Monday, November 3, 2008

Our daughter the celebrity

Kids rule. (And so do their parents.)

Last week we went over to the YMCA to collect some money being donated for Amelia. It was so touching to see a couple dozen kids come out together, with their banner and their smiles, to give us the money they themselves had collected. So far. They decided to keep their fundraiser going until we reach our goal.

The kids were apparently eager to meet Amelia, so after some group photos, they surrounded her like she was Miley Cyrus or something. She just smiled and turned around to look at all of them, not sure what to make of it. We were so appreciative of the work these kids had done, and they seemed really proud to have helped. And well they should be.

Then tonight I went over to the school with Amelia and Edson for parent-teacher conferences while Lori stayed home with sick baby Owen.

As mentioned previously, Westfall Elementary also set up a fundraiser for Amelia. Edson came home from kindergarten the Friday before last and said "Amelia was on TV at school today." Apparently they had her appear on their closed-circuit morning school "news broadcast," explaining to the kids about the fundraiser. They also sent home a flyer with all the students, telling them to save their quarters. They made a huge drawing of a dog, and for 50 cents, kids could buy paper dog bones and stick them on the dog picture.

Tonight I got to see the famous dog picture. It's about four feet high and six feet long. And completely covered in bones. They are overlapping and spilling out around the edges. They told me it took just two days to fill. So they added a huge dog house, probably six feet by seven feet. Also completely covered. And a huge dog dish. And a huge ball. Covered. They even traced Amelia herself and made a big cutout of her, with a flowered shirt and a photocopied head, holding some bones in her hand. So adorable. They told me they won't cover her up though. :-)

And that's not all. Everybody I ran into had something more to share. Amelia's preschool teacher showed me a note from one of the parents of a classmate. This little preschooler had donated his entire allowance to help Amelia. Another teacher told me they were thinking of expanding the fundraiser to the middle school. Someone else told me the total was over $1400 in just one week. Another teacher commented that some students were asking really great questions and having really good discussions about things like disabilities and service dogs as a result.

The preschool teacher in the room across the hall from Amelia's was telling me that kids are starting to recognize her around the school, saying "hi" and interacting with her. As if to confirm her comments, just after that, a little girl, probably four, came up to her and said, "Hi Amelia! Do you want to play with me?" We heard several parents walking past saying, "Is that Amelia" or kids saying, "There she is!" And greetings everywhere we turned. I remember when I was in elementary school, the special needs kids were often shunned, mocked, teased, or even feared. It was amazing to see such a contrast.

I don't know if any YMCA participants or Westfall Elementary students or parents or teachers are reading this, but if you are, THANK YOU! I couldn't even properly express my gratitude to all these people tonight for fear of getting choked up. After we left, I couldn't wait the ten minutes it would take to drive home, so I called Lori from the parking lot. Only it didn't make for a very coherent story, because I could barely get the words out.



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Anonymous said...

wow. there's hope...

JBTW said...

That's wonderful -- very heartwarming!

Anonymous said...

You are your family do really special things E4.