A family that pulls together to sacrifice for each other and meets the needs of every member is a family full of love.
The Powells are a prime example of such a family, but not under easy circumstances.
Camille and Martin Powell have four children — three of whom suffer from mental illness and a seizure disorder. Under these circumstances, the Powells have learned to pull together as a family to help each other and serve the community.
In 1993, they received the Family of the Year award from the Arc of Utah, in recognition for their community service.
Camille, mother and administrative assistant at the Legislative Coalition for People with Disabilities, said that it isn’t easy raising her children. She said she has worked hard to help her children become more independent, outgoing, decisive and socially successful than the average person with the same disabilities.
Her husband, Martin Powell, a teacher at Springville Junior High, and daughter, Jaquie, are both very supportive of helping out within the family.
Jaquie, a freshman at BYU, said that there are many benefits to taking care of her sisters, Jennalyn and Kerrilyn, and younger brother, Marty. In addition to learning responsibility and time management, she has developed a special relationship with each of her siblings.
Jaquie has worked to help her brother and sisters feel accepted, which isn’t always easy because people are afraid of differences. She has seen people make fun of their disabilities, but she has developed a motto that helps her remedy the situation and teach people that differences are nothing to be afraid of.
“No one can do everything. Everyone has disabilities, so we are all handicapped in a way,” Jaquie said.
Not only does Jaquie work and go to school full time, but every year she is involved in volunteer work. With Jaquie’s busy schedule, Camille has had to learn to find help outside of the home. One service she has found is to have a “buddy,” or friend, for each of her children to help them learn how to behave in public.
Marty’s companion, Sean Elcock is a senior majoring in sociology from Glendale, Ariz. Sean participates in a variety of activities on a weekly basis with Marty, 15, who is attending Springville High School.
Some of the activities that Marty loves to do with Elcock are mowing lawns, shoveling dirt and riding a skateboard. Elcock has taught Marty to ride a skateboard by holding hands with him and then running alongside the board.
All of the activities Elcock does with Marty help him to learn proper manners such as hand shakes, street signs, approaching people and appropriate touching relationships, Camille said.
Elcock said he has learned a lot from Marty, that he is very social and outgoing, but that he can’t be pushed because he needs time to open up. Elcock admits that it isn’t always easy to work with Marty, but sometimes when Marty gives a huge grin, showing that he is happy, it makes it all worth it.
The activities provided by the children’s companions give the Powells the opportunity to focus on their children’s individual responsibilities.
Jennalyn, 20, is attending classes at Utah Valley State College and works with Kathy Allred, a student at BYU. Kerrilyn Powell, 16, a student at Springville High School, works with Lisa Rayko, who is also a student at BYU.
Shelly Bowler/Daily Universe
AT PLAY: Sean Elcock, a senior from Glendale, Ariz., teaches Marty Powell how to ride a skateboard. Marty has a severe seizure disorder.