Lessons For Life This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

   Just because people are physically or mentally challenged is no reason to laugh or make fun of them. I learned this when I was in junior high and volunteered for the C.H.A.R.M.S.S. program. This program is a volunteer program which matches a student with a special needs student during a free period.

Throughout my life, I've been around people with disabilities. My cousin has Downs syndrome. She is my favorite person in the world. She is like a normal 14-year-old and her disability doesn't faze her. I decided to use my experience with my cousin to help others with special needs. I'm not claiming to be an expert.

The first day I volunteered, I met Kevin, a 16-year-old Downs syndrome boy, who was learning to write his name. It was my job to teach him. I worked with Kevin during every free class I had until we perfected his name. As I look back on my experiences with Kevin and the others, I can't understand why people would laugh or judge when they don't know anything about them.

I consider myself lucky that I had an opportunity to volunteer for such a program because I made many great friends, not only the teachers, but the students as well.

I am in high school now and although my work with C.H.A.R.M.S.S. students is over, I continue to work with one challenged person two days a week ... my cousin. I actually wouldn't call it work because all I do is watch TV and hang out with her because that's what you do with your friends ... isn't it!

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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Lily">This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Jan. 10 at 4:02 am
i love this so much!
susan1223 said...
May 2, 2009 at 3:45 pm
Is this the C.H.A.R.M.S.S school that stands for the first letter of each town students are from?
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