My name is Patricia L. Hughes. I’m a college student, an intern, an executive board member of several on campus organizations. But the thing I am, full time, with no exception is an older sister. I have two younger sisters and both of them are amazing. Hailey is 16 and interested in math and science more than anything on the face of the planet. She has told me that she wants to, one day, be a scientist in the field of stem cell research. My sister Harley is wonderfully creative, an artist, a caretaker, and one of the most loving people I have ever met in my entire life.
Harley has autism. People have told her horrible things her entire life about herself, which are entirely untrue. I try to let her know that her autism is something that makes her special, because it lets her look at people differently: with her whole heart. Many of the “faults” we see in people she completely overlooks because she sees them as kind, loving, and gorgeous individuals. Needless to say, having a sister who has affected my life so fully has had an impact on me. It’s made me see how beautiful all individuals are, how special.
When I went to college I started hearing about Special Olympics volunteering. It made me think how I could help, and how I can be a big sister to children who may not have someone to reach out to. Being involved in Special Olympics in Missouri has been such a rewarding experience, because I get to work with children whose happiness and excitement is contagious. I love being able to see all the smiles and getting all the hugs every time I volunteer. I love being a big sister.