One of the things I love about my job at Easter Seals Greater Houston, is the inspiration the students in our Highschool HighTech Program give me. Their creativity, their joy and their potential inspire me to try my best to help them beat the odds. Students with disabilities are much more likely to drop out of school, to be bullied or abused and to wind up needing government assistance later in life – especially if they don’t have people in their lives helping them see their potential and helping them gain the skills they need to succeed.
I try to instill these same things in my own children. At my kids’ school, Darwin Gilmore Elementary, they have enrichment clusters. Students are placed in their cluster based on grade level and interest. They usually get three choices. Every early release day (and a few other mornings) the students spend several hours in their cluster. I volunteered at my daughter’s school in a cluster where they learned a skill or craft or about things like the rainforest or animals. At the end of the year there is a Cluster Showcase where the students show off what they learned. Some clusters sell their items and can decide to donate the proceeds to a charitable organization.
My daughter’s cluster was called Tulle Time. The girls learned about making tutu’s and hair accessories out of tulle. We spent some time learning about what a charity is and we discussed different charities. We also discussed what it means to have a disability and learned a little about different types of disabilities (at a kindergarten level).
I was so proud that our cluster choose Easter Seals as our charity. The girls were very excited to have our proceeds donated to Easter Seals Greater Houston and to help kids with disabilities. The tutu’s sold out pretty fast…but that didn’t stop these girls. They made a jar and signs that said “sold out- donations accepted”.
I loved their entrepreneurial spirit, their joy in making something that people loved and that, without hesitation, they decided they wanted to help other children who could use their support. The $130 they raised is not the biggest gift Easter Seals will get, but I know that it was given with real joy. I hope they may inspire other people to use their talent and joy to help someone else!
By Yvonne Kelly, High School High Tech Coordinator