Thursday, September 3, 2009

Terry Allen and Walmart was the star of the last post. Can you guess this star?

This star won the 2007 Citizenship Award from the ARC of Indiana and I cannot think of anyone that exemplifies the value of being a good citizen more than this star! She is a 22 year old with Down syndrome and she has volunteered more 200 hours with Down Syndrome Indiana. This star volunteers in the office every Wednesday. When she first began volunteering for the organization, I had her doing “light” work like labeling the books for the lending library and shredding the pile of papers that needed to be disposed of in a confidential manner. As I came to know this star, I realized that she wanted more meaningful work where she could be sharpening her skills as well as contributing to the organization. It turns out that this star is great on the computer and very careful not to make errors or to thoroughly check that any errors have been corrected. This made this volunteer my right hand (wo)man for data entry. Until a new database was implemented, she was responsible for adding about 2,500 donors to the mailing list from our annual fundraising event called the Buddy Walk®. I honestly don’t know where I would be without this star. The most wonderful thing about her is that she comes to the office week after week just as enthusiastic about helping as she did the first time. She always tells me how happy she is to work at Down Syndrome Indiana. But the truth is, we are lucky to have her!

Not only does this star volunteer for DSI but, she also volunteers for Community North Hospital and Best Buddies Indiana as well as working part-time at Kohls and the YMCA.

Other ways that she exemplifies the meaning of a good citizen are to eat right, exercise regularly and to encourage others not to smoke. Stop smoking campaigns are a passion of this volunteers.

You know those posters, “Everything I Need to Know, I learned in Kindergarten”? Well this star is the one that inspired me to begin one entitled, “Everything I Need to Know I Learned from Down Syndrome”. This is some of what this star has taught me:

Manners matter.

Being polite is important.

Love what you do.

Share your dreams.

Share your lunch.

Remove all obstacles.

Greet the ones you love with a hug or just greet everyone with a hug.

Pray before you eat.

Include your loved ones in your daily prayers.

Do your best all the time.

Ask questions when you don’t know the answer.

Eat a balanced diet.

Exercise and make it fun.

Be honest.

Slow and steady wins the race.

Words can hurt feelings.

Always focus on what you do have and not on what you don’t have.

Accept it and move on.

Be courageous.

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