Selma full of high spirits, community

Published 6:28pm Thursday, April 4, 2013

Working at a newspaper, part of the job includes some “dirty work.” Covering car accidents, drug busts and inclement weather are just a few of the unfortunate events I have to investigate from time to time. My heart always sinks when I have to ask a police officer if anyone was injured in an event or who was arrested.

However, there is a silver lining to it all. Often times I get to go out and cover positive events where I truly feel immersed in the community. Such was the case this past week when I was given the opportunity to cover the Easter Seal’s annual Walk With Me fundraiser at Memorial Stadium and Cahaba Mental Health’s Special Olympics.

Although I was a little sleepy when I woke up at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, once I got to Bloch Park and saw the many people who came out to support the Easter Seals, my spirits immediately lifted. Before Saturday, I didn’t know much about the Easter Seals program or the Walk With Me fundraiser. After speaking with Rachel Ratcliff, program director for the Selma chapter of Easter Seals, I quickly learned that this organization has a long history in Dallas County. The Easter Seals have been helping families who have members with disabilities and mental handicaps since 1957. Speaking with a mother of one of the preschool students in the program, I was moved to hear how much Easter Seals has benefitted her family.

It’s organizations like Easter Seals that I believe should have more support and a brighter spotlight in the community. This is an organization that works with the heart of the community — our families.

Fortunately, my week of uplifting events didn’t end there. Tuesday morning I embraced the great weather and headed to Memorial Stadium again for Cahaba Mental Health’s annual Special Olympics. Immediately upon entering the stadium, I was greeted with smiles and high spirits. Community members old and young came out to support Cahaba Mental Health, cheering them on in all their events.

While speaking with Lafon Barlow, executive director for Cahaba Mental Health, I found out that this was the largest crowd Selma’s Special Olympics has ever attracted. Not only were there volunteers from around the community who came out to support the event, but local schools also came out in great numbers to spend the day with this special group of residents.

While some may say the news is nothing but gore and sensationalism — I beg to differ. The news, at least in Selma is often the community coming together to support one another in worthy causes. As the weather begins to warm up, I look forward to covering more events similar to these.

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