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CLAIRE WOOLCOTT

“I learned that I am stronger than I thought, which gives me so much confidence for anything I do in the future.”

YEAR AND SCHOOL: Junior at Polaris High School

TITLE: Patience is a Virtue and a Place

   THE PROJECT:

          When Claire raised funds to accompany two family friends working as trainers for Nigerian teachers, she found herself in a truly life-changing experience. Immersed in a radically different culture in a third world country, she came to the realization that she “no longer wanted to just be a citizen of Glenwood Springs, CO, but a balanced and compassionate citizen of the world.” Finding the Camphill organization, a community that meets the needs of those who have physical and mental challenges, Claire had a channel to continue her dream.

“My hope is to follow my passions to different parts of the world, gaining knowledge, understanding, maturity while finding some small ways to care and give to others.”       Intrigued by the attitude and philosophy of equality behind Camphill, she journeyed to Quebec, Canada to work closely with a small group of international caregivers to help construct an environment where people with special needs can live, learn, and work. Specifically responsible for caring for Steven, a 41 year-old man with the developmental level of a 4 year old, Claire immediately found herself in unfamiliar territory. Even the simplest of tasks, like getting him to eat all his food and putting socks on, could be quite arduous. With a daily routine of helping him get ready for the day, preparing meals, and constantly watching over the residents, it was monotonous and challenging at times, but she reached within herself to find humor in stressful situations and came to appreciate the opportunity to learn from people like Steven.
       Fully committing herself to the program, Claire was extremely humbled by her work, as she “had to completely let go” of her ego and accept that, no matter how hard she worked, she had to give selflessly and not expect anything in return. She also sought a balance between work and play with Steven, committed herself daily to new challenges, and derived incredible amounts of respect for workers and residents alike at Camphill. Exposed to everything from eye-opening seizures to watching Steven find pure joy in brushing his teeth, Claire came out of her Dream Project with a newfound appreciation for life and the challenges we encounter on a daily basis. “Most of all, I learned to travel with an open heart, because only then can you form the most unexpected relationships with those around you.”



 

 EXCERPT FROM THE RECIPIENT:

“When you are on a close team all striving for one thing, it is so important to state what you need; your expectations, your weaknesses, and your strengths. When I was able to do this it was always rewarding in the end.” Overall, I learned that it takes a certain kind of person to work with the disabled. I was working with people who have cognitively developed to their limit and who are going to change very little for the remainder of their lives, and that was often difficult for me. That is something I would’ve never known without going on this trip. I learned that I am stronger than I thought I was, which gives me so much confidence for anything I do in the future. I learned how to use my voice when I needed to, which is often difficult for me. When you’re on a close team, all striving for one thing, it is so important to state what you need; your expectations, your weaknesses, and your strengths. When I was able to do this it was always rewarding in the end. As the saying goes, “ask and you shall receive.” I learned to never have wavering patience, and to keep expectations manageable so I could stay flexible. Most of all, I learned to travel with an open heart, because only then can you form the most unexpected relationships with those around you. I have so much gratitude for the 5Point organization and Timber Resorts for putting so much faith in me and my passions, and for helping me make this life changing journey possible.