When I moved to Fayetteville for college in 2011, I didn’t know a single person in the whole state of Arkansas. After having spent the previous summer working at a camp for children and adults with special needs, I knew that volunteering with a special needs ministry was my first step to making Arkansas feel like home. As I had been taught- Mark 10:45- your life is more fulfilled if you dedicate it to serving others. The Access Ministries program was within walking distance from my dorm and at a Methodist Church: the perfect fit. When I started volunteering for the program, I was an aid on Sunday mornings and Wednesday afternoons for a couple different kids with special needs, and I helped with the “Kids Night Out” program.
When I started volunteering, the coordinator at the time, Jake, had asked, “are you willing to make a commitment to this ministry? We need someone that will be a regular volunteer because the kids we serve need consistency.” For one reason or another this question resonated with me and I knew that I wanted to be the familiar face these kids saw every Sunday or Wednesday. Over the years, Access Ministries has gone through some changes with different coordinators and different children needing an aid, even a new name. But every Sunday and Wednesday I did my best to be the familiar face.
When Rev. Carl Palmer arrived in 2012, each time the position became available, he asked if I was interested in becoming the coordinator for the program. With college, another job and life in general I wasn’t sure I would be able to handle the responsibilities and dedicate enough time to making the ministry great. Over the next couple of years Carl asked me three times to take over the position. The third time he asked he needed an immediate interim. My initial thought was no, I don’t have time for this, I just started graduate school!! But then one day I looked at the keychain on my keys; it says “for I know the plans I have for you, says the lord”-Jeremiah 29:11. I knew then that taking on the interim position was part of my plan.
What I didn’t realize until the third call was that being the coordinator for the special needs program was part of my journey. Every time I was asked, I came up with an excuse because I was afraid. I am not sure what I was afraid of, maybe the schedule or the workload, or maybe falling in love with the job. It doesn’t feel like a job; I feel like I am doing God’s work: spreading His word and being a servant to others.
Special Needs Coordinator
For more information about our Special Needs Ministry, click here.