Friday, August 29, 2008

I'm In Love

A couple of years ago my friend, Sherri, told me about Coventry and how amazing it is. I was intrigued, but not at a place where I could check it out.

A couple of weeks ago she called to tell me they were in need of volunteers and thought I would be a good fit. So, I made an appointment with Darlene for Tuesday and checked the place out while they checked me out.

I walked in and was immediately blown away by the atmosphere. Peace and love are palatable. Sherri said people say "God lives here." I believe it. The physical space is beautiful, soothing, and fun. I immediately relaxed physically and mentally. The Holy Spirit's presence engulfs Coventry. All that happened in a matter of seconds. No one had even had a chance to speak to me. People started speaking and it just got better. I drove away saying, "I'm in love, I'm in love, I'm in love."

Now, my dear couple of readers, I will try to explain Coventry. 'Cause I passed inspection and they're letting me volunteer! I feel so honored. Really, this place will blow your mind! It has mine.

Coventry's vision is to create a beautiful, Christ-centered community where adults with special needs can experience life to the fullest as long as they live.

Coventry's mission is to make a difference in the lives of adults with functional disabilities by providing life enrichment opportunities and encouraging them to use their God-given abilities as they work, learn and socialize in a safe and cheerful environment.

Coventry is a day program that provides life enrichment opportunities for adults with special needs. Activities and therapies are offered to promote and assist them in continuing to learn and stay active intellectually, mentally, physically, socially, and emotionally. We believe that adults with disabilities are capable of living a very full, active and productive life when provided with appropriate and consistent positive reinforcement and opportunity.

And, boy, do they pull it off! Love and respect oozes everywhere. There is laughter and learning all day.

Yesterday was my first day. Wow!

My new friend is Gretta. She is a lovely little lady five years my junior. Her frame is tiny. Jeffrey calls her "Little Angel" and is always checking to make sure she is doing okay. Even though she doesn't speak (yet), everyone includes her in their conversations. It is beautiful to watch. They make sure her legs are straight so the blood can flow properly and make her straighten them even when she doesn't want to, because they know it is best for her health. She is their princess, but they don't spoil her.

I get to help her through the day. Yesterday we glazed four star ornaments. Her body wants to be in a tight little ball, so she works hard on stretching out her limbs and hands. I assist her with hand over hand. We also made thirteen angel ornaments. It was exciting! She was able to reach out and grasp the mallet three times by herself! Her strength isn't where she can pound on the cookie cutter by herself (yet), but she tries. She was so happy about her thirteen angels. While we rested between each angel, Gretta would reach for my hand and tuck it in close to her body, then lean her elbow on my shoulder and gaze into my eyes. They said she was testing me to see if she could trust me. I think I passed. I would be heartbroken if I didn't.

The participants at Coventry love each other so much. They are kind and respectful to each other and have a deep interest in how everyone is doing. It forced me to be pro-actively polite. There is no doubt I'm going to be learning a lot from this remarkable group of people.

I told Darlene at the end of the day that I felt as if I had been in therapy. Really good, spirit lifting, Christ centered therapy. I'm so excited about next week. Can't wait!

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