Friday, October 12, 2012

Campus Cool Cats Be-Bop

Unique Bodies~Determined Souls will be reposting through October some of it's most popular blog chapters from the past year since its inception while on a hiatus. We will return with new blog chapters about the individuals we serve who are breaking free of limitations and their "disability" to express and live more fully in their "ability" within the community.

If you find these popular blog chapters touching and inspiring, please share with others who may enjoy knowing about Wendell Foster's Campus and the people we serve. And as always, thank you for reading!

Volunteer groups generously share their time, energy and talents with the people of Wendell Foster’s Campus (WFC). For example, local church groups from differing denominations come two or more Sundays a month to offer Sunday worship service in the Young Building. One young group of children from Hastings Early Learning School on Tamarack Road volunteered to collect Christmas gifts for residents living in our Centre Pointe Cottages. This effort means a great deal for those who have families living out of state or who have no family at all. The Choir from Sts. Joseph and Paul Catholic Church came to perform their Cantata. After the holidays were over, I wondered if all the generosity would end, but thankfully, it seems to get better and better!

In January, many smiles and great fun was enjoyed thanks to Dr. Diane Earle and her Kentucky Wesleyan College (KWC) History of Rock and Roll class students who hosted a “Sock Hop.” When I learned of this group’s scheduled visit, I scratched my head, as usual, in skepticism. Will those in attendance watch these students dance or will they dance themselves? I’m not na├»ve; I’ve seen movies in which a woman dances with her man in a wheelchair gracefully around a dance floor. I also knew that where there’s a will there’s a way, so I never thought it was impossible. I just wondered how this event would be handled, what the students would do, and how our folks would participate. As always, the people we serve at Wendell Foster’s Campus never cease to amaze me, and I just LOVE that about them!

Dr. Earle and her students gathered before their audience to discuss famous historical dances that reflect the history of rock and roll, including the Twist, the LocoMotion, and the Limbo. The Sock Hop opened with a universal favorite, “Y-M-C-A”. When the music started, several WFC folks became excited, obviously a favorite among this crowd! As the chorus began, Campus Peeps motioned, if not succinctly, the spelling of the song title’s letters. I got a kick watching them get into the song as they expended their best effort. “Perfection” is relative, anyway. The KWC students next demonstrated how to do the Twist, and soon, we were rocking to Chubby Checker’s “The Twist.” Again, a crowd pleaser, so much so that Wayne stood from his wheelchair to do the Twist! I had no idea he could stand up! With a little support from his Direct Support Provider (DSP), Wayne did Chubby proud! But the fun was only getting started.

The Limbo was explained: you know, a pole horizontally held by two people at each end while someone with the slight and contorted backward bend moves under it while maintaining balance. I’m busy taking pictures of the group enjoying the party when I turn back to the Limbo action to see my gal-pal Greta wheeling her way under that Limbo stick. Upon clearing it, she stops for her moment of triumph and gives a thumbs-up to the audience who responded with cheers! What a hoot! A local newspaper photographer was there and he prattled on about how awesome he thought Greta was. Before I knew it, several of the residents were doing the limbo!

The Sock Hop closed with the LocoMotion, and just when I thought I’d laughed as hard as I could, our Campus Cool Cats outdid themselves by doing a conga-line about the Young Building. With KWC students in the lead, Butch, one of our more gregarious residents, fell in behind them. Then DSP’s rolled residents into the line, and those with electric wheelchairs joined in. The entire line weaved all about like a snake moving through a yard. Everyone, students, adults, Campus folks, guests, board members, and staff were all smiles. Those on their feet kicked their legs left and right with the beat, those in wheelchairs moved their arms left and right with the beat. It was really cool to see these guys and gals get into the music! I videotaped this dance and it makes me smile every time I see it. As this event unfolded, joy lifted my soul, tears welled from laughing so hard, and a smile stuck to my face all day. I’m willing to bet those who participated, volunteers and Campus Cats, got a little something out of it too. Dr. Earle and her students did a great job engaging their audience, encouraging their efforts, and interacting with them through music and dance.

It comforts and warms my heart to see our gang living life, enjoying life, and experiencing life and what all it has to offer, in this case, dance and music. Volunteer groups, like that of Dr. Earle and her KWC students, give the gift of their time, their energy and their effort to those we serve at WFC so they may thrive, and well, in this case, bee-bop in life!!

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