Last Sunday October 1st, I went to Washington DC for the NDSS Leadership summit and it was awesome. On Sunday I was helping to register people for the events for the following days. As part of the staff of NDSS I went to the Buddy walk that morning in Virginia. I didn’t walk I was more helping staff the event and accompanying Sara Weir the President. I was wearing a lanyard for identification. I was told to trade it in for an official NDSS staff pin and shirt. It was awesome. That night we went through Gettysburg. The first thing we did was a meeting about leadership and how to be a good leader. Then got a bus tour and went to the Battle of Gettysburg and got to walk around, taking pictures. It was pretty cool! I was able to meet Sean and Megan from Born this way. They were awesome to hang out with, fun to talk to and be with. On Monday the staff helped the registered families to come into the panel discussion and brief meetings. Sara started out with her presentation. I also got to speak about my new job being a Manager of Grassroots Advocacy. We then had a panel discussion that talked about employment. It went awesome. After that we got to hang out for awhile. That night we had C21 which stood for Chromosome 21. It was a pop up restaurant, where all of us with Down Syndrome got to staff it. We were servers, bartenders, host, and chefs. We did really well. We servers had our tables, we took orders and we ran food to tables. It was so fun and at the end of the event we had a short program where we showed a short video of Law Syndrome and why it holds us with Down Syndrome back. Congresswomen Cathy McMorris Rogers spoke and the new chair Gordon Spoor of the NDSS did as well. After that a huge group of us went across the road and got to hang out with the filming crew. They were filming us during the entire event that night. I was filmed in a close up. That was fun and I liked being a server. We had to dress like servers in an elite restaurant. After the restaurant a huge group went out for appetizers and drinks. We got back to the hotel late after taking an Uber back. The next day we all went to Capitol Hill and a congressional breakfast, then split into our meetings. Most of my meetings were with staffers. My first meeting was with Congressman John Katko, we got to talk to him for a good while. Talked about moving to DC, which I am doing within a couple of weeks. He said that he would take me out to dinner until he found out what I would be making and he said that I could be taking him to dinner. Then my friend Amy Allyn and I came back home together, we had the same flight going to Washington and coming back home. It was so much fun and we had a great time being traveling buddies. It was a great weekend and really nice that Sara kept introducing me as her new colleague, made me feel pretty special!
Yesterday, my friend from church Jack Sheehan came and picked me up at 3:30 for a motorcycle ride. We rode for an hour and a half out to Skaneateles and the ride back home was the same time frame. When we got to Skaneateles, we had burgers at Johnny Angels, took a walk over to the pier. The background was beautiful the sailboats, the sunset behind me. when we came back I felt like I was flying when I was spreading my arms wide. I love riding motorcycles with Jack.
Last Thursday the 14th I flew to New York City for the Buddy Walk on Saturday, Self Advocacy Advisory Board meeting and dinner on Friday and a Yankees game on Sunday. Let me back up a bit. I took my flight out of Syracuse which was delayed an hour and half so I got in around midnight at the Marriott Marquis. It was time to hit the hay early. On Friday morning we were scheduled for yoga but before that we went outside of Good Morning America. I got to meet Robin Roberts,took a picture with her and gave her my business card, pretty sweet! Then we did yoga with this guy Vytas and his brother. We proceeded to a staff meeting following that, then I aided in registering for the walk. I went to my SAAB meeting with my fellow self-advocates, it started at 1 ended around 4. That night we had a dinner for the self-advocate board. Later that night after dinner I was selected to go to a Lularoe event to mingle with everyone there. It was awesome meeting everyone that night. When we got back to the hotel it was time for bed. On Saturday, some of us went to Central Park to set up for the Buddy Walk and the others were in Times Square where we were able to view the slide show. It was cool to see my picture up there. I loved that. We went to Central Park following the video. I was in the front for the walk holding the banner with some of my other friends. Did the entire walk holding it. We had opening ceremonies led by Chris Wragge who I know personally from previous events with NDSS. I was also part of the program. I presented the Dan Piper award to our self-advocate. I was honored to be chosen to speak in front of the crowd to present such a great award. We hung out and talked to everyone and at 3:00 we broke it down and headed back to the hotel for relaxation, at that point we needed it. I was told to come to a staff’s room to get a dress for that night. We had a Lularoe dinner meeting with the owners. I got to say the blessing and toast. I schmoozed and talked to everyone there. I wore the Lularoe dress that they gave me, it was so cool, I got a lot of compliments on it. They also gave me leggings that I got to keep, so awesome. Dinner was fun talking to all the people, as well as having a 3 course meal. When we headed back to the hotel it was a late night but the staff of NDSS and I got to talk about earlier and everything over a glass wine. It was about 1:30 when everyone decided to call it a night, considering Sunday we were going to a Yankee game. On Sunday was more of a relaxing day at the hotel, the game was 1 and we left in a Uber around noon it was a 50 minute ride there and back to the hotel. The game was so much fun, The seats were cool at the lower level, but when it got hot and it really did we moved up to a shady level a little higher up but it was still cool. Even though they lost it was fun. Got to the airport no problem, flight got delayed again but was able to leave around midnight, got home around 1:30 Monday morning. The weekend was so much fun.
I was asked to speak at SUNY Cortland on September 11th to teachers and future teachers. I speak to them about how I learned in school and my education. I answered questions after I did my speech about my abilities and what I can do, not what I can’t do. I also showed them my video of some of my accomplishments. The class enjoyed my speech and my video. I am happy and confident speaking in front of a class or a group of people. It makes me feel important.
I have a night flight to go to New York City on Thursday the 14th. I am partaking in the NDSS New York City Buddy Walk in Times Square. My picture was one of the ones picked and will be up in Times Square.I can’t wait to see it up close and personal.
I am a SAAB member which stands for Self Advocate Advisory Board for NDSS, we are having our meeting in NYC. We will have our meetings, work at the Buddy walk and then on Sunday will be taking in a Yankee game. I am looking forward to spending time there. I will be coming home late Sunday night. The last flight of the night. I will be in a hotel not sure who I am rooming with or if I am rooming on my own. I will find out soon enough.
Saturday the 9th I had to get up early, my friends and I had bocce competition in Rome, NY at the Toccolana club. When we got there, we had to hurry up and wait like always. Had a brief opening ceremonies to open the bocce regional games. Megan, Brenda, Helen and I played two games and won both games bringing home the gold. My other friends came in third place, fourth place, and second place. It was great competition and a lot of fun. We all met new people and made friends with them. It was an awesome day.
I was in Washington on Sept 6th for an extra day because I originally had a flight the night before from NYC but it was delayed so long that a decision was made that I take the train back to DC with staff and fly out of DC in the morning. The flights were full so I ended up leaving in the evening. That flight was 3 hours late so I got home around 11pm. I was able to stay at President Sara Weir’s house again and I was in the NDSS office working today. I had a lot of fun. Yesterday I was able to participate in a photo shoot. It was really awesome and enjoyed myself I got to wear my yellow dresss and even better I got to wear Sara’s fringed high heels that looked so cool. I met tons of other self-advocates and had dinner with them the night before. I really did enjoy myself. I was glad that I was able to go and have fun. At the photo shoot they were doing still pictures and a video. I did the video piece how awesome was this. They had asked me to sign the lines and speak them too. It was cool that they utilized my skills.
I got a call from Heather Dougherty from SUNY Cortland to come and speak to her class, I have done this in the past, speaking to her class of students, teachers and future teachers and I will be showing my video of my accomplishments and speaking about my abilities, my accomplishments. I am looking forward to it and sharing all of my news with them. It has been awhile since I had a public speaking engagement.
More exciting news happening here. My parents and I traveled to Washington DC about my upcoming job. I am excited about starting. I will be a lobbyist on Capitol HIll knocking on doors and such. Here is the catch though, it means moving to Washington and leaving behind everything back at home in Syracuse. It would be hard but I am willing to do whatever it takes. It is a journey worth embracing. So we came down to meet Dr. Summar and her daughter Rachel, who I really like. I could be moving into their home, doing my job within the DC office, I may be traveling . Here is the super cool part. Colleen Hatcher asked me to do a photo shoot on Tuesday so I am traveling in style with her and Sara Weir the president of the NDSS going to New York City from D.C. I am going to New York City on a train. My first time riding in one and I am loving every minute of it. Like Colleen said any kind of traveling like this with Sara is going in style and I so agree. I am a self advocate, I get to be a model getting my picture taken. I then travel home on my own that night, the last flight of the night. I then go back to NYC for the Buddy walk but I will let you all know about that and everything else NDSS as soon as my support systems are in place.
I have been having a busy summer lately, I have been in my pool a couple of times when the weather cooperates. I went to New York City with the National Down Syndrome society and talked about my new job offer on Fox News Live also talked about Medicaid.
I am still dating my boyfriend Mike.
I recently just got back from summer camp at Casowasco. I did some swimming, kayaking, campfires, worships and singing. I went on a hayride. Lots of fun I even got to celebrate my 30th birthday there, which was pretty awesome, tons of fun. I celebrated before and after camp, definitely a week long and still continuing.
I am still an avid reader, I can still read a book a week. LOL I think my mom can honestly out read me now, she has been reading a lot. She recently retired from work and we did celebrate her success. She was pleased. My summer was and currently is awesome and I am really enjoying it.
We are waiting for some information from NDSS about a visit there to check out some living arrangements for me, definitely something safe and close to a church and stores, lots to think about but I can’t wait!