Friday, May 30, 2014

Good News Friday!

Last month, I shared a great story about an individual served by Imagine! who is volunteering to assist others in need.

Today I’d like to share two similar stories, offering more evidence of the fact that individuals with intellectual disabilities can and do make remarkable contributions to their communities every single day.

Jordan at the Longmont Library
I’ll start with Jordan. Jordan, who participates in Imagine!’s Out & About program, lends a hand to the Longmont Public Library twice a week, putting books back on the shelf in the children’s section. It all started in January of 2010. Jordan was involved in a program called Work Experience at his high school, and was assigned a job coach. His coach introduced him to the library and taught him how to put the books back in order. “The job was a little hard at first and now it is great,” said Jordan. “It taught me how to organize in alphabetical order and numbers.”

In January of 2011, the Work Experience program disbanded. Jordan’s job coach talked with the library staff and asked if he could continue working there as a volunteer. The library agreed as long as Jordan’s mother is present while he volunteers. “Jordan and his mother have been an invaluable asset to our library. We just love when they come,” said Elektra Greer, Jordan’s library supervisor. Elektra works in the children’s section and has overseen Jordan’s work since he started. She feels Jordan’s involvement is a testament that they are a public library and inclusive to the community.

 “Jordan is more organized since he started the volunteer gig,” said Debbie, Jordan’s mom. “His room is pretty orderly. He makes his bed and everything is where it’s supposed to be. What he does at the library and at home seem to match up pretty well.”

Jordan arrives, signs in, puts on his volunteer badge, and immediately walks over to the book cart. “It’s great for his self-esteem to have something he can own and give him a sense of accomplishment,” said Debbie.

“For us, it has definitely been a win-win,” said Elektra.

And here’s another inspiring story of someone served by Imagine! who is volunteering to make the world a better place.

Carl helps repair a home damaged by Hurricane Sandy
I have written about Carl before, when he traveled to New Orleans to help repair homes damaged by Hurricane Katrina. Well, Carl is still at it, this time helping neighborhoods recover from Hurricane Sandy.

From May 5 – 9, Carl, along with fellow parishioners from First Congregational Church in Boulder, traveled to New York and worked with the Tunnel to Towers Foundation in Staten Island to help rebuild homes that were damaged by that devastating storm. The group stayed at a Moravian Church in Great Kills, Staten Island, and worked on two sites. One of the sites had been repaired after Sandy but received new damage due to a flood that occurred just a couple of weeks ago.

Carl is pictured using a sheet rock lift in one of the homes in which they worked. This was a device that several members of the group had never worked with before. Carl lifted and lowered the sheet rock several times. He worked on installing insulation, screwing in sheet rock, cleaned up the house, and, of course, recycled. He picked up bottles and cans wherever the group was and he returned them to the local grocery stores for a refund.

Thank you Jordan and Carl, I am humbled by your commitment to serving others.

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