Monday, February 27, 2012

The King Pins of WFC

When I learned a group of folks from the Supports for Community Living (SCL) program were going bowling, my curiosity was peaked.  After dropping the groceries off at the SCL house, we headed out to the bowling lanes on the south side of town.

At the bowling alley, we met Carlos, Greta and Gary along with their Direct Support Providers (DSPs).  Now, honestly, I am thinking, how in the world are these guys and gals going to bowl given their physical challenges?  The more I learn, the more I realize how little I know.  This bowling alley has a Ball Ramp which allows individuals who are unable to throw a bowling ball in the traditional manner to participate in bowling.  These guys and gals evidently are regular bowlers, and they were ready to go!

Accommodation equipment in place, bumper pads and all, it was “game on!”  I watched from the back as the DSPs set up the player roster and picked out bowling balls for the Campus King Pins.  Everyone was playing but Gary who opted for a nap.  The DSPs would make the assists.  Connie was first up, giving the bowling ball a good “heave-ho” to score.  Lisa wasn’t as alert as before, but with Ashley’s help, she would participate using a unique bowling technique:  the Footin’ Move.  Lisa moves her legs easily, so Ashley would position her foot on the ball and encourage Lisa to push it. Greta, ever the competitor, had solid follow-through in her ball execution down the ramp.  Carlos, the most eager of all players to the point of crowding the others as they took their turns, gave his moves some serious consideration before bowling for a score.  For ten frames, all would watch in anticipation as the ball rolled slowly down the lane with cheers or groans ensuing.  There were plenty of Junk Balls, a few strikes with a Late Ten, some Love Taps, and lots of Makeable Splits.  When it was all said and done, Lisa, with her slick Footin’ Move outscored them all for the win!

I enjoyed watching the group and marveled as the DSPs interacted with the group.  Watching the activity was instrumental in helping me better understand the invaluable role the DSP is for the people we serve.  The DSPs cheered the bowlers on, high fiving and encouraging them as they prepared to bowl.  They involved them as much as possible in that process, expressed the agonies of defeat as pins unjustly wobbled in defiance of the drop, and playfully talked smack with the players and their DSPs.  I hadn’t laughed so hard in a long time.
The DSPs are extremely devoted to those they serve, including each individual in every possible way in a dedicated and caring manner.  I realized what an incredibly special person it takes to provide daily, hands-on direct care to the individuals we serve, everything from their toileting needs to meal assistance to ensuring they are engaged in a social activity.  The DSPs I’ve met are caring, patient, and willing to empower those they support through teaching, redirection, and encouragement.  Ashley has been with WFC for seven years; Roslyn for three.  The DSPs, all the staff at Wendell Foster’s Campus, make a huge difference in the quality of life for those who live here on Campus, and who come here for outpatient services.  I admire the efforts and the heart behind their work.  I express gratitude daily that our Campus is blessed with those that can and do.  And I am grateful to be a small part of it is as well.

In the Next Blog Entry:  To Bag or Not to Bag - Recently in the news, Mercer County Intermediate School in Kentucky came under fire for an incident in which a teacher’s aide placed a child diagnosed with autism into a “duffle-like” bag . . .
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1 comment:

  1. The DSPs are wonderful and often go over and above the "call of duty." A really good DSP doesn't have a job, he/she has a calling--or even a ministry.
    P.S. And they don't get paid enough for the wonderful jobs they do :-)