A new experience in a swimming pool gives a St. Louis 50 year old the chance to explore the buoyant side of life.
Imagine never having the ability to support your own weight and move about freely, then suddenly, as if by a miracle, having the chance to experience what it’s like to move around unrestrained.
That is precisely what happened to Jim, a 50-year-old LifeBridge Partnership client when he recently attended one of our swimming events.
Jim, a client for the past 15 years with cerebral palsy and visual impairment, experienced for the first time in his life — with the assistance of one of our Community Trained Specialists — what it was like to float in water. Gone, if even temporarily, was the challenge Jim daily faces with walking, and in its place was a new sense of freedom, thanks to his natural buoyancy and help from a Styrofoam float.
As Jim raised his feet, floating through the water, he was elated, with his ability to move about unrestricted. Soon he began to splash around, dunking his face in the water and taking in the new experience of what it is like to be submerged.
The freedom Jim found in that pool is a metaphor for how LifeBridge Partnership has impacted Jim’s life since joining. From the time he graduated high school in his late teens till the time he became a client, Jim’s social involvement was limited to his family and the confines of his home.
Understandably, when he first got involved with LifeBridge Partnership, Jim was shy and introverted, shunning conversation and keeping mostly to himself. But with time, lots of coaxing and friendly encouragement, Jim began to emerge from his introspection.
Fifteen years later, Jim is anything but shy, regularly initiating conversations, building relationships with other clients and staff and even encouraging new participants to get more involved.
Just as the water in the pool gave Jim a chance to experience a new sense of freedom, the social life –whether it’s playing or watching basketball or going fishing with friends-LifeBridge Partnership has given Jim has provided him with the opportunity to develop into a new man who is free of his shy, reserved past.
Note: The preceding story is true. The name of the client has been changed to protect his privacy.