Our area in Tennessee affords us many opportunities. We have the Down Syndrome Association of Middle Tennessee, an organization which creates many opportunities for DS-friendly and caregiver-oriented recreation, learning, advocacy, and community. Middle Tennessee also has a new Gigi’s Playhouse, a facility for gathering, tutoring, and therapy for people with Down Syndrome and their families.
Hundreds (thousands?) of families benefit from these organizations and others. Many people want to give back. Of course donating is a huge help, but not everyone has that luxury. People with special needs often require extra money for various things, like adaptive technology or medical bills, and can’t donate even when they want to. The same goes for time that families might use to volunteer in different capacities. Therapy appointments, developmental delays that make movement and transport slower, and meetings with doctors and schools can eat up a lot of the time that people would rather use to support their favorite non-profits.
We Peaches are fortunate enough to have one parent at home most of the time. But even with that, it can be difficult for us to find ways to help out, and even more rare to find ways to help that play to our strengths. Sometimes we’ve used up so much of our cost-free childcare (family and friends) that we don’t feel comfortable asking for more to do something that, while helpful, isn’t urgent.
I’m lucky. I’m good at making videos, which maybe isn’t as practical as carpentry or owning a large truck that can haul stuff, but which can bring exposure to programs. That means more people who need the services will learn about them, and more people who can help with those programs will become aware.
This year I have a goal of making one three-minute video every month for DSAMT, so that when fundraising kicks into high gear for the Buddy Walk in October, we’ll already have lots of edited video to pull from for a year-spanning campaign video. The January video is of Circle of Friends, and I urge you to check it out and learn about the program. Next month I’ll cover a baby shower for DSAMT’s newest members that takes place at Gigi’s Playhouse.
It only takes an hour or two to shoot the video. It takes longer to edit, but I’m able to squeeze editing time into occasional down times during the day and night.
I’m very happy and fortunate to be able to help with these videos. It isn’t easy to find the time in the middle of caring for our two girls, going to college, taking care of and spending time with my wife, and attempting to have friends and family around for reasons other than needing help with the kids.
I strongly encourage any of you in similar situations to take a moment to think about what your strengths are, and to reach out to any local organizations which have served you, and ask them if you can serve them in return using whatever your special strength is.