Monday, June 9, 2014

Kennedy School Class of 2014: One graduate finds joy in serving others

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Guest Post by Allysha Sneed

When first meeting Chris McClam, prepare for a bright smile followed by a warm and caring hello radiating joy and positivity about life. Chris is preparing to graduate from our Kennedy School, a school focused on teaching students with a developmental or intellectual disability. On May 28, Chris celebrated his last day as a volunteer with one of our local partner nonprofits, SOME (So Others Might Eat), the same way he did every other day: by working hard and sharing laughs.


As Chris sat and talked about his time with SOME, he couldn’t help but look around and smile as he reminisced on all the people he had helped, friends he had made, and fun things he had experienced while working in the dining area. Chris has been a dedicated volunteer at SOME since October 2012, working three days each week assisting kitchen staff.

“I help by serving the food, cleaning the plates, washing and spraying tables, taking out the trash, and resetting the tables. My favorite thing to do is clean the tables and wash the dishes,” Chris said. His volunteer work was part of his education -- an important part of Kennedy’s core curriculum is teaching students to build on their strengths and life skills through real-world experience, with aim toward self-sufficiency.

SOME, which serves the in need community through food, medical, and clothing assistance, serves breakfast and lunch daily. As a volunteer Chris had the opportunity to assist in this fast paced environment and became very fond of the staff and members of the community. In volunteering Chris has learned to embody all of these skills and continues to work hard at being his best.

Chris with his one-to-one teacher Patrick Huff
“Breakfast and lunch are served in shifts and Chris works hard serving food the entire time. During his time with SOME Chris has made friends with just about everyone, kitchen staff and members of the community alike. He is always smiling and loves to be apart of virtually every picture taken,” said his One-to-One Support Teacher Patrick Huff. “Chris has become a staple to the people at SOME and he will be greatly missed here.”

Chris says he will miss working with SOME and shares that his favorite memory of getting to serve with the DC United Soccer Team.

Chris will walk across the stage to receive his certificate of completion from the Kennedy School today as part of the class of 2014, decked out in the Kennedy School colors of blue and white. He hopes to take the lessons he learned as a volunteer into the working world, ideally at a local grocery store. But he certainly won’t forget SOME. Chris was quick to say, “I love SOME and will be back to volunteer soon.”