Participation in the community is important for everyone, but for those with disabilities, it can be essential. Being active in the community allows a person to be visible, allows a person to be seen in light of their abilities, rather than their disabilities, and it provides social interaction and fellowship. Volunteerism can help build a resume toward paid work. Most importantly, we volunteer because being human means giving what we have when we are able.
All of this is hard to do in the age of Covid. My family is almost completely isolating. So, when a chance comes along to help out, it’s a great opportunity. Annie’s Uncle Joe is a high school teacher in a poorly funded school district. The district is going back to school in a few weeks, in person. Like most public school teachers, Uncle Joe is paying out of pocket for supplies for his students, and this year, that includes masks.
Uncle Joe dropped off 50 white cotton masks at our house, with a request that Annie tie-dyes them. We have spent two days tie-dying. Our fingers are stained, there’s purple dye on the deck, but those kids are going to have masks. Awesome, colorful, vibrant masks that hopefully make their days a little brighter.
It’s been a joyful activity. I’ve been sneaking in the reminders about giving and sharing with the community, and about how it’s great that she’s volunteering her time in this way. We will look for more opportunities to volunteer. For now, they will have to be socially distanced, and we will be getting creative. Stay tuned.