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Eli Etzioni

A reflection of a 17 year old volunteer’s time at Boyer Children’s Clinic

There’s something magical happening inside Boyer Children’s Clinic. My name is Eli Etzioni. I am currently finishing up my senior year of high school at Seattle Academy of Arts and Sciences. I have been at Boyer for the last seven weeks on my Senior Internship. In 2012, I was lucky enough to be placed at Boyer by Teens in Public Service (TIPS), a program that provides paid internships for high schoolers at local nonprofits. I’m writing this to try to distill Boyer’s magic into a few short paragraphs, and also to explain why I chose to return to the Boyer family for my seven-week Senior Project this spring.

We’ve all been told a thousand times that “teamwork makes the dream work”, and that “two is better than one”. But at Boyer, the fundamental truth that these clichés are based on could not be more evident. Boyer is an incredible collaboration between individuals. Depending on each child’s needs a child may work with a team of therapists, educators, nurses, social workers and family resources coordinators who work tenaciously to do as Boyer’s mission says: “improve the quality of life of children with neuromuscular disorders or other delays by providing the best possible solutions for each child and family.”

If a child needs speech therapy, physical therapy, occupational and feeding therapy, then Boyer can and will provide all of those services, even if each service has to come from a different person. What makes Boyer so special and successful is that all of these people will work together. At frequent team meetings, therapists get the chance to converse with teachers from their clients’ classes. At these meetings, I regularly see one child’s teacher exchange thoughts and ideas with the child’s therapists. Then, you will see each team member revise the way that they work with that child accordingly. I truly believe that the “magic” that occurs at Boyer is because people come together to create collaborations that are infinitely more powerful than the sum of their parts.

Even as a senior in high school on a short internship, I was surprised that I could contribute in a meaningful way to Boyer. And that is what is most magical about Boyer: anyone can be a part of it. I’ve spent most of my time in Boyer’s classes, with the most energetic, shyest, and by far the cutest kids I’ve ever met. I did not have any prior training or experience. But with help from the teachers and teacher’s aides, I have been able to connect to many of the children in my classes. I have helped teach them how to share, how to say please, and how to leave their parents behind to go and play. I have held them while they’ve laughed and while they’ve cried.

One quotation hanging on the wall here at Boyer says: “A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the type of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove, but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.” I am proud because I know that I have changed the lives of the children at Boyer for the better.

But that’s not all. I also know that my world will be forever better because these children have made an even greater difference in my own life. Working with the children here, making mistakes and learning from them, struggling through the ups and downs, and finally achieving some concrete successes has helped me find compassion, empathy, and a lot of patience within myself. Although what I do every day isn’t easy, it all started with just taking the initiative to jump into Boyer’s world. And that is something that anyone can do.

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Boyer Children’s Clinic improves the quality of life of children with neuromuscular disorders or other developmental delays by providing the best solutions for each child and family.

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