By Larry Thornton
At first, I started volunteering at Matheny one day a week. During this time, I focused on learning each of the students’ names and getting an understanding of their medical conditions. Additionally, this gave me an opportunity to establish a working rapport with the administrators, teachers and staff who make this incredible facility possible. As time went on, my assistance was utilized beyond the classroom, which provided me with a greater knowledge of the medical center and school and increased my desire to help.
My many experiences at Matheny—including a pep rally, a student talent show and a graduation ceremony, as well as my time in the classroom—provided me with a greater understanding of the myriad services and opportunities available to Matheny’s children. As I sat in the beautiful arts center, I remembered reading one of the articles in a newsletter about the facility. The headline said: “The Therapists and Caregivers at Matheny View the Students as Capable Children with No Predetermined Limits on their Achievements.” This article was based on the comments of a Matheny parent, Julie Gordon, and highlighted The Matheny School’s conviction that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to learning. The events I witnessed truly exemplify the wisdom of Julie’s message.
By the end of June, I was volunteering three days a week and, for the first time, I was filling my retirement void. As I volunteer at this amazing place, what strikes me most is the school’s goal to enhance the emerging skills of each student. This is achieved through the loving care provided by the devoted staff in a creative, upbeat and positive environment. I can truly say that miracles happen every day at Matheny.
(Second of two articles)