“I knew after this experience, my life would never be the same again…”-Ayanna


It was my sophomore year of high school when I had my first real volunteering experience…Well not my first but this was the one that still replays in my mind…

I needed 40 hours in order to graduate and I just KNEW I wanted to be a physical therapist…so, I decided to volunteer for the summer at the James Quillen Rehabilitation Hospital…I figured that I had seen everything that I needed in order to be good at my “job”… but I was in for a very rude awakening…

For those who don’t know what kind of hospital this is…well…lemme start here… I worked with patients who had missing limbs, torn ligaments..things of that nature. I have to say I have never seen so many rude patients before in my life…Granted, you’d be upset too if you were missing a body part… However, there was this man…and unfortunately his name is escaping me…but he made all of my work worth it…

I had to do daily exercises with the patients…like helping them walk without balance and exercising their arms and legs…however, this man had what we would call nothing…

He had no legs… He had no arms… But he had the most amazing personality and outlook on life… Every day I thought, “how is it, that this man who has nothing…live like he has everything?” On top of having no limbs… He didn’t have family or friends to take care of him…

Whenever he saw anyone being mean to me, he always stuck up for me… I couldn’t understand why he was so nice… I can’t imagine going through life as he did… and still be pleasant.

It wasn’t until my last day that he shared something with me that changed my life forever… “Little girl you have no idea with your presence does… I don’t have anyone, but you being here is enough to wake up each morning… I love the volunteers here. They’re always so kind and patient and giving… I hope you never stop, because you never know who you’re helping…who’s day you’re making…who’s nightmares you’re ending… I hate this is your last day…but I want to thank you for who you are…God Bless you”

I hate that I lost contact with him after I left…it’s amazing how you can go through life, helping someone without even knowing it… Although I never became a physical therapist, I took his words and applied it the other aspects of my life…

I had no idea that 7 years later…I would still remember that man…his positivity…his perspective…his strength…his resilience…

He’s made me realize that no matter how small, I made a difference for someone…that’s so powerful…

This is the month to start. Go be a positive force for someone.

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