by Jeanine Johnson
Those of you who have ever read my blogs know how much I love Easterseals, the mission, the staff and the children. You probably also know that I have spoken in the past about what I hope to be a lifelong bond with one student who graduated in 2017. Periodically, I have the pleasure of being able to meet up with Mung as his mother is gracious enough to share her son with me. Mung stole my heart from day one and I am so glad I get to check up on his progress and achievements. You always hope that the personality and happy spirit still remain after the children leave the nurturing environment of Easterseals. It’s a special place and we all know the outside world can be cruel.
Before Winter Break, my daughter and I planned an excursion to take him to see Trolls the Musical. Won’t lie, I wasn’t really interested in the show, but the opportunity to catch up with the little man outweighed the thought of sitting through the program. I have to tell you, experiencing his reactions to the show and his interactions with my daughter Autumn (who used to work at Easterseals and they were as thick as thieves) brought so much delight to me. I don’t know who enjoyed the experience more. Afterwards, the three of us headed out to have lunch where we could catch up properly.
While Mung was a student, he forged several strong relationships with various personnel at Easterseals. One of those people is Eric who was his bus driver at the time and is now our Transportation Coordinator. Eric had the opportunity to get to know Mung and his family over the period he spent transporting Mung and other students to and from school every day. Well, I had one more treat for Mung that day. While we were having lunch and catching up, Eric made a surprise appearance to see Mung. His reaction was priceless. He was at a loss for words, which I have only witnessed one other time with Mung over the years. Once he gathered his composure, he first said “it can’t be” then he went into silly mode and said “I don’t know that man”, all while smiling ear to ear.
By keeping the connection with Mung, I get to see firsthand that Easterseals was a strong foundation to prepare him for what lies ahead. People often say to me that it’s nice that I keep in touch with Mung. His mother thanks me and tells me it means a lot to her and him. Honestly, it’s partially selfish. I get as much enjoyment out of it as he does. I already have ideas for our Spring/Summer outing. Stay tuned!