Hullo wonderful Son-Rise friends!
Volunteers – they may not make the world go round, but they sure can make the ride an awful lot easier, especially when they’re helping you carry along your special kid! I have spoken to many parents who are SO grateful to their volunteers for assisting in their Son-Rise Programs, and I wanted to give a different perspective – MY experience as a Son-Rise Program volunteer before I came to the Autism Treatment Center of America to be a Child Facilitator.
Volunteering was one of the most significant, life-changing experiences of my life. I met my first Son-Rise family through an email advertisement that they sent to my university. The moment I saw the fun photo of this cute little boy, I could just picture all the wonderful times we would have together. Boy, was I right! Through the two and a half years that I worked with this family I came to love and appreciate them so deeply. I would travel an hour and a half each way to spend four hours a week with this incredible boy who I helped grow from using single words to talking in sentences and preparing for transition back to mainstream school! Dedicating four hours a week just to love and have fun with this little guy was almost like MY therapy! At times when I was feeling blue, I knew I could take time to find the deepest, most loving place inside myself with my special friend. His friendship was truly a gift to me, and kept me coming back for more and more.
All the families I have volunteered with are now like REAL family to me – we stay in touch, send photos, talk on the phone – they welcomed me into their lives and not only did I get to play with and help their kids grow, but in the process I gained lifelong loving friendships. Not bad, huh?
There ARE people out there who have so much to give. There ARE people out there who want to love your children. There ARE people you can trust and welcome into your lives. Always remember that your child is a gift to everyone.