Teen Leadership Spreads Awareness About Disabilities


Vanessa Zuleta

Each Teen Leadership student was assign a Disability. Kamryn Jefferson,12, was choosen to be Muted.

Evangeline Theruvath, Staff Writer

In order to spread awareness about disabilities, Teen Leadership II students participated in an assignment, on Sept. 13 and 14, which exposed them to the challenges people with disabilities face every day.

“You have to understand and have a certain sensitivity for anyone,” Teen Leadership Teacher Heather Colburn said. “We usually only care about things that happen to us, so by causing a false tragedy to ourselves it opens up your mind to see how others live their lives.”

Colburn said that the primary purpose of the project was to broaden students’ perspective on how the disabled feel, so that they could become better leaders.

“In some way it’s kind of a wake-up call because we take for granted some of the luxuries we have like (getting) up in the morning, walking on our two feet and (not needing to) have anyone help us put on our pants, shirts or brush our teeth,” she said.

As part of the activity, students had to go to Chick-fil-A and order food demonstrating their disability.

“It gave them a perspective of being in the real world with it,” senior Hannah Patterson said. “Some students were blind or deaf and others were amputees missing limbs. One person needed help eating because he was missing both arms.”

Participants were able to pick their disability.

“I chose to be blind because sometimes I take (my eyes) for granted (and) I wanted to know how it felt,” senior Lance Jade said.

Students also went through the school day with their disability and a sign explaining the project. Teachers gave Colburn a grade based on how well they performed.

“The (main) distraction, unfortunately, is peers in their class that make fun, tease or taunt them instead of helping,” Colburn said.

Jade said he received positive feedback.

“Honestly, it’s about having empathy for people with disabilities,” he said. “This experience definitely opened my eyes, as I was walking around without my sight, I was really wondering how people do this every day.”