Laura Jarriel is a volunteer with YVC in Anderson, SC, and a current member of the International Youth Advisory Board.
One recent event that I have volunteered at for my local YVC in Anderson, S.C., has been with a very special organization called DCEC. DCEC stands for the Developmental Center for Exceptional Children, and it focuses on providing a daycare center for special needs children in Anderson. While their parents are out working during the day, these children are constantly under the care of hard workers at DCEC who provide shelter, toys, comfort, snacks, etc. to help the kids have the most positive experience possible.
Just a few weeks ago, some volunteers from our local YVC were asked to help with one of DCEC’s annual events. Every year, DCEC has a small Christmas party for the kids as well as for their family and friends. Our group of volunteers was asked to help with multiple tasks. These included serving homemade cookies and cocoa, decorating the tables, setting up fun holiday games and crafts, singing Christmas carols with the kids, and helping the adult volunteers take pictures of the kids with Santa Claus!
For most of these kids, this party is the only real Christmas time they get, especially to spend Christmas with so many friends and family of DCEC. Just observing on the outside, it was interesting to get to know the children and learn about some of the developmental disabilities they face.
Some children have obvious symptoms of disorders and diseases such as autism and Down syndrome. Some of these kids will have frequent fits or long cries, and the kids can sometimes get out of control, especially when they like to run around and throw objects, not knowing what they are doing. For other children, it is not so obvious. Some kids may have a common disorder like the rest of the bunch, but they do not have such obvious behavioral symptoms, such as having loud fits. Instead, these kids will have a calmer nature, but they will have maybe a learning disability or they may have trouble communicating with others. So, all of these children have varying ranges of disabilities at DCEC.
The experience I had with the DCEC this Christmas was not my first time volunteering with DCEC. I have served there multiple times throughout my years of volunteering. Other events that I have done with DCEC include the annual Thanksgiving meal, summer mission weeks, and simply just coming for the day to play with the kids. It is truly an amazing thing to know that someone can put a smile on another’s face just by making a simple gesture, and that is probably the main lesson I have learned from all of my experiences with DCEC. I will continue volunteering with them even after my time with YVC, because it is such a great place to learn new things and to build up more confidence in myself!
Learn more about this project that earned YVC of Anderson the Project of the Year Award.
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