By Will Falb
My name is Will and I am a senior at Dover-Sherborn High School. I became involved with Youth in Philanthropy through the Natick Program in 2017, and am now also a member of the Junior Board. While I had heard the term philanthropy before experiencing this program, I never really knew or understood what it actually meant. By the conclusion of the program, I felt that I had a comprehensive understanding of the meaning of philanthropy.
My experience in YIP was unparalleled – I became acutely aware about the needs in our community and how I could get involved. It sparked my sincere interest in volunteering; showing me how enjoyable it can be while having such a big impact in our community. Waypoint Adventure, a non-profit that lets individuals living with disabilities experience life’s full potential through adventurous outdoor programs, is a program that I now have a special connection to and volunteer with most often. I was introduced to them when my YIP team selected them for a grant to help fund their activities as well as help to cover the cost of a TrailRider Black Diamond wheelchair, an off terrain wheelchair.
It was so amazing to see the wheelchair in use to help people living with disabilities hike and climb over rocks and obstacles in the woods. I’m in awe of the participants of this program. When we go out with them, rock climbing, hiking, kayaking, or completing a ropes course, I almost always hear a participant say that they pushed their limits and did what they didn’t believe they could do. This is my favorite part each time I go out on a program with Waypoint Adventure. How many times do we, able bodied students, push our own limits, reach for what might seem impossible, and then accomplish our task?
One of my favorite experiences at Waypoint was when I witnessed a man who has restricted mobility climb to the top of a rock climbing wall by himself. The look on his face when he realized he reached the top by himself while in a wheelchair was like no other. I’ll never forget the moment after helping to lower him down from the wall when I gave him a high five and congratulated him for his accomplishment. He was a hero to me and to all those watching him climb – accomplishing something that I as an able-bodied teenager might struggle to do.
Learn more about how you can support other YIP students like me through our “If Not Us, Then Who?” Campaign.
Learn more about the Youth in Philanthropy program.