J480 & Developmental Services Center

If there was ever a class that changed my life, it was JOUR 480: Literary Feature Writing with Prof. Walt Harrington. It was an in-depth writing class that absolutely fascinated me. The class taught the art of this delightful medium of storytelling that reads like a literary piece while upholding journalistic standards of integrity and fact. This class taught me a lot of things, including how to ask tough questions, how to paint images with detail and how to find the story worth telling.

My junior year of college, that story worth telling was about a very darling little girl and the amazing family that raised her. For the sake of the story, we’ll call her Sally. Sally had an older brother, a baby sister and two incredible parents who wanted nothing more than to raise three healthy, loving and happy children. They did just that. Sally just happened to have Down syndrome. I don’t think I saw anyone come within 10 feet of Sally without walking away with a smile. She was just a very strong and inspiring little girl. It was through my writing about this lovely family, that I ended up at at a very special organization that I feel so incredibly passionate about: Developmental Services Center (DSC).

DSC is such a great organization that provides support to children and adults with disabilities in Champaign County. Their mission is to enhance the lives of individuals with disabilities by providing services and supports which enable them to live, work, learn and participate in their communities. The organization does so much good in their community that it gives me chills to just think about it. DSC is making a difference in people’s lives every single day. That’s just incredible to me.

I was so impressed by DSC and what they did that I immediately reached out to see what I could do to help. I ended up with an AWESOME volunteer job in the development department. Working under two of the most inspiring, motivated and nice people I have ever met, I gained hands-on experience on the inner-workings of a non-profit organization. I spent my hours there helping with fundraisers, getting donations, working on spreadsheets and writing success stories about DSC consumers. I loved every minute of it.

Why am I telling you this? Because DSC taught me the importance of doing good. Volunteering taught me what it means to do something because you genuinely care about it, not because you’re forced to. So my challenge to you is to find something that you care about and take a stand. Volunteer. Donate money. Run a 5K. Do whatever it takes to support what you care about. That is how you build character.

You can find out more about DSC here. If you’re able, please consider donating to DSC as well. All proceeds go directly toward providing supports and services for people with disabilities in Champaign county. If it’s time that you have, please consider volunteering at DSC. There are lots of ways you can get involved that are listed here.

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