In August, 2014 I started volunteering with a small organization on Bainbridge Island, Island Time Activities. Their mission is to promote independence and empowerment for people with intellectual disabilities through social networking, community involvement, and personal skill development. We work to promote a sense of community, independence, friendship, and mutual respect, through a variety of programs based in our local community of Bainbridge Island and surrounding areas. Services are provided based on individual goals and interests, and are incorporated throughout program activities. Their motto is “changing lives one smile at a time.” I love it! No wonder we are such a good fit.
“My “work” if you can call it that, is to go hiking and then swimming with some of their members every Tuesday. Staff members lead the hike so I am really just hanging out with some really cool and special people. My Tuesdays with my ITA friends is a real close second to my days with my granddaughter! On our hikes we’ve talked about my work and life in Swaziland, as well as One Child at a Time, One Heart at a Time. The staff and many of the members have been so interested, wanting to learn more and even wanting to do something to help.
Once a month, ITA host a “Saturday Supper.” It is an evening where the members and their friends in other similar organizations can come and have a fun evening and dinner. Their program director and co-founder asked if I would come and teach them about Swaziland. We met several times and planned a Swazi meal, including mealy meal, for dinner. I put together a slide show of many aspects of Swazi life including videos of cultural dancing and African music. The energy and enthusiasm of this group was awesome. They were so interested in the pictures and stories and they asked really great questions. Even more impressive is they seemed to like the mealie meal. Hats off to Deb and the rest of the staff for putting together such a good representative of a Swazi meal for our dinner.
It was not only a fun night with my new dear friends, but such an inspiration. This small group of individuals want so badly to do something to help so they are going to do a couple of fundraisers to support our organization. This group may be small, and they might be a little bit different from most of us, but they have heart, soul and a strong desire to help others. Their energy and perseverance are infectious and inspiring. I am so grateful to be a part of such a wonderful organization and I cant wait to share their story with our Swazi volunteers and kids when I go to Swaziland the end of April.
Watch for further information about ITA’s fundraisers to help support our One Child, One Heart kids.