Boys and Girls walk in another’s shoes

Published 3:28 pm Monday, April 12, 2010

The newest volunteer at the local Boys and Girls Club has already become a favorite with the children.

You see, Sarah Goforth is teaching them what it’s like to be blind and how to accept people who are, in some ways, different from themselves.

The children crowd around Sarah plying her with questions and that’s the way she wants it.

“How can you get around outside, pick out your clothes, cross the street, count money, cook?” She patiently answers each question explaining that she gets around by remembering where things are and by listening very carefully to the sounds around her. She folds money in different ways; one way for ones, another for fives, etc. She admits that cooking can be a problem, but she labels foods in Braille and sometimes asks for help.

Sarah is a student at the University of Montevallo and in order to get into the social work program, she is required to do 30 hours of volunteer work.

She explained why she chose the B&G Club.

“I wanted to get the children more familiar with the physically challenged in the community; give them a better understanding of how it would be to ‘walk a mile in someone else’s shoes’ so that next time they are in contact with a blind person, they will have a general idea of how to interact with them,” she said.

One of the exercises Sarah has done with the children was to have a beeping-egg hunt.

Their reaction was immediate and enthusiastic: “I fell down.” “I bumped into everything.” “I went in circles and didn’t know where I was going.” “It was really cool.” Another exercise was to have the children feel and try to read Braille. “It’s a lot of bumps,” said one little girl.

“Sarah’s warmth and openness have helped the kids get past their initial shyness to learn more about someone with different abilities,” said Freda Shivers, director of the club. “That awareness will serve these children well throughout their lives.”

The B&G Clubs of Central Alabama are having a rubber duck race on May 1. First prize is $5000 cash. Ducks start at $5 each and may be purchased from any club member.

All monies collected from the “adoption” of the ducks stays with the Montevallo Club. Those who purchase from the site should specify Montevallo. For information, call 665-4466.

Catherine Legg can be reached at