Miss Tivey -
I’ll start with a quote from Barack Obama -
He said, “The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.”
A few weeks ago, Mr Child spoke about ‘being kind to one another’. I’m sure we all agree that it can feel pretty good when somebody goes out of their way to help you, or that you feel pretty good when you’ve gone out of your way to help somebody else.
Last year, ‘Able2B’, a local organisation offering fitness opportunities for children and adults with physical or learning disabilities, hosted their first ‘Discover Your Ability’ event, in collaboration with Norwich School. The aim of ‘Discover Your Ability’ is to pair a young person with a disability with a pupil from Norwich School; the pairs working together through a series of team building events, leading up to a final sporting challenge which takes place in the Cathedral Grounds.
60 young people were involved in last year’s event, which also raised valuable funds, helping to improve the opportunities offered to disabled people in Norfolk.
Following on from last year’s success, the event will be running again in May, and we would love to encourage involvement from you. It is an amazing opportunity to not only help, but get to know somebody new; to ‘go out and make some good things happen’. Time to hear from some of the pupils who took part in the event last year, to see what inspired them to be involved, and what the experience meant to them...
I was inspired to take part in this event because of my father. In his late teens and 20’s he trained as a decathlete at Loughborough University and the UEA. Whilst at the UEA he volunteered with disabled children doing similar work to that carried out by Able2Be. He said that it was the most eye opening experience of his life, and it reminded him how lucky we all are to be able to do simple day to day activities, and how lucky he was to be able to do something that he loved without any physical or mental difficulties. Seeing the smile on my partners face, and the warm buzz I felt after completing the course really put my day to day struggles into perspective and as my father said, it reminded me how lucky I am to live life as an able bodied person.
I walked with Daniel and Thomas, who have a rare form of muscular atrophy, which affects their strength. They underwent several operations to improve their mobility, and progressed from using wheelchairs to walking frames. However, the breakthrough came when they joined the Able2B gym in January 2019, when they walked for the first time ever aged 9. On the final day of the programme, we were challenged with a walk around the Lower School grounds. Our work in the gym over the past few weeks was being put to good use, as we began the trek. Daniel and Thomas started in their wheel chairs, but managed to use their walking frames for part of the distance, and finally, walked unaided as they crossed the finish line. That would of never been possible without the help of Able2be, and all its volunteers.
The first thing that struck me about my partner Kacie was that she was always smiling and happy. She was so ready to try everything and very able to be involved in the opportunities we were given. Kacie has down syndrome with very complex health issues requiring medical intervention every few hours. She also has very limited hearing. But this didn’t stop her from giving everything she had to each task. When I first met her, her answers were short but came from her heart. I was shocked to see how content she was. Her expression inspired me as it was always positive. The experience was eye opening, giving me a new perspective on life. She was all set to work as a team and share skills to undergo the activities. Being able to have this opportunity created trust and a deepened relationship between us. Spending time with Kacie showed me the confidence she had and gave me the incentive to try and be as happy as she was.
Taking part in the event was a challenge for Kacie due to the complexity of her health problems, and she was a little worried about how she would manage if she needed medical intervention half way around the track, which is why she required somebody with her. So her sense of achievement at completing it was immense. She was the same as everyone else for a short period of time, where her disability was actually celebrated by the peer community around her and she wasn't discriminated by anyone. She can’t wait for this year’s challenge, when she was asked if she wanted to participate again, her response was “oh yes, game on!".
Volunteering at Able2B was an enlightening experience in many aspects. The best part was seeing how much my partner Jamie - who has non-verbal autism - adapted to the course. On the first session he was overwhelmed and unwilling to participate, but by the last session he was smiling and enjoying the different sports, especially cycling around the close. It was amazing to watch his attitude transform, and him having fun trying new activities and meeting new people. The event brought understanding to every one that we can all stand together and support one another to achieve and celebrate everyone’s ability. I would definitely recommend the scheme to anybody, whether disabled or able-bodied.
Miss Tivey -
I would love to take this opportunity to encourage you to get involved, so do let me know if you would like to be a part of this exciting event.
To finish with, another quote. Maya Angelou was an American poet, singer, and civil rights activist. She had a complicated and difficult life, but through hard work and positivity, ended up winning 50 Honoury degrees, and helped to change the face of America. She said,
When you do nothing, you feel overwhelmed and powerless. But when you get involved you feel the sense of HOPE and accomplishment that comes from knowing you are working to make things better!