These are some tough questions, directed at an Illinois High School Junior, Laura Irwin, when she reached out to us to volunteer for Girl Power 2 Cure.
Her answers had us double-checking that we were actually speaking to a 17-year-old, and not a 37-year-old. ;)
Laura is a competitive rowing athlete, an honor student, and one of our newest volunteers for GP2C. She reached out to us in February while working on a school research/community service project for her IGSS (Integrated Global Study School) class. She wanted to know how she could help, and how she could make a difference in the lives or days of a Rett family.
Laura says she chose Rett Syndrome, and GP2C for her project because the syndrome intrigued her; she was captivated by the families, and found herself believing in our girls, and the mission behind GP2C.
She had no previous experience volunteering, and has yet to meet a single Rett girl, yet she has spent countless hours researching, learning, talking to parents, and helping give some of our girls a voice. Laura’s project entailed making a Communication Eye Gaze Board for the families she worked with, and presenting her final project to her classmates. She worked with three families, and tailored each communication board to fit the needs of each individual Rett girl.
Watch this beautiful video that she put together for us - and see her Eye Gaze Boards in action!
We asked Laura "What were the best and worst parts of doing this project?" She said there was not a worst part, only a slightly difficult part. “Cutting the boards out, and finding a good system that would work for each girl was challenging, just when I thought I had a good system, I realized I didn’t. Once I figured it all out, it was full of rewards.”
Laura’s highlights include: Speaking with the families, seeing pictures of the girls being able to communicate using her boards, knowing that she made a difference in their lives, and sharing her findings and experiences with her classmates.
“Speaking with the families, realizing how similar the girls are, and yet how unique and individual they each are was eye-opening. I thought I would be helping them, teaching them, but I think I learned the most in the end.”
GP2C would like to thank Laura for the countless hours she put into helping enrich the lives of some of our Rett families. She gave her time and talents. She helped open the door to communication, and she shared her new-found love and respect for our Rett community with her school. In doing so, she made a difference.
Volunteers come in all ages, shapes, sizes, and from different places. Contact us to see how YOU can help. Learn more.