Handicapped Parking Only

Trip Start Aug 07, 2009
Trip End Dec 31, 2009

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Flag of United States  , Pennsylvania
Thursday, November 12, 2009

Today, we set up a show at George Crothers School in Swarthmore, PA. We received a note ahead of time that said there would be buses in the way of our entry, so we didn't need to bother with getting there too early. Unfortunately, we only read that note on our way to the school. So, sure enough, we got there when there was a whole line of buses lining the sidewalk. Interestingly, there were dozens of handicap vans parked along the curb, too. I can understand a couple, perhaps, but there were as many vans as there were buses. We parked in the regular parking lot and headed to the main office, where we were greeted by one of the faculty. We signed in, then he walked us to the gymnasium where we would set up the show. As we walked down the halls, people were smiling, laughing, and greeting each other as the new school day began. "Hello, visitors!" was our greeting--we were hardly inconspicuous with our bright red VISITOR badges. We also found reason for all the handicapped vans--there were people of all ages in wheelchairs in the building. Come to find out, students ranged from age 6 up to age 30, and then there was even an adult program for those older. This school specializes in the mentally handicapped, and by the looks of it, they have a flourishing program.

We set up and played our show as normal, but watched it through a different mindset. Our show is all about the unfairness of life--and who better to relate than our audience today. Now, the majority of those watching probably didn't grasp the message--but at the very least, they were entertained by a very stimulating and engaging video. The staff and aides who sat in on the video loved it--the leader of the adult program even expressed her interest in bringing in Camfel for her department as well.

After the show, several of the students came up to us and talked. These people were some of the friendliest people we've met--really, the whole culture of the school was incredibly friendly and laid back. I suppose you have to be when working with the mentally handicapped. It's a very selfless profession. And with selflessness comes an overall enjoyment of life that is harder to find in some of the hectic, business-oriented schools we've seen. How much has to be taken away for us to realize what really makes us happy in life?
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