Testimony to fun and meaning !

Tierra Learning Center Volunteer Testimony - Michael Patterson & TRAILS Day Program

"Over 8 years ago, and shortly after retirement, I decided it was time to find a place where I could share my knowledge of design and have some fun participating in the arts. Tierra Village had just completed 6 new homes for developmentally disabled adults and the first residents were moving in. On a separate level, space was provided for a program designed specifically for individuals with developmental disabilities, which offered Recreational Arts and Independent Life Skills learning opportunities (TRAILS). This was what I was looking for, and I was accepted as a volunteer.

I had no idea the fun and adventure I would have. I have done things over the past 4 years that I had never tried: puppet theater; river rafting; rock climbing; several camp outs with a large and outrageously fun group; print making; and a whole bunch of art projects. The most fun projects being those that were collaborative. And I learned a huge lesson while participating in all of this: never make the assumption that someone can’t do. I never dreamed that I would be able to bring my welding and mechanical skills to this program. My proudest moments during the past 4 years were watching each one of the participants design and weld their own sculpture. And on top of that they all built and ran their own electric motor.

When I think of who I was before the TRAILS gang invited me in, I see I got more out of my time with the group then I ever gave. Before volunteering with this wonderful group I would usually feel awkward around people that were seemingly different from me. I was afraid I would do or say something wrong and usually avoid that individual. They have taught me how to like my differences and have shown me unconditional kindness and acceptance. I thank the staff and participants for all of our wonderful moments together."

Michael Patterson

If you or someone you know might be interested in volunteering at TRAILS, or in another capacity at Tierra Learning Center, please visit our Volunteer Signup Page today!