giving back

10 Bite-Size Ways to Help Someone With a Disability

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Your challenge this week is to think about how it feels to have a disability, to empathize with someone who is mentally ill, or blind, or deaf, etc. Chances are, you know or are related to someone with a disability, or are disabled yourself. It can be very difficult to get past the frustrations those disabilities cause; it can also be difficult to put yourself in the shoes of someone who has one, or to think of what to do to help them without seeming condescending. Here are some simple ways to help, mainly through organizations and professionals who know how to help them best.

10  Bite-Size Ways to Feel for Someone With a Disability

  1. Brainstorm ideas for a Facebook Like Drive for "I Know I Matter," a nonprofit whose mission is to promote awareness, eliminate the stigma of mental illness, and help those who feel that suicide is the only way out. This challenge is available through Sparked.com for eight more days.
  2. Help provide captions to YouTube videos for the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand, which strives to accomplish similar purposes.This challenge is available through Sparked.com for seven more days.
  3. Contribute $10 to help Mrs. Farese, a teacher at an alternative school in Lawrence, MA trying to teach her students about the world beyond. Through DonorsChoose.org, you can help her buy books such as Jane Eyre, Scarlet Letter, and To Kill a Mockingbird for her students, most of whom are immigrants, in and out of lockup and/or on probation, or have diagnoses of mental illnesses.
  4. Familiarize yourself with the many varied symptoms of depression, as listed on VolunteerGuide.org.
  5. Read about what it's like to lose your vision on the National Federation for the Blind's website.
  6. Send a letter to your local Goodwill location, encouraging them to pay their disabled workers at least minimum wage, as opposed to sub-minimum wages. This is part of the action requested by the National Federation for the Blind, with 45 other organizations.
  7. Call your city emergency preparedness department and ask what provisions they've made for alerting disabled citizens of natural and man-made disasters.
  8. Follow the National Association of the Deaf on Facebook.
  9. Be on the lookout for hotel pools that are not handicap-accessible, and be ready to snap a pic and post it on the Facebook page of the National Association of People With Disabilities' AllAccessPoolParty.
  10. Follow the blog of The Arc of the U.S., the largest national community-based organization advocating for and serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.

How Will You Give to Others This Week?

  • Have you ever done any of these things? How did it go?
  • What other acts of service have inspired you?
  • How have others given to you this week and what difference has that made in your life?

How Else Can You Make a Difference This Season?

  • Commit to do one act of kindness/service based on the week’s challenge.
  • Leave a comment with ideas relating to the week’s challenge as well as your experience(s) performing it.
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