disabled population

Daily Point of Light #4338, Marie Alfano

Marie Alfano, a Registered Nurse, realizes the value of helping children and as a volunteer, she has been dedicating time to serving children and their families for over 30 years.  She spends most of her free time, volunteering with Joining Hands, a non-profit organization that helps terminally ill and permanently handicapped children and their families. 

Daily Point of Light #4286, LaDrene Coyne

Preparing for, and finding a job in this economy is difficult task. Add a disability into the mix, and the obstacles to employment may feel utterly insurmountable. But disabled residents in the state of Washington have someone to help them overcome both the fear and the challenges of employment, and her name is LaDrene Coyne.

Daily Point of Light #4200, Gloria Owczarski

One of the greatest gifts a volunteer can give is not just a dollar, a lesson, or a bit of their time, but a new feeling or confidence in the person they are helping. Gloria Owczarski’s Day of Beauty does this by beauty treatments to kids with special needs. Using her own experience with the special needs population as inspiration, she has inspired others to do the same. Growing up with a sister with Down Syndrome, Gloria has always had an interest in the welfare of the special needs population. Already a swim couch for the Special Olympics, Gloria decided she could do more.

Daily Point of Light #4196, George Saidah

George Saidah has used a pastime of his and has invented a program where children with special needs, specifically those with the conditions of autism and Down’s Syndrome, can learn the power of sailing the open waters.  Hearts of Sailing offers free sailing trips to those children affected by such disorders like autism and Down’s Syndrome.

Daily Point of Light #3987, Elle Bacon

Elle has been volunteering with special needs kids for eight years and she’s only 16. Over her years as a volunteer, she has coached basketball and bowling among other positions. Elle recognized a need—the special needs basketball team her brother was coaching didn’t have a cheerleading squad.  Elle is currently serving as the cheerleading coach for a special needs squad that goes to the Special Olympics every winter. And at 16, she runs the program singlehandedly.

Daily Point of Light 3956, Laura Wysocki

Laura Wysocki broke her elbow playing soccer and noticed an ad in the paper for volunteers. The program assigns Special Needs students with a "buddy" for one-on-one instruction in the rules of the game of soccer and the spirit of teamwork. Being a buddy to little Gordon is an eye opener for Laura. Born with Down Syndrome and a weak heart, Gordon has undergone two heart surgeries. Gordon does not know anything about soccer, is reluctant to play, and is notorious for running of the field every opportunity he can. After several weeks of cajoling, Gordon attempts to dribble the ball!

Daily Point of Light 3946, Richard Miles

Please be inspired by Richard Miles’ story of service. I first came across HorsePower at my college in New Hampshire. Once I got started in the program I found that I liked volunteering my services for this program. What motivated me to continue volunteering at this Program for all 4 years of my college career was the changes I got to see in the people riding the horses.

Daily Point of Light 3931, Kenneth Prather

Kenneth Prather is on disability retirement due to a chronic disorder by the name of Ankylosing Spondylitis. In addition, he was also hurt in 1998. This resulted in him being on life support for 32 days, three months in a long term intensive care hospital, and three years in a nursing home.

Daily Point of Light 3916, Haley Lynch and Katie Vahle

Haley Lynch, age 11, and her friend Katie Vahle, age 12, started a youth volunteer group called H & K’s Service Paws with the goals of providing service dogs free of charge to disabled youth and providing valuable information about service animals to their greater community. Through their annual “Amanda’s Dog Festival” and various fundraising projects they provide children who are visually impaired or physically disabled with independence through the use of highly trained service dogs.

Daily Point of Light 3912, Mike Heike

We know that life is full of lessons. Some we learn the easy way, and some we learn the hard way. Mike Heikes was riding in the front seat of a car in 1982 with one of his friends. Both had been drinking, and Mike was not wearing a seat belt. His friend missed a curve in the road at a high rate of speed, and they were involved in a car accident. The accident occurred the weekend before Mike was due to began college.

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