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National Service and Inclusion Project

Inclusion: The active engagement of people with disabilities as service members in all levels of national and community service
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Photo of Steve Royalty Participants: Steve Royalty

Program: Green River Area Development Senior Connections, Kentucky
Service: Provides hospice care for elders; tutors children; disaster relief with Red Cross; Ombudsman for people living in institutions in Kentucky. Members improve the quality of life for at-risk low income elderly in western Kentucky by providing in-home assistance in the areas of home repair, home management, chores, caregiver relief and home safety and education and assessments.


Interview with Steve Royalty, February, 2001

TOPICS:

  1. INTRODUCTION
  2. SERVICE

1. INTRODUCTION:              real audio clip icon

STEVE ROYALTY: My name is Steve Royalty. I’m 45 at this time and I’m in AmeriCorps program. I’m actually in hospice; Kentucky Reads, where we go out to different schools [and] we tutor children that are not reading correctly in their grade level. We handle first, second, and third grade and they may be reading at the kindergarten and first grade level. And I’m in Red Cross. I’m also an Ombudsman here in the state of Kentucky. So I’m in quite a few programs…It keeps me busy.

2. SERVICE:              real audio clip icon

STEVE ROYALTY: I believe that’s what AmeriCorps is all about. I believe they’re here to help people who need help. Now you say, “Well Steve, don’t you need help? “ Yeah, I probably need it worse than anyone. Back when I was sick…I say back when I was sick but I’m just as sick as ever. I get around; you’d never know physically that anything was wrong from looking at me but I have a large amount of problems. I have my own problems. I have tremendous problems; but I feel my problems, I believe I can overcome. These people can overcome theirs but they’ve come to the point that they’re so depressed they don’t feel like they can. Now when we get out there and we give them help we are bringing up that feeling to the point that they say, “Maybe I can overcome these problems myself”. It’s like we are bringing up that person’s self-esteem to the point that they can overcome the problem themselves. I think that’s the best hope in the world. It’s not just you giving to them all the time and they are just laying there doing nothing. But if you teach them how to do it or you come out and do it for them. They feel like “I’m not gonna ever get nothing” and [then] people show up and paint, or build a ramp and they feel wonderful. And I can't think of anything better for me than making another person feel good. That’s what it’s all about. I don’t care how bad I felt, or how bad I feel, or how bad I will feel in the future; my goal in life or my volunteerism, or whatever you want to call it, is to make another person that’s worse than me, feel better.

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©The National Service Inclusion Project (NSIP) is a training and technical assistance provider on disability inclusion. NSIP partners with the Association on University Centers on Disability, National Council on Independent Living, Association on Higher Education and Disability and National Down Syndrome Congress to build connections between disability organizations and all CNCS grantees, including national directs, to increase the participation of people with disabilities in national service.