Inspiring endeavors all around us
● By Steven Hoffman
If you ever get discouraged or start to think that the world isn't as good as it used to be, just look around. There are plenty of inspiring endeavors, just in this area, to make you rethink your position.
Consider the KX Athletics Headliners, a competitive cheerleading squad that is comprised of children and young adults with special needs who train in West Grove.
Not only are the Headliners themselves inspiring as they work to overcome their challenges to enjoy a sport that they want to pursue, there are also the coaches and volunteer instructors who make this program a possibility. A group of about a dozen cheerleaders from other KX Athletics squads volunteer their time to work with the Headliners, sharing their knowledge and love of the sport.
The Headliners not only get the physical benefits of competing in a sport, they also get the social benefits—which may be equally important. The Headliners are being included, and that's very significant to this particular group of children and young adults.
Just a short distance away, on the campus of the University of Delaware, physical therapy professor Cole Galloway is doing groundbreaking research to help traumatic brain injury survivors and their families. Galloway's GoBabyGo project offers a hands-on program that helps children and adults with significant mobility challenges. There are now more than 60 GoBabyGo chapters around the world, so the organization's impact is global—but it's also very local. New London Township resident Corey Beattie, who suffered serious injuries in an automobile accident six years ago, has been a part of the Go BabyGo Cafe and the Harness House, both of which utilize a special harness system to increase mobility and independence. Part of Galloway's research includes working closely with families of traumatic brain injury survivors to advance the understanding of and support that's available to people with mobility issues. Just as in the case with the KX Athletics Headliners, including these traumatic brain injury survivors in regular activities is very important.
All it takes is one person with a vision and some support to bring about positive changes.
In the case of the KX Athletics Headliners, it was Elizabeth Reber seeing other competitive cheerleading squads that had teams for special needs students, and asking, “Why aren't we doing that here?”
In Galloway's case, it's one person with expertise in a given area being driven to make a difference in people's lives.
We are reminded of the words of noted anthropologist Margaret Mead, who once said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
In this small part of the world, there are plenty of people who are working to make a difference. If you need a little inspiration, all you have to do is look around.