Oftentimes, people underestimate the comprehension and compassion of people with intellectual disabilities. At Gompers, we never do.
Giving back to the community
Members in Program Room 30-1 already enjoy volunteering at St. Vincent de Paul to help feed people who are homeless, so understanding the need to distribute cold water in the sweltering heat of July resulted in many excited volunteers.
Early in the month, members and their families donated 12 cases of bottled water. Case by case it arrived in family vehicles and Gompers vans. One mother sent three cases to be sure there was enough. By July 5, members were ready for a group discussion on the importance of drinking enough water – a life skill we should all pay attention to during the high temps of Phoenix summers.
Friday, July 22 dawned hot and dry with a 111 degree high and 15 percent humidity. At last, Gompers staff and program members were ready to hit the streets. Vans were loaded with coolers of ice and water and it didn’t take long to find local parks where homeless people gathered to spend the hottest hours of the day.
Recipients seemed genuinely surprised at the friendly gesture of good will and everyone thanked our willing volunteers. Even the ice was in high demand as some people brought jugs and pots to take away the frozen treasure. Direct Support Professional Alex summed up the feelings about the day when she said, “I felt needed and I felt like finally, I did a good deed.”
Connecting with others to share a hot day and a cool sip of water is at the heart of community. At Gompers, big hearts abound everywhere.