Making a Diffence

Ryan - Evansville, Indiana
Entered on December 12, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe in reaching out and making a difference in people’s lives. This would consist of making differences not only in “normal” peoples’ lives, but in the people who usually get ignored for or made fun of because they are labeled as disabled. Throughout high school I had noticed how these kids that are human beings just like you or I were being ignored, and laughed at because they couldn’t learn as well and as quickly as the rest of us. I started to reach out and make differences in these kids’ lives while going through high school.

It was my junior year in high school and I took a class called peer tutoring. This class consisted of helping the special need kids learn, read, count, and learning to do jobs around the school. At first I wasn’t comfortable, just because I had never tried to help a person with special needs learn. As the year went on though, I learned that these kids were actually great people to be around, and not only was I making friends with them, but they loved having friends of their own also. Not more than a couple days of being in the class I was talking to them in the halls, occasionally sitting at their lunch table with them, inviting them to sit with my friends and I, and just treating them as if they were the same as you and I.

What caught me off guard though was how people started to talk about me, look at me, point and laugh, and give me weird faces for becoming friends with them. I never took it personally just because I was well aware of how my school was when it came to not looking “cool.” It was almost like everyone was shocked that I would sit at their lunch table and become friends with them.

One incident that occurred in high school that sticks out in my mind was when I was walking down one of my schools halls. I had noticed a bunch of people looking down and staring at something. When I came upon the circle of people and worked my way up to the front I heard a voice say “Ryan help me.” I noticed it was one of my friends who had muscular dystrophy and he had fallen and couldn’t get himself back up. So I helped him up, and you could see how embarrassed he was due to what had just happened how he was laying there when no one helped him.

It was these moments in my life that made me into who I am today. I am thankful that I was lucky enough to take such a wonderful class in school and make such a magnificent difference in my friend’s lives.