2013-07-11 / Community News



In a small Kansas town, long before we knew how cruel it was to call someone retarded, Marsha struggled against powerful forces.

Children were cruel to her, adults avoided her and her own mother left, declaring that she “could not deal with it” anymore.

Her departure caused the community to add to its gossip how wrong it was that a man (her father) should be raising a little girl by himself.

Only one person saw the opportunity in the midst of such importunity.

That one person, Katherine, taught the 8th grade Sunday School class at a local church. One Sabbath, she declared to the congregation, and its Elders, that, from now on, Marsha would be the Teacher’s Assistant for that hour.

So it came to pass that myriads of young people started to understand a birth defect called “Down’s Syndrome”. They also learned that having such a condition did not cancel anyone’s membership in the human race.

No official records have been kept, but common sense records that the impact of Katherine’s decision rippled through every family and every community where those children went on to live.

The best result, however, was for Marsha. She now informed all who would listen, “I’m special, you know. I am the Teacher’s Assistant for the 8th grade class at my church.”

All this because one woman practiced the motto,

“Shut Up and Do Something”.

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