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Downs Town

“UNO!” she called brightly while peering excitedly over her yellow card at us.

“Uh-oh, look out!  Kim had Uno!”  We all said.

We coaxed the other players in which cards to put down, and when to draw, and told some when they had an “Uno”, but even with our help, it didn’t diminish the excitement or anticipation.

“Dennis!  You have Uno!” 
His eyes widened while staring that the card, then slowly looked up at us with open mouthed silent suprise.

“Yep!  You only have one card left, you could be the third winner!!” 
He looked back at his card, eyes wide with wonder, while happiness slowly crept onto the corners of his mouth. 
“Uno?” he asked, the game we had been playing for half and hour. 
He had just told us that he was getting married tomorrow, while everyone else shook their heads no, and said, “He’s lying!”  Haha, we were cracking up.

“Yes!” We told Dennis,  “An Uno!  Looks like we might have a number 3 winner in a moment,” we told him while giving him a thumbs up.  A few people had already won, then gotten cards again to keep playing, so we just counted the winners. 

Our small group had signed up to visit “Downstown,” a home for adults with Downs syndrome and other special needs. 

It.

Was.

Awesome.

We spent the night playing the most lively game of Uno of our lives, where there were many winners, but with each winner, there was a legit celebration, which always involved cheering, and sometimes involved dancing.

During our game, Andrew brought out his guitar and sang some songs, and we all sang along–quite at first.  But then, while looking around the room, we noticed that all the residents of Downstown belted the songs out with their whole hearts.  They didn’t care about the voices, or feeling awkward, and I could see it was making the rest of us more confidant–our voices gaining more joy and volume.

“I’ll go get my CD’s, you guys wait here,” a resident told us.  “Tim McGraw.”  They told us that they all go to our same church, North Coast in Vista.

“Oh cool, what’s your favorite thing about church,” I asked.  The responses were:

-God and Jesus
-When Chris (our pastor) smashed a TV  (It happened a few weeks ago as an illustration, it was great)
-Muuuuuuusic
-Singing
-but many people mentioned the TV smashing

“Ok guys, I got my CD player, and I got my CDs.” Kim had come back, arms full.

“Oh cool,” I said, “Who here likes Taylor Swift?”

“NOOOOOOO ONEEEEEE!!!!!!”  Kim said, loud enough to make it resolute. 

We all laughed.

We moved into the living room where it was now karaoke time.  Kim started.

Then it was also dancing time.  I told Kim to ask Andrew to dance, and I bet that he would.

“YEAH!!” she said, already on her feet, hand extended to Andrew.  Someone else invited Craig.

We all left happier.  We all left feeling closer as a group.  We loved our time.  I felt inspired to live my life more fully–their joy is contageous.

I don’t know if you know of this little secret, but you can adopt waiting children with Down Syndrome here:  www.reecesrainbow.org
Did you know people with Downs Syndrome are abused and hurt in other countries?  Did you know there is a 90% termination rate in this country for pregnancies with a baby who may have Ds? :”(
MISSING OUT!
If you’ve never done a service project–DO IT!  It’s seriously the best thing you could ever do with your time.  It’s SO easy to sign up, if you ever have a question, just email me.  There are a million and one things you could do, and I promise you, it will be the best night of your life, and if you don’t you’ll probabally just end up watching The Voice on your couch while getting a crick in your neck.

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{ 1 comment… add one }
  • Sar April 30, 2012, 9:59 pm

    I absolutely love this post! Uno is one of my favorite games, and I love helpings others play too! One of my favorite Special Olympics friends, Ben, has Down’s Syndrome. and he’s probably the most awesome person I know.

    Stopping by from Mingle Monday!

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