5 Things I Learned From Volunteering With The Special Needs Community
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Health and Wellness

5 Things I Learned From Volunteering With The Special Needs Community

There is SO much good in the world.

2008
5 Things I Learned From Volunteering With The Special Needs Community
Emily Rosenfeld

In eighth grade, I began volunteering at Special Olympics basketball practices. It was like my eyes were opened to a whole new world of joy and endless excitement.

I became involved with an organization called Athletes Helping Athletes, Inc. (AHA), which betters the life of both special needs athletes and student-athletes by creating an environment of inclusion and mutual inspiration.

From then on, volunteering with the special needs community became an essential part of my high school experience. I am so grateful for the experiences and friendships I gained through volunteering with AHA and also the Autism Cares Foundation. Here are just a few lessons I learned from my interactions with the special needs community.

1. The smallest things can have the biggest impact

It’s easy to get caught up in the big actions, decisions, and moments in life. Volunteering with special needs children and adults has shown me how the smallest actions, from a simple “hello,” high five, or even just a smile, can make someone else’s day.

2. Appreciate what you are given

A lot of times we take for granted our basic abilities like being able to ride a bike, hang out with friends, or play sports. By working with organizations that help provide these opportunities to people with disabilities, I was able to see how lucky I am to be able to do all of these things on my own.

3. Patience is key

People can become discouraged when they interact with people who aren’t similar to them. It can be frustrating as a volunteer trying to make someone happy and feeling like you can’t get through to them. I have learned that you need to be patient and take the time to understand the other person. Everything takes time.

4. Acceptance

Volunteering has given me a new perspective on life that includes accepting everyone for their differences. It’s also important to appreciate how our differences make us all unique.

5. There are A LOT of good people in the world

Through my experiences volunteering, I have met so many amazing people who have a passion for helping others. From families to volunteers to the wonderful and extraordinary people who lead organizations like AHA, I am inspired to be a better person. It’s so refreshing to be surrounded by such genuine, kind, and open-minded people and it’s so nice to know that people like that exist in the world.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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