What inspires you?

Is it someone?

Is it somewhere?

Or is it something?

As a teacher, I hope I inspire.

As a Project Give Back teacher, I am constantly inspired by my students daily. Having now taught the program for many years, there are countless stories I could share, that will inspire you like never before. If I had to chose just one, it would have to be the presentation of a young boy named, Joseph.
I taught Joseph almost eight years ago, so, he would now be in his late teens. He was inspired by the life of his cousin Shane Smith, an ambassador of Variety Village and a true hero, in every respect of the word. Shane, developed a physical disability as a small infant leaving him with no legs and minimal limbs. However, through Variety Village, he learned to overcome all obstacles and become a wheelchair basketball champion!
Joseph organized lesson which included a visit from Shane, who also acts as a motivational speaker. Shane’s story and presence left us all in awe. He showed us how despite his disability, he was able to function a relatively ‘normal’ life. He could play sports, go to work and even drive a car. What followed was a deep and meaningful discussion about perseverance and achieving your goals, no matter what they may be. The message was a powerful and effective one.

Joseph followed the discussion with an activity that was both insightful and relevant. It allowed his peers the opportunity to experience first hand the frustration of working with a disability. Joseph organized a simple game of catch (with one catch). He grouped the kids together and provided each child with a sock. The sock was used to cover one hand, while the other hand was placed behind their backs. Each group was given a ball and told to tally how many catches they could accumulate without dropping the ball. The whole class eagerly took part and learned a valuable lesson in teamwork while doing so. Through this simple activity, the students were also able to empathize and show compassion for people with physical disabilities.

I will never forget this lesson, nor will I ever forget the inspiring message that both Joseph and Shane shared with the class. I often wonder where both Joseph and Shane are today. Where ever they are, I am certain that they both continue to shine.

Perhaps this story will now inspire you?

What challenges have you overcome to go on and inspire others?