While reading The Service of Faith and the Promotion of Justice in American Jesuit Higher Education by Peter-Ham Kolvenbach S.J, Robert Frost’s Mending Wall, Frances E. W. Harper’s Learning to Read, and Jill McDonough’s Accident, Mass. Ave I began to reflect on my service with the Special Olympics and what it taught me. I learned that service allows the barriers placed by society to be broken down. In doing so, people are changing the world every day to make it a better place to live.
Over the past few years, my family and I have participated in the Special Olympics. This is where adults with special needs are able to have fun while doing events like running and throwing. In participating, I have found that by these adults partaking in the Olympics, they are pushing the boundaries of how society thinks of special needs people. Just as in when Chloe shows that even though she was a slave and everyone doubted her ability to read, she did so anyway, “And said there is no use trying, Oh! Chloe, you’re too late; But as I was rising sixty, I had no time to wait” (Harper 609 32-35). The special needs adults proved to people that even though they were given a huge obstacle, through the help of others they are able to overcome it.
Not only do service push boundaries, but it also can destroy walls that society has put up. The adults that participate in the Special Olympics break through the wall of judgments and stereotypes placed upon them. Special needs adults are able to work with normal functioning adults and children. Through service, they are able to do this and take apart that unnecessary wall. “There where it is we do not need the wall” (Frost 360 23). By taking down this wall, the special needs adults and the people who work with them are following in the footsteps of the Jesuits whose goal was to break down the unjust barriers in society and create equality.
The past year that I participated in the Special Olympics, I brought a friend with me. She wasn’t too excited to go and thought it was going to be boring. After we got there and she took part in some of the activities, she realized that it was actually really fun. Just because something may seem to be one way doesn’t mean that it always has to be, “But she hadn’t hit my truck. She hit the tire; no damage done. Her car was fine too. We saw this while we were yelling, and then we were stuck” (McDonough 619 18-21). When something is unknown, people just assume the worst, this includes with service. Many people think that service will not be fun or enjoyable when in reality it is one of the best things a person can do. It is fun while it is also good for a person’s soul and character.
Service is a huge part in changing society and the boundaries people believe exist. Through service people are able to attain goals and peace that were never believed possible.