This summer, in between finishing college and finding serious employment; all stars seemed to align and the timing seems right. I promised this trip a graduation gift to myself, but that needed to be justified further. I wondered at how much good and positive light could be shed from one month’s travel.
For the past 9 months I’ve been volunteering my time at Shriners Hospital in Philadelphia. This Shriners specializes in Spinal Cord Injuries, orthopedic and neuromusculoskeletal disorders and diseases an it’s a place that has never left my mind or my heart after I was a patient here, almost 9 years ago. I was drawn here again after only imagining the inspiration that might be sparked by interaction with these young people.
Every week, more and more beauty is revealed to me. It has consequently shifted into an internship in that it’s proved to be an immense learning experience. My time here mainly involves making art with the children and from both creativity and conversation, therapy naturally ensues. To encourage being outside and experiencing growth, I’ve initiated planting a garden in all of the pots out on the 5th floor terrace. Encountering sunshine, dirt, water and then plant growth in combination with gardening’s clear organic cause and effect nature is undoubtedly therapeutic. Sharing my personal experiences pushes me socially and my further learning of disability experiences increases my awareness and understanding beyond belief. Ultimately, my goal here is to first and foremost connect, but also to inspire these children/ young adults that even with a disability the possibilities of life and wellness are endless. My experiences here have made me consider the possible impact that inspiration might have on the healing process after a Spinal Cord Injury. Thus, the reason I’m sharing my experiences while traveling this month.