This year a new Laurel, Sara, * came to our Young Women class. She arrived with many challenges. She is mentally handicapped and is sometimes difficult to understand because her speech is unclear. Sara is home-schooled. Her family brings Sara to midweek activities so she can have some interaction with her peers. When I first met her, I wondered how she would be accepted by the Laurels in my class.
I didn’t have to wonder long, though, because Sara was welcomed with open arms.
One of the first activities she came to was a craft night. All the Young Women were making finger puppets to give to the local children’s hospital. Without prompting, a few girls from the Laurel class invited Sara to sit at their table. She remained there the entire evening, working alongside all the other girls. At subsequent activities, Sara was always included, without prompting from the adult leaders.
Our ward-sponsored “Back to School Dance” at the beginning of the school year was especially memorable. I was in the ward library making a few copies before the activity began. As I was waiting, someone came from behind me and gave me a hug. It was Sara.
I noticed she was dressed up for the occasion. She followed me into the cultural hall and watched the others dance. She tapped her feet to the music and said, “I know this song.”
We weren’t on the sidelines long before one of our class members came over and said, “Hey, Sara, come dance with us.”
Sara leaped from her chair and followed this girl out onto the dance floor.
Sara’s classmates have accepted her in a way that is genuine and caring. When I think of Sara and the other Laurels in my class, I often think of the scripture, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matt. 25:40).