by Joanna Frazier 

I was born on July 7th. I was a sick baby with heart defects. I needed and wore hearing aids. It was tough growing up.

When I was a freshman at IND – Institute of Notre Dame – Stevie McDonald from Gallagher Services came to the school to talk about volunteering in the Special Friends Program. I took the volunteer form home with me but my mom told me it was too far. I responded, “Mom, this is what I’ve got to do!”

And I did… Throughout high school, beginning with Robert. He and all the residents that I came to know touched my life. Gallagher Services became my second home. And it was there that I learned from Robert and the residents to see and experience my own insecurities regarding my hearing and speaking differently. I learned that it’s okay to be different. And I learned that friendship has no boundaries.