or info@AbilitiesUnited.org
Submitted by Wendy Kuehnl, Marketing Director