Power of Prayer: The Fearfully & Wonderfully Made Players - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Tyler - 11/4/2007

Power of Prayer: The Fearfully & Wonderfully Made Players

It's Wednesday on the campus at Grace Community School.
It may be the most anticipated day of the week. At 3pm classes end, but the lesson is just beginning. After school on Wednesday's is rehearsal time for the "Fearfully and Wonderfully" made players.

Its a group of children that not only struggle with the challenges of the theater...they also face the challenge everyday of autism or down's syndrome.  Normal for these kids and their parents is not the same as for most.

"We have a new normal now," says Kim Covington, mom of 8 year old Avery.  "She's such a gift. Everyday is something new and exciting . Its just unbelievable to be the parent of a special needs child."

"You know the interaction at a level of normalcy. Where they are treated with respect just like you would treat any child. And all of that goes toward raising their ability to interact with the population at a comfortable level,"  says Grace Ram, mother of 16 year old Christina 

"When we had the opportunity to move over to Grace just an even great blessing because our kids are given mentors," remarks Kim.  "High schoolers that they look up to, I mean some of them have become heroes in our house. And its really something she looks forward to every week."

This ARC sponsored program moved to Grace Community School this year. Theater director Delisa Bice found it to be a project that fit perfectly with the school's mission.  She hoped one or two of her drama students would help.  By the time rehearsals were off and running there were more high school volunteers than actors.

"My expectations were just getting to work with these kids...and sharing my passion, which is theater, with them. But once I got here they were more of a blessing to me than we have been to them. Its just been incredible," says Grace student volunteer Hannah Woolverton.

"You come...and most people think they are different and they are not. They are just like you," says Grace student volunteer Jordan Holland. "Its so amazing to see the smile on their face. If you are having a bad day, you just come in here and they brighten your day.

"I look forward to Wednesdays,"  says Grace Theater Director Delisa Bice, "because it is so great seeing the kids come in...the love they have for the high school kids and hanging out with them. Getting on stage, being in front of a microphone, they love it. And you can just see the life come into them. Each week they get more outgoing and more comfortable and more communicative and that's really rewarding."

"Its been so neat," says Grace student volunteer Christina Norton, "these kids are so joyful about everything they do. I honestly wish I could have the same passion they do. Like up on stage and everything. I never see them frowning or anything like that.

After almost two months of rehearsal...
Its show time... a moment they will never forget.

"My daughter has Down's Syndrome," says Grace Ram, "and when they learn something, really learn it they know it forever. She'll be talking about being on stage with whoever her aid or helper is, Kelly, or another girl she is very fond of, and she'll go back and refer to that. And years from now she'll remember it. When you and I have forgotten, she will remember."

"As a Christian you pray a lot for your children," says Kim Covington, "but I think as the parent of a special needs child, perhaps, I pray a little bit more. Certainly for opportunities that might come her way as something that she would be able to participate in with peers, somebody in her own age group. Where she would be accepted and loved, not criticized. And this certainly has been that."

"Your not sure if they will make the next milestone," says Grace Ram, "no matter whether that is sitting up, walking, talking, reading...and as you progress, as they age and you do make those accomplishments, perhaps at a slower rate or perhaps not as well as your other children did. You see that this child has a very viable life and that they are a huge gift. Not only to your family but to everyone. And in a way I like sharing her with other people because she is really

This group's name comes from a verse in the book of Psalm that says;
"I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful and I know that full well."

And now so do we.
Clint Yeatts, Channel Seven News.

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