A few weeks ago, a little boy tugged at my heart. Gavin Leong was a special needs child who gave so much of himself. To read about his little adventures with his family of dancing, walking, and smiling made me want to reach out and hug him. I wanted to cheer him on as he accomplished these little miracles!
Sadly, Gavin Leong left the world on April 14th, his mother's birthday. He was only 5 1/2 years old. At the time of Gavin's death, Kate Leong blogged her request:
Ed and I will be announcing our choices for "in lieu of flowers" donations to honor Gavin in a few days, but today is my birthday and this is all about me. I've come up with a special, totally FREE way to honor my sweet son who could inspire the most profound emotion without ever saying a word. I'm asking you to help someone... document it with words and or a photo... and place it on the Chasing Rainbows Facebook Page. Then be sure to check the page often to get inspired by the outpouring of love. Here are some great ideas for you... Find a special needs classroom in your community. These are usually low funded and always looking for donations. Perhaps you have toys your kids don't play with anymore that could be used in the classroom or during therapy. Random crayons that are laying around. I know we always needed rug gripper to place under Gavin's behind when he sat - that's a good need. Do you know a special needs Mom in your neighborhood? Church? School? Tell her you'd like to make dinner for her family. What night would work? Then tell her the only requirement is they have to give a "cheers toast" to Gavin during dinner. Help someone struggling to unload groceries into their car in the rain. Donate clothes to a women's shelter. Check with your local children's hospital for volunteer opportunities - even if it's just for two hours of your life. Save all of your magazines and bring a big stash to your local hospital. You have no idea how helpful that is to parents who spend days, weeks or months (as I did when Gavin was a baby) sitting in their child's hospital room. These are just some ideas... be creative!
In honor of Kate's request, I decided to make a donation through http://donorschoose.org. DonorsChoose.org is an online charity that makes it easy for anyone to help students in need. Public school teachers from every corner of America post classroom project requests on our site, and you can give any amount to the project that most inspires you.
I chose Mrs. Norton's classroom. She teaches pre-school children:
My students attend a preschool program for students with disabilities located on a military base. The disabilities range from mild to severe. I am very fortunate to work with such a great group of kids. I am thankful everyday when I come into work that I have such a wonderful group of students. My kids range from 3 years old to 6 years old. The abilities vary and so do their needs. They also have at least one parent who is serving our country in the military. Please help me give back to families that have already given so much.
Would you be able to help them? Even a little bit?