Thursday, August 2, 2007

Singing time For CIPI

For the last two weeks the HELP Volunteers have been focusing on painting a mural on the wall of the Special Ed room and one in the Pre-school room at CIPI. Every other day I have been going to help paint. This is the experence Deborah, one of our volunteers had during this last week.

We first did the mural in the Pre-school room and then moved on to the special Ed room. In the special ed room we weren’t able to move the kids out as we painted. So we were there painting as Trisha, one of our volunteers who specializes in special ed and works at CIPI with the special needs children regularly, was doing activities with them. About two days ago I had a wonderful experience with the children. (Actually I have been having special experiences with them regularly but this is the one I thought I would share this week.) Trisha had planned a singing time and needed our help to include all of the kids.
I have not had very much experience with children who have disabilities as sever as these children and I have had a bit of hesitation in the past during the few times I have interacted with such individuals. Working at CIPI with the children in the special needs room has helped me understand so much more about how things really are and how truly choice these children are. As it was time for singing time to begin we started to pick up all the children and lay them in a circle on mattresses on the floor or in our laps. We sang all of the children songs we could think of to these kids and helped them move along to the tunes. Every now and then we would switch the kids in our lap to give the ones on mattresses a chance to be held. It was so much fun to see their huge grins as they listened to us sing and struggle to harmonize. The last song we sang was a song I learned as a child in church. I never really understood the true meaning of it until I was cradling a four year old boy who can’t walk or communicate very well with the world around him.

Trisha was the only other person in the group who knew the song so she and I sang it as a closing song to quiet things down. The words go like this:

If you don’t walk as most people do
Some people walk away from you
But I won’t, I won’t.

If you don’t talk as most people do
Some people laugh and talk at you
But I wont, I wont.

I’ll walk with you
I’ll talk with you
That’s how I’ll show my love for you.

At that moment, as I sang those words to this precious little boy, it really sank in deep how much it actually meant to him and the other children that I was there just then doing what I was doing and how important it is to show love to those who are not as physically or mentally alert as others. I am so grateful for the smiles and the laughs from these kids that build me up daily and remind me why I am here doing what I am doing.