We See What We Want

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Clowning AroundI hate my contact lenses. I hate that I have to remember to take them out before I go to bed, that I have to wrestle with them on early mornings, that I sometimes put them in backwards (yes, you can put them in backwards!) and most of all, I hate that I can’t see hardly anything without them. But if I had to be honest with myself, I should count myself fortunate to not have to worry about my vision. They are called corrective lenses for a reason: they are able to correct my vision impairment. Like you, I have the gift of sight.The night that Vaden and Charles met with the group of parents from her school, they were preparing for the regular questions for Hero Holiday: how much does it cost? Where will they stay? Will they be able to call home? But they weren’t expecting her parents to ask what they did. Kelsey’s* parents came forward after the meeting and asked them one last question. They wanted to know if we would allow her to join us on our Dominican Republic Hero Holiday trip the following summer. Of course we would, why not? And then they pointed out which daughter was theirs: the one quietly sitting down, staring straight ahead, with her hand on the collar of her guide dog, both of them patiently waiting for the answer. The simple question, “Would it be possible for Kelsey to be a part of the trip?” was met with a simple answer, “We would love to have her join us!”.True FriendshipThat summer was a first for Hero Holiday. We started building our first school that is now the education centre for almost 100 young children, we began a life long friendship at a garbage dump with a group of people that we have grown to love and respect, and for the first time, we had a new pair of best friends, Kelsey and her dog, Kaylie. Together they helped carry cinder blocks, apply mortar on the bricks, mix cement, and most importantly, play with the crowds of kids that surrounded them in fascination, eager to learn more about what life was like from their perspective.Guide dogs for the visually impaired have been recorded as being used as early as the 16th century; they are not a new concept. Yet, like so many other limitations or disabilities, those with impairments can be held back by perceptions, lack of opportunity, and even by public stereotypes and stigmas. That year, Kelsey proved to us and to the people that were a part of the experience that not only was she a true hero, but there are many around the world who are capable of doing far more than anyone thought possible, if only they are given the opportunity. We were proud to have Kelsey as a part of our trip, because she was Kelsey and because she belonged there.Team 2 RocksChances are, if you are reading these letters right now, you are part of those of us who make up the population that have our sight. Many of us may never know what it is to be limited by stereotypes, perceptions, and ignorance, yet that means that we can reach and dream even harder of what can be done to make the world a safer place for all of us, without exception.LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute) welcomes people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities to join our Hero Holiday trips and experience the power of making a difference. We are able to do what we do because of our staff, volunteers and participants, and because of the finances raised through our fundraising endeavors. Currently, we have an exciting way for you to help and have something tangible in return: purchase our 2010 Calendar, “Together” and help us to continue to see lives changed at home and around the world through compassion, love, and action. Go to to purchase yours.2010 Calendar“Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others” ~ Jonathan Swift*names have been changed

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: November 15th, 2009