Name: Chelsea Sanford
School : Westview High School
Graduation Year : 2012
October 1, 2011 my step son David attended Westview High School’s Homecoming dance. He wore his dad’s suit, his new shirt and tie, ordered his first corsage, was greeted with a boutonniere, dinner, and of course pictures. Yes, a typical High School dance, but not a typical evening for David. David has Autism and he and 2 other boys from his ISC (Independent Skills Center) Special Education class were invited to attend the dance by Senior Chelsea Sanford.
Chelsea is an amazing young woman who helps out in the High School Special Education classroom, spends one afternoon a week after school helping out in the middle school Special Education classroom, and spends her summer volunteering at a camp for kids with Muscular Dystrophy. I don’t know a lot about Chelsea, but would imagine there is much more to add to this resume and believe she is heading off to Portland State University in the fall to pursue a career in this area.
This award is looking for young people that have demonstrated “Simple Acts of Kindness and Compassion.” I can’t think of a more likely recipient of this award than Chelsea. She enabled 3 young men to experience a rite of passage that most take for granted. She enabled 3 families to experience something we may not have ever imagined we would. Chelsea’s act of kindness and compassion brought joy to the faces of both the boys and the families and provided memories that will never be forgotten.
David’s dad always says that when you watch people interact with David in the community it is a “window into their soul”. Sometimes you see wonderful things, and sometimes you do not. I’ve seen this over and over again, and very much saw the best in humanity that very special night. Chelsea has a heart of gold, is beautiful from the inside out, and can only imagine the impact she made on her fellow classmates. With the increasing prevalence of bullying that we hear about on a daily basis, our kids that are “different” are often times the recipients. We see the stares, we see the laughing, but we also see people like Chelsea whom for at least that night allowed our boys to be typical teenagers at a dance just like all the other kids. Without knowing it,or even meaning to, Chelsea may just be doing what Rachel\'s Challenge is setting out to do...\"influence a permant and positive cultural change...making compassion the norm.\"
When I picked up the boys that night, there was energy in the air… laughing, high fives, and some serious dance moves still going on. David kept his dance entrance wrist band on for days, and insisted on wearing his boutonniere to class on Monday to show everyone.
On behalf of 3 very special boys, their families and all that were touched by her kindness and compassion, I nominate MY hero...Chelsea Sanford...for the Hero Of the Month Award.Nominated By : Kristi Lougee