A day to give back

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Story by Maggie Coleman, Staff Writer

For most teenagers helping out in the community is a way for college acceptance. For junior Ben Norton volunteering is past time that he holds close to his heart.

“My aunt, Marjorie Norton, is one of the residential clients at Opportunities, but she just moved in there about 6 months ago,” Norton said. “She lived across the street from me my whole life until she moved, so I got to see her a lot. She would always come to my house to watch football games with my family and go to church with us.”

Norton saw his independent research project as a way to show others a different way of life and an alternate understanding of people with special needs.

“The mission of my project was to expose students to individuals with special needs,” Norton said. “I wanted them to better understand the residents and the struggles they face in their daily lives.”

Overall, Norton wanted the Opportunities clients to have a enjoyable Saturday afternoon while having fun. He made sure to incorporate activities to please everyone.

“We played some games, had pizza and cookies, made some crafts like a pinecone bird feeder, played basketball, and had a scavenger hunt on the Opportunities Wellness Trail,” Norton said. “All the residents, staff, and students I brought had a great time. The residents got a big gold medal at the end of the day for simply being there. I just wanted all of the residents to have a special day.”

Norton seemed to be content with the outcome of his project.

“People with mental disabilities are some of the most innocent and compassionate people you will ever meet. I wanted to show that to students at Texas High,” Norton said. “Judging from the response I got from all of the students at my project, I think I succeeded.”