Post from the hubby:
I have wonderful students. They are all unique and different in their own way. However, there are a couple of students that have a special and wonderful connection towards children/adults with special needs.
Today, a group of six students, joined me in volunteering at a bowling event for the City’s Special Olympics. My students were assigned a lane where they had to assist bowlers according to their needs. I was the pit boss. I needed to walk around to assist anyone that may need a little bit of extra help.
I wasn’t sure how we would do since I have little to no knowledge of bowling and it’s rules. But I didn’t need to worry. I was amazed and proud of my students and their willingness to go the extra mile to accommodate each bowler and each situation. They were hands on and made every moment count. When the first round of bowlers had finished, the students and I went to get some lunch. I sat back and heard their stories of how much they were enjoying the event.
But it was the following round that really touched me. There was only one bowler in our 3 lanes, no one else showed up. Jacob was assigned to us. He was a twenty-something year old young man who has autism. He came with his mom and dad. The parents were not allowed to be with us in the bowling lanes. They had to sit back and let our team take care of their son. The dad was visibly worried. He was very nervous and kept giving instructions to my students about possible scenarios that may occur. He also showed them basic sign language. I arrived a little later, and he noticed my autism shirt. I said, “I have a 6-year old non-verbal son who has Autism”. He smiled. He shook my hand, we understood each other. We knew how special the situation was. Again, because there were no other bowlers, my students and I were able to focus on Jacob the entire bowling round. Mom and dad sat on the back taking pictures and watched their son have the time of his life with his new six friends (7 including me). Jacob jumped up and down in excitement, hugged us, kissed me, and communicated with me at times when I was not doing what he wanted me to do. We smiled and laughed, we hugged him, we clapped for him, for every moment of victory as if he had just won the worlds bowling championship. A couple of times I had to hold my tears because of the emotion in seeing how much beauty in seeing my students interact with such a fine young man.
My students are unique. They come from rough neighborhoods and are all coded as at-risk students. I try to teach them about rising above their problems and start believing about the contributions that they can make to the world. Today was a great day of contribution. We left the event tired and exhausted. But we also left filled with so much joy and accomplishment.
At the end, dad made sure Jacob shook everyone’s hand. He then thanked each one of us for the attention that his son received. He told me he had such a great time seeing his son enjoy this event.