Growing up with a sister with Down Syndrome, Elizabeth Graham Pistole has a strong passion for helping individuals with special needs grow and develop. Her first experience volunteering was at her local church on “Special Saturdays” to serve church-goers living with disabilities broaden emotionally and spiritually. “The first time volunteering . . . was way more fulfilling than I could have ever expected,” says Pistole, “and I left feeling joy, gratitude and purpose.”
Pistole has since volunteered at several other organizations including GiGi’s Playhouse where she helps lead several programs and tutor individuals with special needs. She has also served as a best buddy and helped with the annual walk for Best Buddies International; and, has been a volunteer at several Special Olympics Tennessee swimming events. Pistole has enjoyed these experiences and more yet made time to co-found Dancing Divas and Dudes as a volunteer. This nonprofit helps individuals with special needs develop through learning and performing a variety of dance styles. By organizing multiple events a year, Dancing Divas and Dudes gives individuals with special needs a platform to erase negative perceptions. “When we are out in the community dancing and doing our activities, people are getting exposed to the abilities of people with special needs, and that they are capable, approachable and are more similar than they are different.”
That unique feeling of accomplishment and fulfillment (found through volunteering) can only come from offering others opportunity and helping them reach their potential.
Learn more about Dancing Divas and Dudes at dancingdivasanddudes.org.