Tue. Jan 25th, 2022

As a college student,  at times, you can feel like you have no control over anything. It may be your emotions, your grades, your friendships/ relationships, but I’ve learned the importance of living in the moment, in that day, and realizing that everything is and will be okay.

As an education major, I have an extreme and a never-ending passion for working with students, especially students or individuals with intellectual disabilities.

I was hired my sophomore year of college by the Arc of Chester County in the Recreation Department. As a rec worker, I interact with adults with disabilities every Wednesday night and on weekends. The events are always so much fun for me, and the clients absolutely love it.

For example, we saw the Harlem Globetrotters in Philly, spent a day at Hershey Park, and went on a hayride in the beautiful fall. We have dances at the Arc every holiday including Halloween, Valentine’s Day, and St. Patty’s Day.

The beauty of my job is that I learn something new about life and myself every week, while also having the opportunity to benefit others.

After getting used to the job, the routine, and my duties, I made it a habit to leave my phone in my supervisor’s office during the entire event each week. These days, it seems as though society cannot live without their phone for more than an hour. I myself, am guilty of conforming to the addictive habit of constant texting and always checking my phone that plagues the current generation, but at the Arc, I refrain.

The reason I refrain is because I find that when I go to the Arc, I am always inspired. I am constantly reminded of how lucky I am to have a voice and to have a supportive and loving family. Times like working for the Arc provide me the opportunity to step back and appreciate the blessings in my life.

Whether it’s Hershey Park, a visit from the local nature center, or a dance, the joy of my clients and happiness is never-ending. These amazing individuals who could easily regard their disabilities and everyday challenges with horrible attitudes, have the time of their lives when they interact with their friends at the Arc. So many of my clients have grown up going to the Arc events, and therefore have friends who have also grown up with them. They live for seeing their friends, dancing and laughing all night, and this delight is contagious.

Whenever I walk into the Arc to work, I leave whatever is going on in my life at that time behind me. I do this because I want to be there for my clients. I am there to encourage them to interact and socialize with their clients, to be independent, and to attain their personal goals.

It is amazing that at such a young age I feel so connected to this aspect of education, but I would not have it any other way. I am beyond blessed to learn so much from my clients each week.

I always accept the fact that what I go through is valid and important, and I do have the right to be selfish and sad if that is the case; but I remind myself that it is not the end of the world and that everything will be okay. I think of my clients who find the joy in the smallest things, and it gives me a better appreciation for the blessings in my own life.

I am blessed to work with such amazing people and to have the opportunity to learn so much from individuals who overcome challenges each and every day.

Julie Singer is a second-year student majoring in middle grades preparation and special education with a minor in reading. She can be reached at JS781397@wcupa.edu.

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