Speaking engagement on Down Syndrome awareness month


img_1273On October 5th I was scheduled to do a speech at Doctor Fenlon ‘s class. I spoke to future teachers and told them about my abilities and what i have accomplished in my life and showed them a video.

It is important to let future teacher’s know not to underestimate our abilities, work with us hand’s on and we will get it, it just might take us longer. If my talks to future teacher’s helps one student I am happy, if it helps more than that and that would be awesome.

At the end I took questions and so did my parents.

I got a really nice gift card from the professor and took a nice big group picture. I’ve gotten so many nice emails from the student’s in the class, I love it.

I love speaking because I can get the word out there and educate others and this is a perfect month to do it because October is Down Syndrome Awareness month!

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October is Down Syndrome awareness month

img_1266The month of October is Down Syndrome Awareness month.  We like to celebrate the awareness of Down syndrome and to let everyone know our abilities and to let them know that we are pretty much capable of doing anything we set our minds to.

I would like everyone to call us Differently Abled as opposed to retarded (hate that word) or handicapped (almost as bad) or Intellectual Developmental Disability (sounds like Science to me) because I think every one of us is Differently Abled in some way, say you can’t cook and my mother  can, or you can’t drive a car and I can, or you can go to college and oh yeah I can too but maybe someone else can’t but they can do something else that you or I wouldn’t be able to.

We have the same wants and dreams as everyone else. We can do anything anyone else can do. We are MORE ALIKE THAN DIFFERENT  I can drive, go to college, hold down a job and intern at the Congressman ‘s office. I have a boyfriend. My friends that are Differently Abled do many other things equally as well, my friend Johnny is self taught and plays the Bagpipes, my friend Byron can sing like nobody’s business, my friend Carrie is a Zumba instructor, the point is, don’t squash our dreams. We all have the same abilities as everyone else, we may take longer to do them, but that is more than okay. We just try our best and our hardest. That’s what we want everyone to know

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Down Syndrome buddy walk

img_1260On September 28th our Down Syndrome Association of CNY had our annual Buddy walk. It was a two mile walk to show our support for Down syndrome awareness.

Back in April when I was at the National Down Syndrome Buddy Walk on Washington, one of our asks was to try and get our Congressman to come to our local walk. I asked Congressman Katko and he came. It was pretty cool though because I got to introduce him. I was going to give him some space to go and meet everyone but he made me walk along with him. I introduced him to people I knew and he also introduced himself to many others.

Our walk was catered lunch by of Pensabene’s Casa Grande,  we had games for all of the kids, and raffles. The band that played was called Wicked Awesome. Many of my friends and family come to support me and my friends with Down Syndrome, which means a lot to all of us. We want everyone to know that Down Syndrome is not a sad diagnosis!!

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Labor day parade

Labor day weekend was a Skaneateles fall fest and Congressman John Katko and I were texting and he wanted me to accompany him in the parade. The band the Mere Mortals were playing and I got to dance the entire time. I was definitely happy to walk with my boss that day. We hung out with a bunch of friends and it was a great time.

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Upcoming events

imageI will be playing bocce at Italianfest in Syracuse taking place in front of City Hall downtown on Friday night Sept 16th. My Aunt Mel Uncle Steven and Ernie are coming out to watch and will be cheerleaders. I love it when my family comes out to watch us play. I will be playing with my friends Mark Galvagno, Johnny Renzi and Megan O’Hara against the referee’s after they judge the dignitaries games. We play them every year and have a ball and then get we to eat some yummy Italian food. I look forward to it each year!

I have my first test for my class on Tuesday September 20th so I will be studying this weekend. So far I’m doing well I got a 50 out of 50 on one of my papers. I love college and can’t wait to add some more credits toward my Associated degree!

On September 21st I will be going on Bridge Street Live to talk about the DSA of CNY Buddy Walk coming up on the 25th of September. Me and my dad are going to be on so tune in at 10:00 on channel 9 and watch the segment. That night I am going to present in Liverpool High School at 5:30 and share my story with Dr. Fenlon and her class. Her class is made of future teachers, it is a college class held at the high school.

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Exciting times

I have some awesome stuff happening to me. Gigi’s Playhouse nominated me for the one of the 40 under 40 Leaders Who Rock in CNY. Gigi’s contacted me when I was at the Fair working to tell me I was selected as one of the 40. I couldn’t believe it, it is such an honor and I am so grateful to them. In November I am going to be receiving an award during the luncheon at the Oncenter in Syracuse. I am so over the moon excited.

I went to Special Olympics bocce competition last Saturday on the 10th of September and played two games back to back lost the first game but won the second and came home with the bronze medal. That was definitely sweet. I was happy and confident. It was pretty cool because we had 5 teams and all of got a medal, sweet!

This year Gigi’s Playhouse had a table at the State Fair. I worked just about every day except for two days which was not bad. We were there to raise awareness for Down Syndrome and let everyone know about all of the Gigi’s Playhouses especially the one in Syracuse where I work. I had people come visit me like my cousin Tom McKeown, my aunt and uncle, and my other cousins. Senator John DeFrancisco and Wendy Long stopped by. That one was too awesome because they came to my table with the News Crew from Channel 10 and I was on TV with them. That was really cool, Congressman John Katko stopped over to see me twice, I missed him once. Amy Allyn and her husband Dave came over. My mom and dad worked with me one day each and I also worked with my two mentors Emily and Deanna. They were a great help. I loved that everyone came to see me because we posted what my hours were the night before on Facebook. Some people that stopped at the table said that I have seen you on Bridge Street Live and on other things on TV. That was sweet. I also took plenty of selfies to post to Facebook, it was fun and we spread a lot of awareness.

On August 27th my cousin Kara got married to a wonderful guy named Tom Hayes and I am super happy for her. She asked me to apart of her really special day. She wanted me to be an Eucharistic minister and give out communion. I felt super excited about the whole thing. The wedding was at Holy Family and the reception was out on Owasco Lake, close to where I go to camp and it was themed Country and BBQ. It was a great wedding. I did dance the entire night and had a fun time.

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Back to school

This morning August 23rd 2016 was my first day of the Fall Semester, back to school after a really nice summer off. I do love school though. I am in a human studies class. My professor was a head counselor at my old high school and we remembered each other. In class we went over the course schedule and the rubric.
This Thursday we don’t have class but have a homework assignment to do at a later time, I will be going to listen to presentations then write a summary about it using three examples. I think that I am going to like this course.

It is good that we have Thursday off because I am working at the Fair 10 out of 12 days for Gigi’s Playhouse where I work in the office the rest of the year. So only two of the days will effect the days I have school and also work at the Congressman’s office. If you are at the NYS Fair this week through Sept 5th come and say hello we will be1st day of school 2016 in the Science and Technology Building.

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My Congressman John Katko joins the Congressional Task force

Kay and the CongressmanThis year I have been advocating for the Congressional task force that allows us that are Differently Abled to promote legislative activities and public opportunities to enrich the quality of life for those of us that have Down syndrome. I have seen many Congressman and women join and they were posted online. Just recently I talked and have lobbied Congressman Katko for a while to join. He text me the other day and made a call and he joined on to the task force this past weekend. I am so very happy and excited. I am proud of Congressman John Katko for signing on. This means a lot to me.

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Summer time

This summer has been terrific I have been outside a lot going to the parkway and walking around, going on hikes and riding on motorcycles. I especially love swimming it feels really good on a hot days like it has been. I can’t believe it’s almost done and the State Fair is coming up. I will be there 10 out of 12 days working with Gigi’s Playhouse. They are going to have a table and I am the Assistant Site Coordinator and excited to work it this year.

I am still an ardent coffee drinker and love reading books. I have been reading a lot lately just recently I was given the new Harry Potter book for my birthday. I also got a lot of coffee, gift cards and clothes.

I have been working at the Congressman’s office and his campaign office working and trying to get him re elected so he can stay in office and keep his job and I can keep my internship as well.

Just last week I went to camp Casowasco and celebrated my birthday there. We sing, have camp fires, swim and eat. The rest of the time we go on boats, I kayaked again this year, go on hay rides and have chapel time. I love that camp.

I am now 29 and next year I am going to be 30. I can’t believe I am getting that old, WOW huh!

At the end of this month I am going back to school at OCC taking a Human Adjustment course, I have 22 credits now and need a whole lot more for my Associates degree but I am finally done with all of the no credit courses I had to take to get to other classes, woo hoo.

I am still in Special Olympics playing soccer softball, bocce, soccer and bowling is coming up in September, this is my busy sport session.

I am still a public speaker speaking in many schools colleges talking to many different audiences that vary in age groups. I speak to students, teachers, future teachers, and nurses I talk about bullying my abilities and that of my friends. If you are looking for a speaking you can reach me through my email on this site.

Awhile ago my friend Heather Rodriguez posted on Face book a contest to win a photo session, I was very excited that I won it. I was able to get my photo shoot done and hope she posts it on Face book and on our Gigi’s Playhouse site.

I have awesome news I have been dating again and his name is Mike Zellar and we have been going out for three wonderful months. He is 41 and I am 29. He gave me a beautiful bracelet from Alaska. I love it very much, we have been going out to eat, gone to the beach, have coffee and have gone out to a dance. We also love going on walks. He invited me to his house next week to a family party and I am really excited about going and looking forward to meeting his entire family. I have been so happy and he is the best boyfriend. We have been talking and texting he is the best. I couldn’t be any happier.

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Special Olympics Congress and State Games at Brockport, NY

I went to Brockport on Wednesday June 8th. I am a congress member with Special Olympics and we were there ahead of the rest of the contingent for some training. The first day we went over our schedule of events. We watched a movie and had time to relax. On Thursday we had day one of training, we started to work on our personal stories to share with the rest of our group., they showed my blog and that was pretty cool. At dinner we played a great game where we went around the room and the first person said their name with a word or words associated with it, it was supposed to be a sport but that just didn’t seem to fly, anyway the second person had to repeat the first person’s and then their own so we had to remember everybody’s names and the word associated with it, it was fun and now because we remember everyone’s name it seems like we got a lot closer. We worked our personal stories as well as powerpoints to match. That was Thursday’s and Fridays jobs. Toastmasters came in and helped us with our writing projects that day and it was awesome to meet Kate and her daughter Emily. They are really very nice and I was very happy to meet the both of them. On Thursday night after dinner and our training sessions some people stayed back to lounge and watched a flick, the rest of us went bowling. I had a personal best and bowled 142. My highest score in bowling. That was fun. On Friday we had breakfast and went back to working on our stories and then presented them, it was great to hear about everyone else’s story. Friday when I was done me and my Mom met up with the rest of our track and field team. That night was dinner and opening ceremonies, They had a twist at the end of it, we ended up outside for the torch and pretty sweet fireworks. On Saturday was a early morning for everyone. We had breakfast then headed to the track for our meet where we competed. I did the soft ball throw and the 50 meter dash and got placed. In the final I ended up winning the second place medal in the softball throw and the third place medal in the running. That night was dinner and the victory dance where I danced with my friends from track and from the congress. We had a party in the hallway and that was it pretty much. Sunday was pack and breakfast and hit the open road from there to come home. It was a great weekend!

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