Mary Claire Abbott Speaks On Interning at Helping Hands

Mary Claire Abbott Intern at Helping Hands Respite CareI have been interning at Helping Hands Respite Care for about four months now, and I can honestly say I have learned more about where I have been, where I am and where I am going than any other time frame in my life. I went into this internship with minimal experience working with individuals with special needs, but still had more than most others in today’s society. Jeff Nunham had asked me in my interview why I would be a good candidate for this position, and I said something along the lines of how I want to become a nurse after I graduate and I love helping people. Both of which are still true, and still important. But as I reflect on these past four months there are many more reasons as to why I thrived at this job, and more importantly why I love it so much.

I go to work every day with the goal of brightening someone’s day, I want to put a smile on my clients face. The funny thing is, without fail, every time I leave work they put a smile on my face. These individuals have taught me how to live life to the fullest; they have made me appreciate where I have come from and what I have. They have taught me to fear less and love deeper. They have taught me to be kind, compassionate and understanding, to everyone.

One of the most important things I have learned is that people with disabilities are still people. They might look different, communicate differently, or live differently than you and I, but they are more powerful than we know. I have learned some of the most important life lessons from my client, an eight-year-old client who is completely non-verbal and non-mobile. He has never said a word to me, but he has reached my heart in a way that words never could.

People will ask me what I do, and I simply explain how I work with people with disabilities and nine times out of ten their response is “Wow this is so awesome, that must be so hard!” And you know what they are right- what we do is hard. It is hard work and a lot of people couldn’t do what we do, but I think to myself when I am working with them about how hard their life is every day. I have moments that are hard- they have days that are hard, months that are hard, years that are hard. So yes, this internship has been hard, but what the clients and families that Helping Hands serve do every day is more difficult and inspiring than what I do.

This organizations and the clients I work with have changed my life, I am proud of the caregiver, friend, sister, daughter, future mother and future nurse that I have become from this experience. What this organization does is special- and I couldn’t be more thankful for the opportunity to work at a place like Helping Hands Respite Care. Thank you.