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Volunteering & Eliminating the "R" Word

Do you have a special person in your life? I'm sure we all have one person we would refer to as that "special" person. The one we lean on, expect to alway be there for us no matter what. However you'll be surprised to learn I'm actually referring to something completely different. I'm referring to a person with special needs. That special need may be just a mild physical disability or it may be a major learning disability or a combination, or somewhere inbetween.

For many years those with learning disabilities were referred to as "retarded" and how that word gets my ire up! When I hear that word used in any form or context I turn red with anger and it takes every ounce of control to not blow up at the person using it. Most of the time I know it's complete and utter ignorance of that person when they use that word. Special Olympics has started the "R" campaign to eliminate the use of the word retard. It's a word that does nothing but hurt those that it's used against. It's a bullying word!

I've been a volunteer for almost 10 years now with these wonderful people. They are the most compassionate humans I have ever been associated with and let me tell you this, we could learn a lot from them about how to treat others! There are no people anywhere else with the ability to shrug off bullying, lend a helping hand when no one else is there to do so, struggle to the end to win even if it looks like there is no way to win and do all of this with a smile not only on their face but in their eyes.

Have you ever thought of becoming a volunteer? I hear many times the words "I don't have time" or "I don't have the money" or even "I'm scared to try". First off, get rid of the word don't out of your vocabulary! Anyone who uses the word don't is doing so only because they really "don't" want to. If you truly want to become a volunteer you will FIND the time. As for money, it doesn't take any money to become a volunteer. How does that work you ask? Volunteering takes time, not money. While you may need rides to get to volunteer opportunities, the rides will be furnished for you if you ask. And don't be scared. There is absolutely nothing to be scared of! Special needs persons are the most loving people in the world. Even if you make a mistake when you are volunteering either you'll be the only one who knows you made the mistake or if they do know it they will instantly forgive you and move on.

In the meantime, I'm going to go back to the Eliminate the "R" word campaign. I'm asking each and every one of you to please NOT use the "R" word in any context or form! Lets rid the world of that awful word. Teach our children it's not a nice word to use and that yes, it is bullying when they use it.

If you would like more information on volunteering or on the "R" word campaign you can go to It's a wonderful organization! And I'm going to leave you with our Special Olympic Athlete's creed..........

"Please help me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt"


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Reader Comments  (11)

twysp2 | September 19th 2011 at 1316450636

I so agree Tricia. For many years/and still am ... a member of CRS where we had over 200 members in the Happy Handy Cabability group. Many went to the special olympics and a couple went on to head organizations. Thank YOU for volunteering and putting this blog out there for others to see.
LatinaTurk | September 20th 2011 at 1316546281

That was my main Charity for many many years. I have done my share of charity work, as we all should. I hear the "R" word once in a while, and then look at them...and wonder .......
I am on your side gurl.
Lori L. Johnson
Lori L. Johnson | September 20th 2011 at 1316552735

YES INDEED! I do volunteer parent liason advocating for children with disabilities. I have been HONORED to meet some of the most AWESOME individuals who have blessed MY life, not the other way around. It is indescribable! No "R" allowed around me! Bravo!
buyzjewelry | September 20th 2011 at 1316558503

My son refused to ride the bus to school because it was the bus for "R". He was in special ed and was profoundly influenced by the stigma.
Enchanted Jewelry & Collectibles
Enchanted Jewelry & Collectibles | September 20th 2011 at 1316571513

I agree, great post! My son had ADHD when he was younger and one of his so-called "teachers" mentioned the "R" word to me one time. She lucky she's still living and I'm lucky I'm not in jail...
Ayuni Gifts of the World
Ayuni Gifts of the World | September 20th 2011 at 1316573365

It is so amazing the power of a word........ working with people you will always come across the good and the bad.... but the bad can make you so angry sometimes!!
Donna's Stuff & More
Donna's Stuff & More | September 21st 2011 at 1316628651

Thank you for such a heartfelt post. Yes, words can really be hurtful! I absolutely love the creed of the Special Olympics: "Please help me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt"
Fredrick Nijm
Fredrick Nijm | September 21st 2011 at 1316630116

Love this. Thank you so much for sharing.
no photo
BeewitchingItems | September 21st 2011 at 1316638004

What a great blog, I have several special needs friends and love each and every one of them. I have always hated the 'R' word and one day my grandson used it because he heard it at school. Boy did I educate him. Thank you for this
Tuckerstuff | September 21st 2011 at 1316654341

Thanks for this wonderful blog. Never cared for the word or the way people associate with it. I was teased and bullied in school to no end myself, with a last name like Tucker, I am sure you can imagine some of the comments. People are people and no one of us deserves any less respect than the other.
Pacesetter | September 21st 2011 at 1316663480

Lovely :)

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