Krystiana Compton has a pretty awesome resolution for 2016: she’ll give to a different local organization every month—and share her experiences. You can follow along each month to read about where Krystiana has gotten involved, and maybe find some new opportunities to give back to our community. (Read her first post here!)
The Unicorn Center throws dances for its clients almost every chance they get; whether it is to celebrate the beginning of summer, Valentine’s Day, or Fiesta, they will take any chance they get to party because dancing is their favorite thing to do! The Unicorn Center is a community-based, church-sponsored agency with a calling to minister to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities by developing job and life skills and integrating individuals into supported employment by creating natural community supports.
I volunteered for their Mardi Gras dance on February 5th with some friends from work. The party lasted from 5:30 PM until 8:30 PM. The Unicorn Center turns into Club Unicorn where all of the clients can come and just have fun! There was pizza, popcorn, a DJ, a huge dance floor, an awards ceremony and an arts and crafts area.
Volunteer Nicole Baez, says, “It’s great to volunteer at The Unicorn Center because it helps break societal misconceptions about people with special needs. They are capable and aware of so much more than what most people assume. Seeing how happy they were to be named Mardi Gras King and Queen” or “best costume” reminded me that even the smallest surprises in life deserve the same amount of joy and attention.”
I spent most of my time on the dance floor trying to keep up with everyone else’s amazing dance moves! The incredible part for me was to watch my friend’s brother, Charlie. He attended the dance and at first my friend and I were a little “mother bird” like, always checking on him, seeing if he made any friends, if he was having fun. He started the evening off eating some pizza and being quite the observer. Later we found him at the arts and crafts table making a Mardi Gras mask and slowly coming out of his shell. Before we knew it, he was on the dance floor talking to a group of people. He buzzed around the dance floor all night, snapping photos (he is an avid photographer), chatting with new friends and even dancing a bit.
As we left for the night, Charlie told my friend that he had a lot of fun and he wanted to come back to the dance next year. He’s in luck—there are many more dances for him to have fun at until the next Mardi Gras celebration. This is just an example of the love and kindness the people in this organization show. They invite people to be their friends, they want everyone to have fun and to be happy. There is no judgment, there is no hate, there are no hurtful words. It is just a time and a place for them to be together and to let go of everything else.
Volunteer Vanessa Villarreal, says that volunteering gives her “an opportunity make the clients feel loved and important. They appreciate the fact that we are there to engage with them. They remember us even if we have only been there one or two times. We are there to help them but in reality, they help us.” I truly encourage you to get involved and make a difference in someone else’s life. Why not start with some dancing at The Unicorn Center?
If you are interested in volunteering or donating to The Unicorn Center, please call them at 210-737-3355 or visit their website.