You may not want to hear it, but the malls are confirming it – the holidays are coming! As Thanksgiving passes and we head towards Christmas, many people take time to reflect on all they have to be grateful for in their lives. It is also a time that people ponder how they can make the lives of others better. Our family has always been astonished by the time, energy and money that people donate to making the life of my brother, Jeff, who has Down syndrome, easier, fuller and meaningful.

There are many organizations that create places for people with developmental disabilities to be included in activities they may normally not have access to. One of the ones that made a great impact on my brother’s early life was the Special Olympics. As I took dance lessons and played soccer and baseball, Jeff also participated in sports. Along with his teammates, he competed in activities such as running and swimming and even took home a gold medal in bowling. The medal was framed and hung in his room for many years, just as mine were in my own room.

What constantly amazed me about the Special Olympics was the amount of support the participants receive from the volunteers. They give hundreds of hours of their own time to coach, organize and support these athletes as they strive for their personal goals. The organization gives people with developmental disabilities the opportunity to compete at a high level and to reap the rewards of the hard work and determination every athlete puts into their sport.

By Joanna Redfern, Volunteer Blogger

For more information about Joanna, please go to:

Semiahmoo House Society, a non-profit organization located in Surrey/White Rock, exists to provide quality services and supports to people with disabilities and their families in the community. 

The Semiahmoo Foundation, located in Surrey/White Rock, exists to fund, support and enhance the programs and services delivered by Semiahmoo House Society.

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