Four young women from the Betty K. Marler Youth Services Center (BMYSC) were provided a unique and rewarding community service opportunity last week when they extended a helping hand to the staff and young children at the Anchor Center for Blind Children in Denver, Colorado.
Prior to leaving the site, and under the direction Mr. Ted Kean, Group Living Counselor at BMYSC, the students were blindfolded and given the opportunity to participate in an exercise that allowed them to touch, hold and manipulate a variety of objects that would be found around a school. At the end of this exercise each young lady was asked to provide feedback on her experience. As explained by one student, Alyssa, "It was more difficult than I thought it would be. I had to really focus and use my other senses."
The Anchor Center, whose programs serve young children from birth through five years of age and their families, teaches hope in a nurturing environment where children reach their highest potential. The staff includes teachers of the visually impaired; speech, occupational, physical and music therapists; a family resource coordinator; developmental psychology consultant and teaching assistants.
This experience was meaningful and gratifying in many ways to the young women at BMYSC. The students cleaned and sanitized three rooms filled with hundreds of toys, manipulatives and learning stations used by the children. Once this was complete, they were guided though the center by Ms. Kelly Baker, Development Assistant at Anchor Center, and observed several children who received their new walking sticks. This was an emotional moment for all.
Students Sara, Sharaya, and Stephanie all commented on how great this experience was for each of them. Stephanie was extremely touched by the work they do with these young children and reflected, "They have special markers on the wall to show the children how much farther the wall extends and handed out Braille cards for us to see how they read. It was pretty amazing."