- Posted October 21, 2012 by
The spirit of the season, and how it can change lives
The curious and amused glances at the group seem to reinforce that belief. Who are these children and why are they here? This isn’t for them, it is ours. They aren’t part of us, they don’t belong. One or two actually make the mistake of airing these particular comments within earshot of the groups Matron. She chooses not to let the comments pass, not with the hearts of those she is trying to reach breaking before her. She rises to her feet, and draws the attention from the children and onto herself.
A stately older woman stands before the group of children. The steel in her eyes daring the same in her hair to claim infirmity or weakness. Age has not humbled this woman; it has given her strength and a drive born passion for the young people before her. She makes eye contact with each member of her audience, drawing them in with her gaze.
“Enough, you do not need to look so uncomfortable here tonight.” She reassures them.
“Do you believe that you don’t belong here?” She asks, although it is obvious to anyone listening that the question is rhetorical.
“I want each of you to look to your left and then to your right. I want you to see where you are right now with open eyes.” She pauses for a moment, before continuing. “You are as good, as worthwhile as anyone else in this room tonight.” She gestures broadly, encompassing the room filled with upper echelon of Louisville, Kentucky. “They have more money than you, more authority than you. They have families, while you do not. They are the best of our community gathered here tonight for entertainment.”
She pauses again, pushing a strand of silver hair away from her face. She wants her next words to be remembered by these young people for years to come.
“Each of you matter as much, have as much value, and as much potential as anyone else in this room tonight.” “You belong in this world, in this moment just as much as they do. You can make the choice to let your past define you, your differences define you or you can decide that this is the life you deserve. I believe in you, and I know that you will make me proud.”
She starts to sit, but is halted by the sound of clapping from nearby. Those in the audience that aren’t a part of the group and have overheard her words are showing their agreement. The children are most welcome to be a part of their world. They aren’t outcasts, orphans, autistics or wards. Not for tonight. Tonight, they are part of the audience. They are part of something larger and greater. Tonight they get a glimpse of the future that is possible for them if they choose to grasp it.
While the play is amazing, and one of the most memorable occasions in the young children’s lives it pales in comparison to the feeling of belonging, of hope, and of possibilities that the silver haired woman has given them.
I write this from personal memory, as many of my articles are written. This was one of the most important moments of my life as a young person. It is one thing to go to a movie theatre, to a ball game, or any other event as part of an group home or orphanage. That happens on a regular basis as a reward for what is considered good behavior. This was something very different. This was life changing.
A play is seen by many as something that the rich enjoy. It is to the wealthy elite what a night at the local movie theatre is to the common man. The time spent in preparation even if you are just in the audience in an effort to put on your best face for your peers is considered time well spent. It is a social event, even more so than an entertainment event.
That night, was the first time in our young lives, we have ever felt that we belonged in the same room as everyone else. We weren’t the broken, unloved and unwanted children of society. That night, we got to be part of something that we as a group never believed was possible for us. For that night, for those moments in time we were equal to the best of society and part of a long tradition dating back to the days of the great philosophers. It was our first taste of culture, and it made each of us hungry for more.
It is my hope that Guardian Transition Services, Inc. can help make a night like this a reality for the children in our community. Every child, regardless of disability, parentage, station or financial status should have the chance to own this type of moment in time. They deserve that moment of equality and the glimpse into their future it can provide.
While I have a soft spot in my heart for the autism community as I am a member, we as a company would like to see this be an opportunity for every single child in the community who would not otherwise have had the chance to be exposed to this level of artistry or culture.
Every child deserves to see the best that our culture has to offer. Every child, living in every group home, placement setting, foster home or in the case of the very lucky the home of their birth deserves this chance to be a part of greatness. I know this won’t be easy to accomplish. I know that it will be expensive, time consuming and most likely frustrating. We don’t care about any of that. What matters is making this chance happen for those that need it most.
If you are interested in helping our company to create this event and broaden the horizons of the children in our community please contact Marcus Morris at the following:
406 698 1679