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SNK's have a right to volunteer

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It seemed like a good idea to suggest a family member with special needs, volunteer with a local charity or Church Group. After all, isn't focusing on the needs of others always a good thing?

A recent Op-Ed submission by Jacqui Plumb published at Social Justice Solutions has brought up a challenge for SNK's, which may be encountered before any help can be provided. Discrimination.

Jacqui is working on her Masters Degree in Social Work, and has outlined the difficulties she has encountered when attempting to sign up people with disabilities for volunteer service. Admittedly, it never occurred to me that offering to serve could create an issue in and of itself.

In her efforts, she encountered "over staffing" "too many volunteers already" with group after group, when attempting to volunteer her clients services. She has concluded that many volunteer coordinators may be afraid to include a person with special needs. Discrimination?

One of the hardest things any SNK experiences is a perceived stigma associated with their disability. Could we imagine the disappointment if one was not even given a chance to serve for a good cause? It is sad to even contemplate such a thing.

Given the ever present solicitation for help ranging from children's needs to protecting domestic animals, my belief remains unchanged: focusing on the needs of others is a good thing. For the SNK, it has therapeutic as well as self esteem value. Seeing someone else's life improved by one's own efforts, can have a positive impact on the life of a child or adult, who has known mostly criticism or contempt from others.

A diverse and valuable pool of individuals exist in Central Kentucky, and beyond. People who know what a challenge is, and in many cases, how to rise above adversity on a consistent basis.

Lets make sure not only to encourage involvement of SNK's and adults, but to embrace their efforts and willingness to serve.

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