Volunteer Spotlight: Liz Wall, Park City Utah
My name is Liz Wall, and to my daughter I am simply known as Ri. Lottie Wall, my youngest child, was born 14 years ago this October and came to us with Down syndrome. The nickname Ri came from never learning how to pronounce Mommy. When Lottie was born, we where told there were things she would never be able to do, and yet, everyday we are amazed by all the things she can do.
Yes, we listen to the same Dido song on repeat, easily 35 times a day. Yes, Lottie will likely never get the mail on her own, but what an easy trade off for the daughter that teaches patience, simplicity and unconditional love to anyone she becomes close to.
I really can’t put into words just how much Lottie has changed my life, and how much I know she impacts the lives of others. I have yet to meet a parent of a special needs child that has the perfect words for how their child has changed them. Here is what I do have the words for though. The moment Lottie was born, the trajectory in my life changed. I became a fierce advocate for the protection and inclusion for kids like my own not to just survive but thrive in their environments.
It takes a dedicated community of friends and family to look out for my little girl. Services are more accessible when special needs children are younger but they seem to wane as the child becomes a teen and adult. I am extremely grateful to the work Best Buddies has done for people with IDD that get older but still have the desire to be included.
While Lottie will always have an extremely close relationship to her family, she sure does love her friends. Her friends see such happiness in my daughter, and see the simple gifts she brings to this world. They bring her out of her shell in a way her family just can’t. To expand an official program like Best Buddies to the mountain town Lottie lives in would impact so many more than just her.
For the families with special needs children it would give them the capacity to be included, something every child needs. The real impact though, is for the people working with those like my daughter, because they get the chance to see what I see in her… and that’s something truly magical.