To the Volunteers of Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra
by Dave Owings, 2004-2005 Volunteer Coordinator - May 5, 2005
Being a volunteer makes you a better human being.
We all do things for other people, and working with the disabled community makes us nice people. But to actually be a better human being, means that you bring some element of the human spirit that is not often seen or heard of. Giving your own free time to something and watching it grow and develop means you give up one of the most important things you own; your time.
Giving money is nice, and believe me, everyone in the world could be nicer, but money is something that you can always make more of. Give it away, just make more. But time, time is something precious, something we can’t just give away freely and get more to replace what we gave away. When you give away your time; that is a selfless act many people cannot do. For that, I salute you.
Being a volunteer makes you a more patient person.
We all work well with people, but it is in the trying times we know who we really are. Working with kids and adults alike can be frustrating when you are trying to find the golden moment. That moment when everything clicks and it’s all downhill from there. But, until you find that moment when it all makes sense, it is all trial and error. Falling down, getting back up, and then falling down is frustrating to both you and the student. From your perspective, the task at hand is not too difficult and you feel like you are showing them the perfect demonstration. You feel it is so easy they should get it right away. From their perspective, this task is hard to do or hard to follow and they make it look so easy, why can’t I get this? Having the ability to take the steps and make them successful requires a tolerance for failures and the resolve to turn those failures into success. For that, I salute you.
Being a volunteer makes you a more understanding individual.
We can always put ourselves in the shoes of someone like us. Walking in the shoes of someone whose life is wholly different from ours takes imagination, empathy, and an open mind. Knowing what to try and why it can work makes you far more in tune to possibilities than most people. Knowing how and why someone can process the information you are giving them and making adjustments to the material you are presenting them with makes you understanding and compassionate. For that, I salute you.
Being a volunteer makes this program work.
Without you we are nothing. It is your commitment to this program that makes it what it is. The students come in from their lessons with smiles on their faces and gleams in their eyes. The only way this can happen is when you take the time to give them the chance to enjoy themselves.
Spending time working with you all has been a great experience. I look forward to working alongside all of you next year. You have all taught me a lot, and I am privileged to call you my friends. Thank you - Dave.