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Parent to Parent Stories

WWVDN Intern, Holly

Picture of two women posing with a person dressed in a yellow rubber ducky costume

People say not to have expectations going into things, that way you will never be disappointed. I am not sure what I expected before starting to work with the disability network, but I did not think I would grow as much as I have. Some might consider it strange, a non-disabled woman, who has no connection to anyone who has a disability, wants to intern with a disability network. In my experience as a social work major at WWU, I have learned that people tend to only care about things that directly affect them. I want to change this, especially for myself. I was interested in working with people who have disabilities, because I wanted to learn more about something that may not have a direct impact on me.

My favorite experiences have come from the recreational activities that I have helped with. Bowling had to be one of the best activities because it had me rethink the way I view disabilities. A lot of the participants were getting better scores than me. I remember watching someone’s ball take 30 seconds to hit the pins, but as it reached the end of the lane, each pin slowly fell causing a STRIKE. There were many instances like this. It made me think about how we categorize people with disabilities based on what they cannot do, rather than the qualities that make them who they are. People may not do everything the same way as others, but they are just as capable.

Even though I have only spent 10 weeks with the network, I have built strong connections with the participants. I love it when their faces light up when I walk in, and they come to give me a hug or handshake. I love going out in public and seeing the participants interact with their families or the surrounding community. I’m extremely grateful for the opportunities this internship has given me, and I am excited to continue working with them.

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