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Valued Social Role and Disabilities: Penguin Plunge as Equalizer

Posted Feb 02 2009 11:45pm

This past Sunday a busload of us crazy folks from Keene, New Hampshire jumped in to the icy waters of Hampton Beach to raise money for the NH Special Olympics.  Our "flock," The Frozen Sections were comprised of many staff and docs from Dartmouth Medical Center/Keene; some staff, faculty, and students from Keene State College, and other local folks.  It was barely 5 degrees when I woke up early Sunday morning, but the sun was shining on us when we plunged.

One observation:  Both the folks with disabilities and the folks without disabilites all felt an important social purpose in raising money and taking this adventure together.  It's a lot easier for folks without disabilities to develop professional and personal identity (through our work and our family life) but it's more of a challenge for those with physical or mental challenges.  But today I could see the great pride in every participant:  A "valued social role," my friend Dave Yeiter has reminded me, is key to happiness.  On this day, I "felt the love."

My 13 year old daughter, Annika, did the camera work for these clips at this year's Penguin Plunge:

Oh and just in case you didn't believe I went in: IMG_0141
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