Volunteer Corner: Luckshika Rajaratnam
I guess it is sort of odd that a political science major would be volunteering at an Autism centre. There isn’t a clear connection between the French Revolution and working with children with ASD, but for some reason it has worked out for me. I have been volunteering with SAAAC for nearly 6 months. I initially came because one of my friends was volunteering at SAAAC, and he seemed so enthused by the experience. He encouraged me to come, and here I am six months later.
I came to SAAAC knowing very little about ASD, but through the training session and working with Neeran, our resident ABA therapist and Program Director, and the other volunteers, I was able to quickly gain knowledge about the disorder and the skills needed to work with individuals with ASD. One of the biggest positives about volunteering with SAAAC for me was creating new friendships with other volunteers. The volunteer base at SAAAC is made up of mostly post secondary students with a wide variety of majors, specializations, and interests. Such friendships have added a lot to my life and helped me expand my knowledge of my community and myself.
Though, the greatest friendship I have forged so far is with a young woman. She is 15, loves to draw, dance, and sing. Like most teenagers she isn’t a huge fan of math or writing exercises. She is part of a larger adolescent group of teenage girls ranging from 15-20. By working in this group, all the girls learn to develop social skills by talking, sharing, and playing with each other. It’s been a great few months working with her, and I hope my time with her has helped her develop in some capacity.
These past few months have been very rewarding for me. In such a short time I have developed relationships with the participants of SAAAC and its volunteers. At first I couldn’t make a connection between my political science studies and SAAAC, but now I see that at the heart of all great movements that I study about are great people with great ideas. Though SAAAC is no French Revolution, the organization is comprised of great people, with greater hearts, and that leads to revolutions, no matter how big or small.