Mary Kate Lindenman
the “Dis” Out of Disabilities
of the volunteering that I participate in is with individuals who
have specials needs, including Autism, Epilepsy, and Down Syndrome.
Working with these individuals is a passion of mine; my sister who
was diagnosed with Autism and Epilepsy has been my inspiration. I
found that children just like her don’t have the same opportunities
as others their age do. This made me want to get more involved with
organizations that offer programs for those with disabilities.
I volunteer at
four different organizations that help people with disabilities. Two
organizations I work with hold music classes, which are both an hour
a week. I am also a Board Member for “Together for the Long Run”.
This is an Unified Track Meet, a fun event that disabled participants
compete in track events and in fun activities like karaoke. Finally,
I volunteer at the Children’s Therapy Center at Memorial Hospital.
I greet patients, call patients with reminders of their appointments,
and observe several therapists. Over all I spend about eight hours a
week volunteering and have done this since my freshman year.
allows me to interact with individuals with special needs on a
regular basis. Whether I’m dancing with them to their favorite
song, or listening to them tell me about their day. It is a great
feeling when they trust you and are able to communicate with you. I
have found my biggest challenge is helping these individuals realize
their abilities. Many participants want to quit when they don’t
understand; I like to try to help them through this and help them
realize that they can complete the task. This task could be as simple
as stepping side to side, which seems super easy for most people, but
it’s hard for some with special needs. These are difficult
situations but very rewarding for the volunteer. When they are able
to finally side step by themselves; it is awesome to see their
have learned that I can teach those with disabilities lessons and
show them they can achieve their goals; they have taught me lessons
as well. I have learned that it takes time to reach a goal, the
importance of perseverance, patience, and a positive attitude.
Because of my sister, and those that I have volunteered with, I am
planning to pursue a degree in Speech Pathology with a specialty in
working with Autistic patients. I believe my experiences will greatly
help me in pursuing this career because I have already learned how to
communicate and work with these individuals.
hope that by volunteering I have truly impacted the individuals that
I work with. I hope to have let them realize that just because they
have a disability doesn’t mean that they can’t reach their goals.
I hope that because I am able to show them what they are truly
capable of, they will be more confident and determined in the future.