Tina Walsh, 13, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, an eighth-grader at Holy Ghost Catholic School, has volunteered for three years as an assistant to several therapists at a clinic in Albuquerque specializing in the treatment of children. Diagnosed with cerebral palsy as an infant, Tina spent several years in her early childhood doing different kinds of therapy. “I came out of all this thinking that I can help children with the challenges they face,” she said. So she offered to volunteer at the clinic that had provided some of her therapy. “I love young children, and wanted to do something where I knew the environment,” said Tina.
At the clinic, Tina gathers items needed for sessions, helps clients with their tasks, and sometimes creates new activities. She is particularly helpful in keeping young children interested and focused during their therapy, encouraging them to work hard and never give up. “I have to make sure tasks and activities are fun and enjoyable,” she said. After each session ends, Tina is responsible for straightening up and getting ready for the next one. “Volunteering has helped me remember how much I had to work to overcome the challenges I faced when I was a child,” she said, and how important it is to “continue trying and not give up.”