Make New Friends, But Keep the Old

Kayla and McKenna, Phase I Scholars
Photo of DO-IT Interns Erika and Kaylie are dressed up in party hats and crafts while posing in front of a polka dot background
Interns Erika and Kaylie get silly for craft night during Summer Study 2013.

Ever since birth, we strive to make connections with other people. Throughout our lives, friendships are the anchor we grasp during the hard times. For some, however, making friends and having those life-long connections can be difficult. People with disabilities are just that: People first, who are affected by a disability. Disability does not define us; it's just a part of who we are. Some people, though, seem to disconnect and avoid us because we are "different."

Throughout our years, we have learned how to deal with this rejection. Honestly, it's not rejection though. Some people don't understand that we are all different. Nobody will ever be "normal." Understanding this concept can help us overcome fears to make friends and meet new people.

During this week at DO-IT, we have been thrown together with other people with disabilities from all over the state of Washington. We have met amazing people here and they have become close friends in ten short days. We truly believe these people will stay with us for the rest of our lives and help us through college and vice versa. As C.S. Lewis says, "Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: 'What! You too? I thought I was the only one.'"