Henry Handley, a second year student at Virginia Wesleyan University, is a student leader who is active, not only with the Methodist Church off-campus but also with a variety of youth organizations. For the last few years, Henry has worked with individuals who have disabilities through summer and sports camps to provide participants the opportunity to play sports and engage with other individuals in a non-academic setting. He is currently a coach with Jacob's Chance, an organization that provides athletic opportunities for individuals with special needs. Within the Methodist Church, Henry volunteers with Haygood Methodist Church and aids with their youth group activities on Fridays. When he graduates, Henry desires to get his Master's degree in Occupational Therapy. Currently, his research examines ways to incorporate occupational therapy concepts within the different youth organizations with which he volunteers.
The social cause that drives me is special needs advocacy. From volunteering at summer camps for special needs children, working as a special education paraeducator in my hometown teaching summer school, to working as a caretaker for a young man with special needs, working with people with special needs has always been a burning passion of mine. It has always been something that pushes me forward when I falter, the saying “If not I, then who?”. There has always been a shortage of people willing to work with and help people with special needs, and my hope is that I can in some way help alleviate that shortage and assure that less children with special needs grow up without proper care, and that overall more people with special needs can reach their full potential.