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.
Danielle did it too. She was amazing. And patient. And kind.
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.