February 7, 2011

So proud

While training with our Special Olympics group yesterday, I saw something that made me so proud. Danielle volunteers her time as a certified ski instructor, teaching Special Olympians ski techniques, encouraging them, helping them, supporting them, laughing with them. Sometimes it's not easy. Sometimes it's frustrating. Sometimes it's not so fun. But the rewards are priceless.

I was helping at the race course and looked up on the chairlift to see Danielle with our newest skier, a young man with Down Syndrome. This young man would not move his feet forward to even put on skis last week. (Don't ever assume that people with disabilities are not stubborn!) The week prior, he spent time on the "magic carpet" -- an area with barely an incline which is used for new skiers.

So yesterday after a time or two on the magic carpet, Danielle decided this young man was ready for the ski lift and to get skiing. She got him on the lift -- no small accomplishment -- and up they went. (He didn't have a lift ticket -- that's our girl -- plow ahead and ask questions later.) That's where I saw them and I have to admit, I though "oh shit" what is she doing?

She was teaching this young man how to ski.
And ski he did. Was he fast? No. Was it perfect? No. Was he up on skis, trying something for the first time? Yes. Is he a Special Olympian? You bet.

Danielle did it too. She was amazing. And patient. And kind.
Our new skier got tired. He sat down after a while and did not want to get back on his skis. That's okay. Danielle told him it was okay because he tried and he accomplished so much. He was skiing.

The most interesting part of this day? This young man only spoke French and didn't know a word of English. Danielle taught him in French.

It was a good day for everyone and she made her parents proud. Très bon Danielle.


Anonymous said...

Thanks Danielle, you never know how your acts of courage, kindness or determintaion will ripple out into the world and lift the spirit of someone reading a simple blog post. Koodos Kish for keeping the good news band wagon rolling one story at a time. Peace, Trudy

lisa said...

What a great story...It doesn't suprise me one bit. She is one "special Olympian" herself. I am sure Marika would love to read this blog. This makes all those Saturday mornings at Club Ed a little more worthwhile....good luck this weekend...lisa

Stephanie Schmitz said...

danielle has the biggest heart of any girl i have ever known...she is awesome!

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