Updated: May 15, 2019
Today, at work, I was given a beautiful glimpse of loving and encouraging one another. On Fridays, we have a volunteer cleaning crew composed of individuals who require support from Toward Maximum Independence (TMI) to help them make life choices about how they live, work and function productively. They are guided by their leader (TMI Job Coach Ana Provido), who delegates jobs and makes sure it is all being done efficiently.
(Kristen, Story Author Shauna and Kaitlin)
Sometimes the volunteers have difficulty socializing and others are quiet and shy, focusing on their work. And one, Kirsten, is joyful, outgoing and just happy to do what she's doing. She makes sure to walk to each of our cubicles to say 'good morning' and to ask how we are doing. I admire her confidence and being really comfortable in her own skin.
While Kirsten was doing her duties, her friend and co-volunteer, Kaitlin, was having trouble with the vacuum, it was not cooperating. I stopped what I was doing when I heard their conversation, and soaked it in. Kirsten did all she could to help Kaitlin, stopping her own work to make sure there was a solution. "I can help you, what do you need?", "Oh, it's ok, it does that sometimes, you just have to do this...", "There you go! You got it, great job!"
Seriously, my heart was jumping all over the place. Then I noticed Kaitlin, it was like she was skipping away from Kirsten, her face lit up. She was proud that she had accomplished something, but better yet, that Kirsten, who has been doing it longer, gave her praise for it. As she skipped away, soaking in the positive encouragement that Kirsten just gave her in such a loving way, she said loudly, "Thank you, Kirsten!!"
It was an exchange that I am glad I was able to witness, not only to watch them be so loving to each other, and help each other out, but that I was able to see how God really intends us to be towards one another. It was a great reminder to me to stop and listen to what another may need. So often in the Celebrate Recovery ministry where I serve, people just need to be heard. They need to know someone is listening. It gives us affirmation and makes us feel important, with value.
Kirsten may not even realize how much she gave to her friend today, and what she showed me, but I'm thanking God for her and that I was able to hear Christ work through Kirsten to love on another.
In trust and faith,
(This story was submitted by Shauna Contreras with Every Generation Ministries in Temecula, CA where TMI clients volunteer. We thank them for their support and partnership!)
An estimated 1 in 6 people are born with a developmental disability. Just like you they are born with hopes, dreams and the drive to contribute to society. Since 1981 Toward Maximum Independence (TMI) has transformed thousands of lives by providing assistance to children and adults with developmental disabilities, giving them the ability to realize their hopes and dreams.