Our annual event for seniors and adults with disabilities from Handicapables, a Catholic Charities group, was held on campus September 12. Seventeen sophomores hosted approximately 30 guests.
The day at Bellarmine was filled with socialization, games, music, lunch and celebration of Mass by Fr. Roide.
Following are student reflections from three sophomores who participated in the day.
Going into the Handicapables event, I was not sure what to expect. I understood that interactions between myself and the elderly would be occurring, but was unaware how much the members of Handicapables loved coming to Bellarmine. When my classmates and I were serving lunch, Terry, an elderly woman, said, "You guys are such well-mannered young men. We love coming back every year." This comment opened my eyes to the joy we provide for these adults. For the most part, we are very blessed people, and so are all of the members of Handicapables. Tony and Ashley, members of "Magic Makers," performed for everyone, showing that all of God's children have gifts.
~ Quinton Markett ‘18
On Saturday, September 12, I volunteered for the Handicapables event at Bellarmine. This was a new experience for me even though I have experience working with children with mental disabilities. Getting to know these people felt like a blessing because I could tell that they had a lifetime full of experiences that I could learn from. Each and every person was so vastly different and special and I could SEE that. As I worked with people who had a variety of difficulties and challenges, I could see that everyone was enjoying life in their special way, ways that I don't always see in normal functioning people. I saw this when one person played the keyboard and sang for the congregation and everyone listened or even danced. I also saw this when two adults with mental challenges told me how they were dating and may get married in the future. The people I met really changed how I saw life because they allowed me to see things past face value, such as the actual quality of a relationship and the blessing of musical talent. I am looking forward to participating in this event again in the future, even though it won't qualify as hours toward my junior requirement.
~ Jacob Minic ‘18
Being able to come to Bell every day is easy. For me, at least. We take for granted things that many others don’t easily have access to. Before working at the Handicapables event, it never occurred to me that many people have to jump through hoops to get where they need or want to be. Having been helped and given many things, such as wonderful parents to drive me to school, is something that I took very much for granted. Some of the wonderful men and women I met during the event simply did not enjoy the luxuries that I had and had to rely on public transit and other similar services to arrive at an event. Going into the event, I was apprehensive about meeting strangers and conversing with them as friends. Even more so, I was concerned I would let them down, as many of them had enjoyed the event before. However, during the course of the whole event, it seemed as if we were the guests, not them. With the exception of attending to them, serving meals and acting as escorts, they helped us settle in, with their cheerful demeanors and large smiles.
Beginning with Mass, we partook in a spiritual event to help all settle in, as well as to support others with issues in their lives. For example, one of the attendees, Roxanne, asked the congregation to pray for her friend, Dave, as he seemed to have lost his way. From there we moved on to a games session, in which we competed in friendly competition with the seniors, playing games such as Connect Four or checkers. Several of them were excellent players as well as very gracious winners, as I know personally with my successive losses against a checkers master, Luis. Time flew by, and lunch came upon us, and we served the elders with a lunch that they immensely enjoyed. Finally, we finished the event with a lovely concert featuring Tony and Ashley, two of the singers of a special-needs band named Magic Makers. Singing old-school tunes like “Stop in the Name of Love” to new ones like “Roar” by Katy Perry, the singers’ voices filled the room with merriment, and even some of the seniors and special-needs attendees began to dance.
Being able to attend this event and help out was a truly enlightening experience. Not only did I help contribute and make someone’s day, I learned a lot from people of all different backgrounds, and even more about how to approach my life moving forward. Given the choice, I would gladly attend this event in the future.
~ Jeffrey Ma '18