As a new disability ministry in the area, we have a lot to prove. We have to show that what we do is helping others AND is needed. As program director, I am constantly looking for different programs for our “special” individuals and families. Since April, we have had three special needs Masses, two worship services, a picnic and just recently, a music event at the Michigan State University Community Music School.
Our average attendance (not including the
picnic) has been holding steady at about 30. The picnic surpassed all
expectations and we had about 100 people! One of the gals that brought some
wonderful individuals from a group home to the picnic, told me to my face,
“there isn’t much out there for older disabled adults to participate in.” Hmm, I found that quite sad. My son is just
11, but in seven years he will be an adult. The thought of him having very
little programs and activities available to him when he reaches 18 is not a thought I like! That’s why I’m glad the ministry is planning
more and more activities all the time. We are not replacing programs that are
available to the special needs community, but rather putting a program in place
if there isn’t one currently there. Whether through the Masses, worship
services or the various programs, it brings you together with others. When I
see and hear all the talking and interactions at our activities, it is the most
wonderful sound in the world! The smiles on people’s faces melts my heart. That
feeling of belonging and not being judged is awesome. A few months ago, when I
needed a singer for one of the worship services, I asked a gentleman from my
church who also happens to be a Knights of Columbus member. He agreed to be a
singer and has also brought a fellow Knights of Columbus member along a few
times!! These men are generous with their time and with their “gifts” of music.
They also have gotten a firsthand look at the impact our ministry is making.
They believe in us and in what we
are doing. Earlier this week, a Knight who has visited our disability ministry
office a handful of times and has had meetings with us, gave us the good news
that he had a donation for us!! Our first one! Wow, how awesome! Evidently, the
wife of a Knights of Columbus member who had passed away recently, donated a sum
of money to be used at their “discretion.” Well, this group of wonderful men
decided they would donate it to our ministry!! Yes, they believe in our mission and what we are trying to do. What a great
feeling that is!!!! Oh and guess what? The gal who told me at the picnic that
there weren’t many programs and activities available for the older special needs adults is
bringing eight residents from the group home to our bowling event in a few
weeks! Yep, if I do say so myself, we are filling the need.