Kelly Tittle isn’t worried that she can’t walk without a walker. She’s not worried about how she can barely make a sentence. Her severe disabilities don’t bother her.

She’s worried about what she can do for you.

Kelly Tittle isn’t worried that she can’t walk without a walker. She’s not worried about how she can barely make a sentence. Her severe disabilities don’t bother her.
She’s worried about what she can do for you.
“I want to help people, it makes me feel good,” she said.
Kelly goes to the Developing Potential Inc. in Independence. The program teaches about 50 “customers” with developmental limitations things like hygiene skills and basic math and spelling and offers physical therapy.
“A lot of them don’t see their handicaps,” said Sandy McGuire, an individual care instructor. “They come in happy every day even though they have a lot of problems they’re struggling with. They come in with such a good attitude.”
DPI customers help others through their volunteer club. Members of the club volunteer all over the city by making baby baskets for Lighthouse Maternity Home, treat packages for animal shelters and cards and care packages for servicemen, collecting food for Harvesters and cooking at Ronald McDonald House.
“They’re thinking about other people not themselves,” McGuire said. “They want to overcome their disabilities to help others.”
Their most recent volunteer endeavor is through Good Shepherd Hospice. The club makes cupcakes, birthday cards, decorated plates and door-knockers for the hospice patients.
“I asked them if this was something they wanted to do, and right away they said, ‘yes!’” McGuire said. “Each month we keep adding more and more, they really enjoy it.”
One of the staff members, Rebekah Turner, came up with the idea when she was looking for a way for her “Little Sister” in the Big Brothers and Big Sisters program to volunteer in the community. She contacted Debby Hays, the volunteer coordinator at the Good Shepherd Hospice and it went from there.
“A lot of times people have a stigma and preconceived notion of a group of people by thinking we have to help them,” Hays said. “This (group) is showing how they can help us.”
The patients at the hospice love the services DPI provides for them.
 “It’s kind of a way to see they’re number one and someone cares about them,” McGuire said. “Some even cry when they get them.”
The club members feel just as good about it.
“It makes them feel like they’re doing something worthwhile, and they are,” McGuire said. “They’re just so proud to help.”
The volunteer club has helped spread the word about DPI.
“We want the community to understand people with disabilities, and this really helps,” Turner said.
Not only does the volunteer work help the community, “customers” and DPI, it also helps the staff. McGuire was a rest home certified nurse for five years, but she never got the fufillment she gets from DPI.
“I thank God every day that I found this place,” McGuire said. “I can come in sometimes and be down with something that happened maybe over the weekend. But when I see these little people struggle to walk down the hallway, and hear them say ‘you look beautiful today’ it makes everything go away and I forget about it. I’ve grown so much.”
Hays thinks that DPI’s volunteer club can inspire others too.
“People can realize that contributions and support can come from anywhere,” she said. “It’s more of a heart-to-heart connection than anything else.”