by: Kevin Lau
When people ask me why I'm in Key Club, here's the story I tell them.
One spring day a clean, brisk breeze brewed across the Bay Area with a brilliant light shining upon a certain college some twenty miles away from home. Over one hundred bright, yellow school buses from all across the Bay gathering at this one college, on a certain Friday in the month of May. Hundreds of voices scatter across each bright, yellow bus. Each voice, each individual with their own story, but without a way to tell it. Unable to express themselves due to special needs or a disability, these young individuals who aren’t even qualified for the Special Olympics gather round in order to partake in an event called the Kiwanis Special Games.
It was May 20, 2011 at De Anza College, Cupertino, California and over 800 challenged students from 60 bay area schools gathered to experience excellence and to enjoy the accomplishment that everyone else experiences on a daily basis. Assisted by over 200 Kiwanians, over 300 Student Kiwanis Volunteers, and over 1,000 community volunteers, these children get the opportunity to experience the best day of their life. This fateful Friday was the day I was reunited with a boy named Robbie.
Under the warm quintessence of the sun on the freshly paved tracks and fields of De Anza College, a young boy wandered along the field with his parents and designated group looking for the letter “H”. Coincidentally I was assigned an “H” volunteering that day. As I crept closer to the group, the young boy caught my eye. His dark brown locks curled around his head and his hazel eyes glazed in the morning light. As I came closer, I recognized the boy to be someone I used to tutor at Carolyn Clark Elementary. A brilliant boy with the same striking features, the parallels I saw amazed me. I never fathomed that such a boy had special needs. I came up and introduced myself to him, to the group, and to their parents. The boy himself didn’t recognize me, but his parents did. I told them to keep shut for now as I lead them towards their first events. 100-yard dash, bean bag toss, Nerf archery, and a tennis ball throw are all but a few of the events that these kids have to choose. At each event completed, we present the kids ribbons for their excellence and accomplishments in the events. At the completion of each event, cheers were heard across the fields with no discrimination in sight. Helping out these children and seeing the smiles on their faces and their innocent expressions were priceless moments. Near the end of the day, when all the events were completed I felt a warm embrace. A presence grabbed hold of me and I had no idea where it came from. I looked down and there was Robbie. Three words came out of his little mouth and after that time stopped. Nothing really mattered that day because hearing him tell me, “Thanks for today,” made my day. I awarded his ribbons and his medal and told asked him if I’ll see him again. He told me that these ribbons are the only things he needs with the most amazing expression on his face. A bright, wide cheese painted on his face. Who knew that these small pieces of cloth could hold such an impact on each individual? Over 4,000 ribbons were handed out that day with over 800 students impacted in one way or another. That Friday holds a special place in my heart as it emphasized a core value of Key Club, caring. Caring, is our way of life.