I am reminded that April is National Autism Awareness Month. Little has been reported by the news media about the crisis of autism. However, Cherokee Health Systems of Knoxville is taking charge in providing developmental psychology services to improve children with autism’s communication skills, one-on-one applied behavioral analysis, cognitive behavioral therapy, and group therapy for treating a variety of needs. Cherokee Health System officials say that many people don’t realize that more than half of those with autism-spectrum disorders hold jobs and live independently as adults.
Helping those who need our compassion and care the most takes commitment beyond the norm. It takes drive to do what some have thought you will have zero or little chance of succeeding in. In the end though, you will experience the reward of accomplishment and self-fulfillment. It is my belief that each one of us has the ability to make a difference in this beautiful world where we live.
This notion about helping those who need us the most brings me to a great appreciation for the work Legacy Housing Foundation is doing for individuals who live in affordable housing. On the outside of the van that transports their products are the words “Good Times.” The man behind the wheel and manager of the Good Times movement is Dean Parker. I have had many conversations with Dean about his job. His response is always “I love helping and serving people.”
Occasionally, Dean has allowed me to “act as Vanna White” on the prize wheel at one of his events. It gives me a sense of fulfillment when I see residents smiling and enjoying the activities. Legacy Housing Foundation’s mission is one-of-a-kind delivering products to individuals living in affordable housing in Knoxville and surrounding areas, accompanied by fun and games.
Dean has expressed that he has a deep passion for the people he serves by providing the residents with products such as body soap, hair shampoo, laundry detergent, toilet paper, and floor cleaner. He is a one man show with an all-volunteer staff which includes some of the residents he serves.
Cherokee Health Systems and the Legacy Housing Foundation are only two of the many organizations committed to helping those who need us the most. They are the banner carriers for the homeless, misunderstood individuals who are separated from society because of a myriad of problems. If you are moved by this message, please hear the call to volunteer your time with an organization serving these folks. Dean can always use your help.
Never Give Up! Never Give Up! Never Give Up!
By Chaplain Ghosten