On Tuesday, September 13, River’s Way came to the Emory & Henry campus to inform students of their community efforts in a Lyceum. The speakers Tom Hanlon, Dr. Chris Qualls, Madi Gilmer, Matt Kyle and E&H junior Amber Robinson all moved students with their personal experiences with the program.
River’s Way is a volunteer organization based in Bristol, Tennessee. Their main focus is helping people with disabilities become more involved and comfortable in their community. They strive to accomplish this goal by bringing their campers, which is what they call their participants, into the community and getting involved with gardening, sporting events and various other activities.
Even though this organization is based in Bristol, they often come to the E&H campus and offer many volunteer opportunities. Robinson shared her first experience volunteering with River’s Way, saying, “I showed up, in this room, full of people, and everyone wanted to meet me. They all wanted to sit on my lap, hug me, and have a good time with me, and that was awesome!”
All of the panelists seemed to say the same thing about how rewarding the program has been. Robinson was able to sum it up the best by stating, “There isn’t a second that I have put into planning programs or volunteering at weekends that wasn’t repaid to me a hundred times over from just spending time with our campers. This program has given me a thousand ways to practice patience, kindness, and unconditional acceptance.”
After the panel, sophomore and frequent volunteer Melody Lipford said, “I thought the lyceum was a great way to introduce River’s Way as a program and what they’re all about. I loved hearing the different experiences staff members have had with their time there. It definitely motivated me to volunteer with them again. I will absolutely be there for their next day program.”
If River’s Way sounds like a volunteer opportunity you would like to get involved with, they are looking for E&H students to help with future events that will be held on campus. You can go to their website, http://www.riversway.org, or pay their Facebook a visit for more information.
– Akeya Wright