Personal Story

Impact Feature Issue on Paraeducators Supporting Students with Disabilities and At-Risk

Finding Her Niche: Angela's Story

Angela has always wanted to play cards, but has had difficulty finding a group of people in her community who play on a regular basis. At a meeting with the agency providing her with respite care, Angela suggested that she might volunteer at a local nursing home as an outlet for her card playing. Angela now not only plays cards with the people that live there, but is a valued and regular volunteer. She describes it this way –

“I volunteer in a nursing home. I do the cards…we play cards. I call the cards out. Like I say, ‘Ace of Hearts’ or ‘Ace of Spades.’ Like that. I do that from six to eight, once a week, every Thursday. We play [games] like matching games. They have to match to be able to get their cards into the pile. My mother’s grandmother lives at the nursing home so I thought it would be a good place to volunteer. I know they play cards. There’s a girl named Audrey there. She is the boss, and she is in charge of the residents – getting them through their suppers, lunches, breakfasts, and stuff like that. I talked to Audrey, the one who is in charge, and I asked for the job. It was my idea. I am basically the activity lady. I play cards and sometimes watch “Wheel of Fortune” with them. They love me there. They even have dinners for us maybe every year – for the people who work there. I get to go to that too. They love that I come in every Thursday and help out. I sometimes bring the residents back to their rooms. I love it. It gives me something to do on Thursday nights. It gives me a chance to know the residents better. I get to see the residents each time when I come in. It makes me happy to see them every Thursday.”

Contributed by Angela and by Cheska Komissar, Institute for Community Inclusion, Boston.