Baillie Locke found out a lot about Down’s Syndrome first hand. A young lady in her school, Tiffany, lives with the disorder and Baillie noticed her each day during classes. Because of her compassion for this young lady, Ballie chose to do community service with the Bruce Peninsula Association for Community Living.
The Association helps out those who are mentally challenged. Ballie began to connect with Tiffany and learn and become more familiar with Down’s Syndrome. She also learned what special needs persons may have and how she can help them and others. Because of Ballie’s concern for Tiffany, the entire school became more aware of Tiffany, Down’s Syndrome and what they could do as an educational community to serve those with Down’s Syndrome.
Ballie and Tiffany developed a relationship and soon became friends. Ballie became better acquainted with Tiffany’s everyday life and all of the challenges and victories she experiences on a normal basis. Tiffany appreciated the help and recognition; but she most was excited about having a new friend in Ballie. Tiffany was excited that Ballie accepted her for who she was and applauded her abilities and differences.
Ballie then decided to branch out and help others with similar needs. She presented herself to Community Living and helped to produce a fun program that would raise money to improve their programs for the mentally challenged. As a result of Ballie’s concern and efforts, Community Living now hosts a trail ride annually as a fundraiser. Those with horses are welcome to come with their horse and pledges. Since Community Living clients cannot ride their own horse, horse drawn wagons are brought in so that they can ride. After the trail ride, everyone who raised money for Community Living participates in a barbecue lunch. There is also a time to distribute prizes that are donated by the community. Ballie is responsible for organizing the event and making sure everything runs smoothly during the event. During the day of the event she brings her horse around to the cleints so they can pet and enjoy the company of a horse.
For the past five years this event has been held, Ballie has raised approximately $8,000 per year for this organization. Most of this money goes into a fund that will pay for a new home to be built for a mentally challenged child that has been given up by hteir family because the family may not have the money or knowledge to make sure the child is properly cared for. This year’s money is going toward training an adult volunteer to live with and care for a children who has been given up because they have seizures and aggressive attacks. The house as well has to be modified so that it is safe for the child and so that he will not hurt himself.
Ballie plans to continue her service with the organization. She is pleased to be a part of the effort that makes those who society may look at as “different” just like everyone else and a part of something fun and exciting. Next year, she hopes to also be a part of the torch run that also is a fundraising for Community Living.