We meet so many extraordinary people each year; Guerdy, the volunteer in the center of the above photo, is definitely one of those people. Guerdy was a volunteer at our recent iCan Bike camp in Frankfort, Illinois. Here is Guerdy’s story in her own words:
“My name is Guerdy and I work as an Occupational Therapist for the Lincoln-Way Area Special Education Cooperative in Illionois. My family and I have been part of iCan Bike camp for the last 5 years. I found out about this camp from my co-worker Tom. The training that we received prior to the first day of camp prepared us as to what to expect and the progression that would take place as our campers make gains throughout the week. However nothing really prepares you for the moment your camper rides a two-wheeler for the first time. It is incredible!
For the last four years my daughter Freddie, my son Jeremy (first from right in above photo) and I have volunteered for the iCan Bike camp. This year we recruited my nephew Corey (first from left in above photo) to join us since my daughter Freddie wasn’t able to participate due to her work schedule. Volunteering for this event has become a yearly engagement for our family. The program has made an important impact on my children’s lives and mine as well. A couple of years ago we scheduled our family vacation around the dates of the camp in order to be able to participate. My children and I really look forward to being a part of iCan Bike year after year.
As an Occupational therapist it has been rewarding to see a camper meet or exceed their goals, progressing a little at a time. As a volunteer you grow as they do. Each day as each individual progresses at his/her own rate is a special gift to us, an awesome opportunity to be a little piece of the big effort to make it happen. It could have been a word of encouragement, a high five, a ‘good job’, a ‘keep pedaling’, or a ‘keep moving’ that made the difference. Our encouragement and support are what helped the camper progress from a roller bike to independently riding, or with just minimal assistance riding a two-wheeled bike in a matter of only 5 days. That is a huge achievement!
Volunteering is giving back to the community and opening your mind to learning new and different things. Freddie volunteered because she learned something from each camper that she helped coach along the way towards their goal. She learned persistence, perseverance, and that words of encouragement and a positive attitude go a long way. Being a part of iCan Bike camp has been a life changing experience for all of us in the Toussaint family. Jeremy helped coach a little girl this year and at the end of the camp, according to her mother, the child stayed up late the night before to finish making a bracelet that she presented to Jeremy as her thank you gift for helping her achieve her goal. It was a very moving experience for Jeremy because this camper was a very determined child. He helped her make her dream come true. She was the first camper that the iCan Bike team launched outside on a two-wheeler.
By volunteering with iCan Bike camps I know that my children have learned to be more empathetic to others, they have learned and have a better understanding of individuals with special needs. They have also learned the importance of giving back to the community that they live in, that we are a part of.
I want to thank iCan Shine for choosing us to be featured, but I know that each and every individual who signs up to volunteer for the camp year after year are very special individuals. The Toussaint family feels very fortunate to have had this great opportunity to be a part of our local iCan Bike camp for the last few years. We look forward to continuing to volunteer. We are indeed grateful for all things, big and small.”
Guerdy Toussaint, we thank you for your selfless efforts, returning year after year helping others reach their potential right alongside you. May Guerdy and all the riders she helps continue to shine!
Do you know an amazing volunteer with a story to share?
If so, please forward it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org