Thursday, March 15, 2012

Late to the game

Last week or the week before, there was the campaign "Spread the Word to End the Word".

I have a sister who, in the past, was classified as "mentally retarded". She has disabilities. She needs help completing some tasks, she is completely self-sufficient in others. She can't drive, she can't work full time, and in order for her to go to school, there has to be serious modifications made in order for her to grasp the material.

I feel that campaigns like this can be kinda...pointless. We all click and share thinking we did our part to raise awareness. But what do you do the other 364 days of the year? Are you volunteering your time to go cheer on Special Olympics athletes at their tournaments? Are you coaching for a few hours during the week? Donating or raising money to support a local charity that helps mentally challenged kids and adults?

So I challenge you. Yes, you.

Spend some time with someone who is mentally retarded disabled. Google information for your state/local Special Olympic office, find out some information about a local team or sports tournament. See if there is a Challenger Baseball League nearby. Ask what you can do to help. Spend some time with the disabled community. You'll find that they're smart, engaging, and a joy to be around. They'll surprise you with their skills or knowledge about particular subjects. Their accomplishments will put your own to shame (my sister was picked to represent USA at the Special Olympic World Games in 2009. She came home with 2 Gold medals and 1 Silver...nothing I have done will ever match that).

Volunteer your time - a few hours every week or a day. Enjoy their celebration of life.

Be amazed.
Be inspired.

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