Blog written by Dawn Nelson, Equinox Business Law Group
As I was reading an article the other day about children with special needs, I came across a quote that seemed to sum up every feeling and thought that I, a parent of a special needs child, have ever felt. “Being compassionate is not sufficient.” Compassion is needed and wanted, but it is simply not ever going to be enough for my son or for others with special needs. It’s because being a complete person means more than just existing, it is about living life, learning and growing. Being complete means growing in relationships with others and finding what role you play in this world. For my son and many others, they have found this sense of belonging through playing sports.
I was talking with a co-worker and learned they had a family member who had become seriously disabled as a child. This family member had always been adventurous and loved sports, but with his disability that left him paralyzed, playing sports required additional creativity, expenses and support. He is now an adult who is wheelchair bound, but participates in skiing and other activities thanks to the generosity and commitment of others around him. The purpose and fulfillment that he feels is immense, and without sports, they said his life wouldn’t be the same.
The same goes for a young girl my husband had the benefit of coaching this year. To her peers and teachers at school she was known as a trouble maker that was “awkward” and “annoying”. This often left her alienated and alone. Through the sports season I watched this young 11 year old girl find herself. She discovered that she was able to listen when someone took the time to explain what was happening around her. She gained new friendships because she learned social boundaries of touch and sound through play. She also discovered that playing and running was fun and that she was really good at it. This used to be a sad girl who sat in the grass crying, and by the last day of the season we saw a girl filled with joy and hope as she played on a field with 10 new friends. She found an environment to learn and grow where she was accepted and loved. She now has skills that will carry her into adult hood and potentially a job or career.
1 in 5 Americans have a disability and the need for special population programs is growing. Children and adults with disabilities need a place to find belonging, and they need a place to learn and grow their life skills in an environment they understand. Those in need are our children, family and fellow community members. Each of us can find ways to participate in developing programs and education for this growing population. We can participate directly through volunteering our time, or we can donate resources in partnership with organizations such as Special Olympics.
As for Equinox, we have chosen to not only be compassionate, because compassion is not enough, but we have chosen to donate time, energy and resources for Special Olympics Washington (SOWA) which serves our communities special needs population. Why? Because SOWA has a reputation for excellence and broad reach in the community. On August 21 we ask for your support in helping us raise $18K to support programs for special needs children and adults through Special Olympics. We will have dinner, live music, silent auction and a dessert auction at Bake’s Place in Bellevue. It is sure to be a night of inspiration and we would like for you to join us. You will also have a chance to meet athletes including my son Nathaniel. They are sure to inspire you. For more information please visit our events page and click on the events tab to the right. We hope to see all of you there!
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