Youth Forward scholarship 2016 – The Impact of Martha’s Table

Name: Hannah Brown
From: Washington, DC
Grade: 11th
School: ST Johns College High School
Votes: 0


The Impact of Martha’s Table

Being disabled should not mean being disqualified from having access to
every aspect 
of life.” -Emma Thompson When I reflect on this quote I realize that
my experience at Martha’s Table justifies having the ability to
accomplish anything and everything. I began volunteering on June 1,
2015, and I did not know what to expect once I arrived at Martha’s
Table. I volunteered 20 hours per week. The supervisor offered me
the choice to serve food to the less fortunate or work in the
clothing department with the disabled. I decided to assist the
disabled because I love the feeling of knowing that I impact
someone’s life. It was not an easy job to work with people who I
later found out are intellectually delayed.

As a teen I am able to comprehend and follow instructions but for them
they requires someone to repeat instructions many times. Sometimes I
would even witness the disabled become upset because they believed
that they are treated as a child. It is infuriating to have a young
adult follow you around and instruct your every move. There is no
sense of independence whatsoever to do as they please and that
bothered me. I am now aware that being intellectually delayed is a
social injustice because they face challenges that an average person
does not have to worry about. Society views people with disabilities
as an outcast because they are not used to seeing many people that
portray themselves as the disabled.

When I would walk around with them throughout Martha’s Table clothing
store, Martha’s Outfitters, with the intellectually delayed people
stared and whispered. Society deems since the disabled are different
then they do not deserve to have the same privileges as an average
person. Media impacts this perspective as well only portraying
ordinary people without any disabilities. In reality everyone has
some problem that they hide well enough for no one to question.
Martha’s Outfitters addressed the issues of social injustice by
granting the intellectually delayed people responsibilities. It was
something so small like sorting, hanging, and taking the clothing out
to the store floor. However, to them it was something big to have the
ability to be responsible of something like an item because they have
never been trusted before. Whenever they would make a mistake me and
a few others would assist and remind them of the correct way of
handling the clothing. One of the ladies I assisted was difficult to
understand but this organization gave her job of talking and bringing
shoes from the back to the customers. She told me one day that she
enjoys having that duty because she feels that she is the same as
everyone else and is not out casted for the way she communicates. I
never knew how being different is considered such a bad thing to
society. Society needs to adapt to people who are different because
everyone is not created the same.

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