Saturday, September 20, 2014

From the heart: beyond the call of duty

Filing and inventory are seemingly insignificant tasks, yet someone has to do it. Kaitlin Royer spent 40 hours of her semester at LAUREL Regional School accomplishing behind-the-scenes work to benefit students with disabilities.

LAUREL Regional School provides education for students with severe disabilities. Royer, a psychology major, has a passion for students in such circumstances.

“They have to learn so much more than we do,” Royer said.

While fulfilling her Community Service (CSER) hours at Liberty, Royer had the opportunity to not only work, but learn as well. “The vision department has some stuff for making Braille for people, and so I learned how to use a Brailler,” Royer said. “I learned a couple letters in Braille and it was really awesome.”

She said that most people do not always realize everything students have to learn when they cannot see.

“It just shows that they are on an entirely different level,” Royer said.

Royer’s mother is an occupational therapist for LAUREL Regional School, and after completing her CSER, Royer said she understands why her mother’s job is so rewarding.

“Now I know why she enjoys her job so much, you know, because it was great,” Royer said. “You don’t feel like you’re going to work at all.”

The people Royer worked with were very appreciative and welcomed her help. Royer was nominated for CSER volunteer of the year, and on the evaluation form, Anne Wagner, secretary for the vision and occupational therapy offices, expressed gratitude to Royer.

“I feel we are lucky and blessed to have had her, and I am sorry to see her go,” Wagner said. “I think she has risen to the occasion of ‘beyond the call of duty.’”

Royer said she did anything she was asked. Her responsibilities and tasks were not always the same, but there was always plenty of work to be done.

“I felt like I wasn’t doing enough almost because there was so much to be done,” Royer said. “But every day they were like, ‘Thank you so much,’ and ‘Can we keep you?’”

Royer met the expectations of her superiors with great competence.

“I expected efficiency, professionalism, dependability and flexibility, and with Kaitlin, I found all of that,” Wagner said.

Aside from the motivation of serving the community simply for the required CSER credit, Royer understands that there is a value to Community Service.

“CSER teaches people how to have a real work experience while representing the school as well as themselves,” Royer said.

Her time and energy helped people, and made an impact on the people she served, as well as her own life.

“Serving at LAUREL impacted my life in the sense that I have made friends that I was able to make a difference in their lives for a few weeks helping though a stressful time,” Royer said. “I will probably help them again if I get the opportunity because they are such a loving group.”

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