hurts every time people look at Adam and see only the deformity of their
own perceptions, instead of the beauty before
their own eyes. But more and more, I feel this pain not for my son
but for the people who are too blind to see him. The lessons I have
learned from Adam have hurt than just about anything else I ever felt
in my life. And it's been worth it, a thousand times over.
- from Expecting Adam, by Martha
dolphin encounters for disabled children
A favorite Dolphin Research Center
program, allowing people to enter the dolphins environment and participate
in a playful, structured swim session with the dolphins. Participation
in educational workshops completes the experience. The program costs
$135 per person and requires advance reservations. Minimum age is 5
years old. Children ages 5 - 12 must have an adult in the water with
them for the swim. Understanding of spoken English is required.
Reservations can be made the month before you wish to swim. Call the
reservation line in Florida on (305) 289-0002. For a reservation schedule
and more information about the program, click here.
Absolutely no reservations will be accepted by mail, fax or email.
dolphin child program
The Dolphin Child Department offers dolphin-assisted therapy and recreational
programs for individuals and small groups. The results are carried over
into school, home and community. DRCís commitment to providing life
enhancing dolphin experiences to adults and children with special needs,
illnesses, and disabilities, touch families from all over the world.
Our dolphin interactions act as therapeutic adjuncts, serve as agents
of change, and represent contacts with nature, as well as increase the
capacity for enjoyment through the Dolphin Child Therapy Program and
the Special Needs Recreational Program.
For more information in our Dolphin / Child Therapy Program contact
Joan Mehew, Director of Dolphin / Child Department on: firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information in our Special Needs Recreational Program contact
Kathryn Campbell, Special Needs Coordinator on: email@example.com
volunteer for the dolphin research
The Dolphin Research Center is
pleased to offer volunteer opportunities designed for individuals who
would like to donate their efforts to assist the various departments
of our organization. Although volunteers do not work directly with the
dolphins, participants do encounter many unique opportunities for learning
about, and experiencing, various aspects of the daily operations of
a marine mammal care facility.
The mission of the Volunteer
Resources Department is to assist the paid DRC staff by providing
a supplemental work force capable of accomplishing daily tasks, as well
as special projects, thereby enabling the paid staff resources to concentrate
on those areas where their knowledge and expertise can be put to the
most efficient and effective use.
The responsibilities typically handled by our volunteers all represent
vital aspects of our operations. Volunteers may find themselves working
in our fish house helping to prepare our dolphins' meals, or feeding
and caring for our family of exotic birds. We utilize volunteers for
assistance with the public through duties which include shadowing tour
groups, answering questions, or monitoring swim with the dolphin sessions.
Volunteers are involved with facility maintenance, helping with everything
from trash collection to painting and landscaping projects. Observing
and assisting with the collection of research data is another area that
volunteers may be involved in, as is helping with administrative projects
such as computer data entry and preparing bulk mailings.
Our Volunteer Resources Department is staffed throughout the year. Applicants
must be eighteen (18) years of age or older and have the ability to
communicate well in spoken and written English. While we do offer flexibility,
most of our non-local volunteers work 30 to 40 hours per week, and a
four to eight week commitment is usually required.
We ask our local volunteers to contribute at least one day per week.
Although they do not receive wages, we do expect all volunteers to regard
their work with us with the same dedication that they would extend to
a paying job. At times the work can be physically strenuous, or even
mundane, but the satisfaction that comes from sharing in the care of
our dolphins can offer rewards beyond measure.
Within our Volunteer Resources Department, we offer an Intern Program
designed primarily for students interested in donating their efforts
in exchange for credit from their college or university. Regular internships
involve concentration in a specific department, are normally 3 to 4
months in length, and are typically held during the summer, fall, and
Intern applications and job descriptions are available below. If you
have additional questions, you may call the Volunteer Resources Department
at (305) 289-1121 x 230, access
information here, or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
* People who live outside the US may like to contact us about similar
programs in your country or a country near you.
Copyright 2006 The Dolphin Research Center.
befriending a person
with a disability
1. SPECIAL GIFTING OR NOT
You do not have to have a "special gifting" to work with
people with disabilities. You will soon find out that they are a person
too that wants love and acceptance just like anybody else.
2. GENERAL RULE OF THUMB
Treat a person with a disability the same way that you
would want to be treated.
3. HAVE OPEN EYES
Be aware of what God wants to show you and what you can
learn from a person with a disability.
4. SEE THEIR ABILITY
Look for a person's ability rather that their disability.
You can also help them see their own abilities.
5. LISTEN WITH SINCERITY
Be genuine and let them know you care. Take the time to
listen. Ask questions. People with disabilities want to be known the
same as you or me.
6. LOOK INTO THEIR EYES
Look a person with a disability in the eyes and remember
that they are people with real feelings, hopes and dreams. Donít concentrate
on what is making you feel uncomfortable (i.e. their wheelchair, physical
appearance, etc.), but concentrate on the fact that there is a person
behind this physical appearance.
7. GREETING SOMEONE
Donít be afraid to touch a person with a disability -
i.e. handshake or shoulder touch. Should I shake their hand? Yes, especially
if they move their hand or possibly a prosthetic hand towards you. Remember:
Touching communicates acceptance & warmth.
8. SPEAKING TO SOMEONE
Have your voice be tone appropriate to their age. If you
donít know if a person can mentally comprehend what you are saying,
itís better to speak on a higher level to them. You donít want to insult
someone by speaking down to them.
9. SPEECH DIFFICULTIES
When talking to someone that might have a speech impediment
and is difficult to understand, the worst thing you can do is to fake
that you do know what they said. Itís better to say, "Iím sorry, could
you say that again." Itís okay if you have to do this several times.
The important part is that you are willing to try and communicate with
10. SPEAKING BOARDS
If someone uses a speaking board to communicate you need
to be willing to give them time to spell out what they want to say.
If they have a speaking board, they probably know how to use it. So
donít be afraid to say hi and talk to them. Make them feel welcome just
like anybody else.
11. TALKING TO A PERSON IN A WHEELCHAIR
Stand back so they donít have to look straight up or better
yet, sit down to talk to them.
12. ASK IF THEY WANT HELP
Generally, with any disability, itís always good to ask
a person if he or she needs help. Donít just assume that they need help.
Be willing to be bold and ask, donít just sit back and hope someone
else does it or they will get it themselves.
13. WHEELCHAIRS: EXTENSIONS OF THE BODY
Itís always good to remember that the wheelchair is an
extension of a personís body. You donít just grab a personís arm and
say, "Come with me." The same is true for someone in a wheelchair. You
shouldnít just grab their wheelchair and start pushing them. You need
to ask them if they want some help or would like you to push their chair.
Also remember that you shouldnít rest your foot or your hand on someoneís
wheelchair, especially if you have just met this person.
14. PUSHING WHEELCHAIRS
When pushing a wheelchair, especially if you are playing
a game, be in control of the wheelchair. i.e. donít make sharp turns
while going fast, and watch out for bumps. The last thing you want is
to dump someone out of their wheelchair. Also, donít tip the wheelchair
back. This can be scary for them.
Once you start being a friend to a person with a disability, you will
soon stop seeing him or her as disabled. You will see a person who desires
love, acceptance, and friendship just like we all do. The most important
thing to remember is to just relax and be their friend. The rest will
come with time.
THIS GREAT ORGANIZATION NOW!