Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Ben Wahlman: Artisans Reflection

My experience as a Knight of Gonzaga thus far has exceeded anything that I could’ve possibly imagined. The weekly service that we do is the pinnacle of my week. As many of you may know, both the Knights and Setons of Gonzaga are involved with a group called The Artisans. Through The Artisans, each student is assigned a mentee throughout the school year where we help an adult with special disabilities make progress, in hopes of bringing them out into society and finding jobs and creating amazing lives for them and the people around them. My mentee’s name is Neil and I can say that my time with Neil has truly changed my life. Before I came to Gonzaga, I had a little experience with mentally disabled adults, as my cousin has down syndrome. I had worked with him before and he was pretty high functioning. Neil, on the other hand, is much lower functioning than my cousin so at first I was a little concerned on how I was going to interact with him. However, I quickly learned everything about Neil like the fact that he loves to color, play board games, play on the Wii, and his laugh is the most contagious laugh that I have ever heard and is funny enough to brighten anybody’s day! Overall, I absolutely adore working for the Knights of Gonzaga and especially with my mentee Neil, as he has taught me so much about myself in the few months that we’ve had together and I would not want to trade that special bond that I have with Neil for anything else in the entire world.

- Ben Wahlman
Knight of Gonzaga

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