Today we were able to visit Easter Seals in Tampa. After a quick breakfast we were able to hang out with the children in their classrooms and I was with the one year old room. In the room there were five children, four with no disability and one with down syndrome. The thing that impressed me the most was the love and care given to the children by their teacher. All of the children were treated equally, regardless of their different abilities.
The care that children get at these early ages can have profound affect on their development and it is extremely refreshing to see that at Easter Seals children are able to interact with their peers and not be separated by a label and miss out on valuable interaction with other children. The kids were simply happy to hang out with us and it reminded me of playing with the kids in my own family, it was a great time to just sit back and enjoy the carefree attitude that the children exude.
After our friendship visit we were treated to a fantastic lunch by Mr. Pi Kappa Phi, Dr. Pat Figley who was able to offer great advice from his years serving as a leader to our fraternity. It was also my first, but certainly not my last time to have a Cuban sandwich.
To conclude our evening we had a dance party at the MacDonald Training Center where we enjoyed the company of the MTC participants and their families and I was able to purchase two beautiful paintings to take back to Louisiana. We truly saw some of the best of what people are doing in the city of Tampa today.
- Austin Dupre (McNeese University)