by Alexandra Reilly – Psychology – Wake Forest University
The past few summers I have volunteered at a summer camp for children with developmental disabilities. Through arts and crafts, goofy games, and lots of smiles these kids taught me more in a few months than I could have ever imagined. Their ability to love one another and to love me without reservation was inspiring.
Maya, a deaf young girl, could only communicate through sign language. She had an assistant who would translate the activities for her so she could feel like she belonged. Throughout the week I began to notice that she was growing more confident and increasingly outgoing. The other children began to learn basic words and phrases in sign language so they could include Maya. Watching them work so hard to engage her despite the language barrier was inspiring.
I plan on becoming a speech pathologist with a focus on working with challenged children. The challenges are many and varied. I hope to work with these children to enable them to overcome obstacles they face in communicating, a fundamental need in society. Communication is a key aspect of every relationship and it is incredibly important that children feel accepted and understood at a young age. Children are especially at risk, but also highly treatable given their ability to learn and adapt. By working with impacted children and facilitating their growth, I hope to help jumpstart their successful and happy lives.
2017 theme: Helping Others
Education can be a path to helping people in your community. Nursing, psychology, counseling and social work are all professions where you have opportunities to help people in genuine need.
How do you plan to use your healthcare education to do good things for other people? What do you hope to do after graduating? Tell us in 250 words or less.
The 2017 Healthy America Award essay competition closed on August 1. Alexandra Reilly received a $2,000 prize for her winning essay, Overcoming Obstacles.