In seventh grade, a boy with a disability approached a girl named Kait Gregory, looking for a friend. At the time, Kait didn’t have a degree in special education, nor was she trained to serve the boy she barely knew. But Kait did the best thing she knew how to do: she befriended him. Little did she know, this friendship would open her heart to individuals affected by disability—something that would eventually become her life passion.
Motivated by her desire to love people with disabilities, Kait decided to study special education when she went to college. As she began to grow in her knowledge and experience, she hoped to one day serve as a special needs coordinator for a church.
The training she received was great, but she knew that in order to reach her goals, she would need something that would combined clinical classroom training with ministry. When Kait discovered that Joni and Friends offers internships, she was thrilled to know that she could receive training through a Christian worldview. Once Kait was accepted into the program, she embarked on a four-week internship that provided opportunities that empowered and encouraged her to continue in her life calling. During her time with Joni and Friends she not only received disability awareness training, but Kait also received theological training and hands on leadership experience by serving at a Family Retreat in California and by adapting curriculum to train teachers in the Dominican Republic.
When Kait finished her internship, she had learned and experienced many new things. But her most meaningful takeaway was the knowledge that there were other like-minded and like-hearted people serving in the same field. As she reflected on her internship she shared, “You’re never going to be alone. You shouldn’t be afraid of getting involved and doing things on your own because it’s not as scary as you think it’s going to be.”
Kait’s story of growth and passion are a wonderful encouragement. Seeing the next generation of leaders rise up to make an impact is inspiring! Applications are now being accepted for the 2018 Joni and Friends internship program. If you are a college student or young professional looking to learn more about serving people with disabilities, then we encourage you to check out the various internship opportunities available. If you are not interested in an internship, we ask that you begin praying for the individuals who will participate in the 2018 internship programs. We are excited and humbled to see the amazing individuals who desire to learn and grow in the field of disability ministry—knowing that they will make a meaningful, eternal impact!