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Realization of a Goal This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     When I startedvolunteering five summers ago, my sole purpose was to make adifference in someone's life. I assisted the elderly,participated in the Texas Beach Cleanup and helped with othervolunteer projects. Last summer I realized that even though Ihad assisted others, I had not actually fulfilled my goal ofmaking a difference. Within a short time, I found thatopportunity.

I applied for and was chosen to be a headcounselor at a summer camp at the San Antonio Children'sHabilitation Center. Since this was Camp Funshine's firstsummer in existence, it was up to me and two other counselorsto create a program filled with games and therapeuticactivities for disabled children. The children's disabilitiesranged from Cerebral Palsy to autism, which made it difficultto accommodate everyone. Through hard work and a lot ofconstructive criticism, we created an innovativeprogram.

To make a long story short, Funshine was acomplete success. The children had great fun maneuvering theobstacle courses in the physical therapy gym, making macaroninecklaces in a room decorated with their favorite Disneycharacters and experiencing the wonders of swimming in thepool. One boy, Scott, overcame his fear of strangers andbecame one of my close companions. His mother was amazed howcomfortable he was at camp - usually he could not tolerateunfamiliar surroundings. Another child overcame his fear ofwater; after days of coaxing, he finally entered the pool. Hecried at first, but after a little distraction with a watergun and a rubber duck, he was swimming on his own in the deepend.

Although less apparent at first, I realized that Ihad also benefited from the camp. I now understand thestruggles disabled children face every day and have a deeprespect for them and their parents. I also feel much morecomfortable and compassionate toward children withdisabilities, and know that just because they are disableddoes not mean they're much different from other kids. Theystill like to laugh, play and read stories. At the end of thesummer, I left camp with a good feeling. I not only became abetter person, but I'd also reached my goal of making adifference in someone else's life, too.




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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