Photo by Morgan Kulzer
An annual tradition took place today as BC Cares hosted its Christmas party for people with disabilities in the St. Francis Center.
While no one really knows where the tradition started, Gil Ridenour, associate campus minister, does believe that the party is one that is not to be missed.
“We have a meal served to them,” says Ridenour, “the choir comes and sings, [the residents] submitted a gift request to us so students, faculty, staff and administrators fill those gift requests. Santa and his elves come and we distribute presents too. So it’s quite a full morning but it is a good time.”
For the past couple weeks Ridenour has sat at a table at lunch asking people to sign up and help with this event. Ridenour says that being around people with disabilities can be a humbling experience.
“I think it’s just a neat way to see how mentally disabled people are happy all the time,” says Ridenour “and how excited they are to be here at Briar Cliff and to spend time with college age people. It’s what Christmas is all about.”
The students who did sign up to help will, according to Ridenour, open their eyes a little bit.
“They will be around people with both mental and physical disabilities,” says Ridenour, “and to just spend time with those people and just get to know them and build a relationship with them, to realize how fortunate we are.”
That is exactly what sophomore Joshua Winters says he gets from participating in the event, not only as a volunteer but also as work-study for Ridenour and partial director.
“I think it can give you a different perspective and make you realize that a lot of students here on campus have a lot,” says Winters, “and a lot of other people off campus do not have a lot. A lot of people need to just step back for that time to appreciate what [they] have.”
Until last year, Winters was unaware that this party may be the only Christmas the residents receive.
“This is the only present that they get so I think that makes a big difference on how you look at it,” says Winters. “It has made me realize how fortunate I am and it has given me a greater appreciation for others.”
Winters would like to see more events like this and says he needs the help of the Briar Cliff community to brainstorm ideas.
“If you come up with an idea or think of an event that could be done in the community then I just encourage you to talk to Gil about it to see if that is something plausible,” says Winters. “I am sure he will work hard to make it happen.”
To look at what we can give rather than get is something Ridenour hopes the Briar Cliff community will take away from this event.
Posted inSubmitted by braunschweigc on Thu, 12/06/2012 - 18:35