Who Is Anne Sullivan?

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Who Is Anne Sullivan?

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As a little girl, she was accustomed to hardship. She was subject to poverty and physical abuse by her alcoholic father. At the age of 5, trachoma struck, leaving her almost blind. Three years later, her mother died and her father abandoned his children to a relative and then an orphanage where her brother died in a matter of months.

As if that weren’t enough, Anne’s caregivers declared her insane. Locked in the basement of a mental institution outside of Boston, the little girl would sometimes violently attack those who came near. Generally, those around her ignored her.

Anne could have blamed others and refused to rise above her horrible circumstances. Instead, she took control of her situation and turned it around to make a profound difference in the lives of others as well as herself. Anne Sullivan became the teacher to whom Helen Keller, one of the most admired women of the 20th century, gave credit for making a huge difference in her life.

As author and motivational speaker Leo Buscaglia once explained, “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” Like Anne Sullivan, we, too, can choose to make a difference in the lives of those around us—if we are willing to reach beyond ourselves.