Waiting for a haircut this morning I got into a conversation with another guy waiting his turn. He was a volunteer swimming coach for his local swimming club and a Special Needs school here in Gateshead working with physically and mentally disabled children.
He told me about his schedule as an unpaid volunteer, three days at the school and a couple of evenings in the club, about five days a week in total. He loved the work. He was especially pleased when parents told him their physically disabled children wouldn’t be able to swim and then to see their surprise when it turned out they could do just that. He worked with kids with autism, dyspraxia, learning difficulties, spina bifida, cerebral palsy and other difficulties.
All the time he spoke he only commented on what those kids could do, what they were capable of. This one had a great speaking voice, the other was fantastic at maths. While the rest us may have only seen their disabilities and disadvantages he saw what was special about them. He obviously thought the world of those kids and loved the chance to do that work.
The Head Teacher at the special school had asked him to stay on as their swimming coach for a two more years until his 80th birthday. I had the feeling he might be asking for an extension.