I got an email on November 16th from Sara Weir the President of the National Down Syndrome Society, saying Congratulations on being named 2016 Champion of Change Self -Advocate of the Year winner.
I am over the moon excited. It has been all over face book. It’s been shared by Gigi’s Playhouse Syracuse, NDSS my Mom, and my Dad, and Gigi’s Playhouse Hillsborough NJ. I have many likes and comments. They have been saying how awesome it is, and congrats, and way to go. My parents even sent me flowers. I am going to Washington DC in April, where they will present my award to me in person at the Buddy Walk on Washington. This is way sweet. I am so pumped. What an honor!!
This week is Thanksgiving. I want to wish all of my friends, family and everyone else a safe and Happy Thanksgiving. I also want to take the time to say that I am thankful for my friends, and family. I am also thankful for my Internship at the Congressman’s office and everybody that I work with at that office, as well as my jobs and co-workers at Gigi’s Playhouse and Paparazzi Salon and Day Spa. I am very grateful for all that I have and what God has given me.
I was asked to speak at Colgate by my friend Dan who is involved in Self-Advocacy. He asked me to join him on the campus to talk about my involvement with self-advocates, and how I advocate for myself. I had done my presentation, which ended up being the speech I had given before. I also showed my video which the class really enjoyed. The class I presented to was Colgate students as well as some students from Pathfinder Village in Ostego Academy. Dan wanted me to do my speech first and take questions afterwards I also answered some of their questions, there were not a lot of them. It was a small class. My two friends Josh Howard and Jared Okun were there. I enjoyed speaking to the group. Dan spoke about the movement and the history of Advocacy. We took a group photo with class and two individual photos with my two friends. I hope that the class learned something from my message, and I hope that the students carry my message with them and their friends and family.
I got a sweet call from the Congressman after I was on the Bridge Street Live television show, saying how great a job I did and that I was a great addition to the office! Love working for the 24th District and Congressman Katko!!!
This morning, I went to work at Paparazzi hair salon for an hour, like always. Then when I came home I hung out for a half an hour so.Today was bowling competition at the Lakeview lanes. Mom ,Dad and I drove out to Fulton it took a half an hour each way. My friends and I played 3 games and many of my friends came in 1st place 2nd place and 3rd place. I placed third with a yellow ribbon and I am proud of it. My first game was 82 then my best game was my second game with a 94 and my final game was a 74. My average overall was a 83. Then my friends and I had lunch. My friends had pizza, since I am gluten free Sean the program director of Special Olympics for Center Region had provided me with a grilled chicken caesar salad that was very good. I had a good time bowling today and I was on lane 3 with my friend Candace. It was a good day. It was a fun and awesome day.
Tonight was Halloween so after we came back from church I gave out candy until about 8:15. I didn’t dress because I went to two costume parties earlier this month. Special Olympics where I dressed as a cowgirl and drama where I dressed as a bat so I just wore a Halloween shirt.
Monday October 19th I went on Bridge Street Live television show to talk about Down syndrome awareness, because October is Down Syndrome Awareness month. We want to show people what we are capable of. We can do anything we set our minds to, it may take us longer but we are doing it. They also talked about my abilities and accomplishments, like going to college, motivational speaking and where I do my speeches. We talked about getting my driver’s license, being an extra in a movie called The American Dresser and getting paid for it. They asked me about interning at Congressman John Katko’s office in the 24th District and some of the duties that I perform like learning the computer and phone system and other office responsibilities. I had 5 minutes of air time. It was AWESOME! I would add the video but we were having problems showing it the site was screwy!
Later that day I had a 2 hour drive out to Bath New York. I had a presentation there to two hundred 4th and 5th graders. I did my presentation about my accomplishments, talked about bullying and the “R” word. And not giving up on their goals. I also showed them my video. It seemed that everyone really liked it. I took questions from them, they asked me what is Down Syndrome, my relationship status, if I have a dog, my age, about bullying about the sports I play in Special Olympics. I also received a gift card to Panera. That was really nice; I am looking forward to using it. I also spoke to the students that Ms. MacDowell has in her classroom and gave them a summary of what I spoke about. Emily and I drove back to Syracuse, kicked back for a little while, had some dinner and then off to Syracuse Young Actors at Syracuse Stage. It was a pretty long day but I’d say it was a pretty nice day!
This past weekend I went to Glens Falls to compete in Special Olympic State Games. I competed in Bocce. We left on Friday, it was a 3 hour drive but it was really pretty because all of the leaves were changing colors. I was the navigator for my Mother’s van, we had three vans, my Dad drove one and John Maestri drove the other, there were 14 athletes competing. When we got into Glens Falls, two of the vans went to the hotel after waiting a long time to get the room keys they were going to get lunch after they got to the hotel. My Mom and I went to a Special Olympic Congress meeting, I was chosen to be an Athlete Congress member and my Mom was asked to be the Congress aide, she will accompany Nicole Clapper (another Congress athlete) and I to the meetings. They talked about the events going on and what we need to discuss at our future meeting in December. We will be bringing information back to other athletes, like the I M.O.V.E. initiative, where we set small goals for healthy lifestyles and try to accomplish those goals the next time we meet. My goal is to lose a couple of pounds and keep it off. They also gave me a cool shirt and gave us New Balance sneakers; they didn’t have my size so they have to order them. When we were done me, mom and Nicole drove back to the hotel and met up with everyone else. I had eaten at the Congress meeting but the other athletes did not so we went to dinner early and then went to the Fall Fest outside of opening ceremonies. They had some pretty cool dancers and singer at Opening Ceremonies that was cool, and then the games were officially opened. When we went back pretty much everyone went to their rooms but a t few of us stayed up and hung out.
The next day we were up early for breakfast, then off to the bocce courts. We all played two games. We won our first game and lost our second came in second place and got a silver medal, I was happy with that. There were three other teams, two got gold and one got a bronze so we all medaled and that was pretty cool! We left after medals because we still had a three hour drive home. It was pretty funny though, my Dad was leading and we had to go through these circles, 4 of them in a row but my Dad took the wrong exit on the first one so all three vans were following each other round and round in these circles, we were laughing our heads off! It was a great trip.
I was happy to get my homework done all done because on Monday, I am going to be on Bridge Street for Down Syndrome Awareness month and right after that I am leaving for a presentation at a school in Bath, NY, busy day!
I forgot to mention to everyone at my presentations to watch Bridge Street Live on Monday October 19th. I will be a guest talking about October being Down Syndrome Awareness. Watch for me 10-11 am channel 9!
Dr. Fenlon asked me to present on Wednesday the 14th to her Special Education and Art teachers at SUNY Oswego at Phoenix. I tell them what worked well for me in school and how I learned. I tell them about my abilities and that of others and not to under estimate us. I let them know how hurtful it is when people use the R word whether it’s about someone like me or about themselves. They had very good questions, they asked about the sports I play in Special Olympics and asked what my new goals are since I got my license. I told them it is to get my Associates degree and live independently. They also asked my mom what her proudest moment was. She said me getting my license because it was something I wanted it since I was two years old. I told them about going on the casting call for the movie American Dresser and getting called to be an extra in the movie, so cool! We showed my video that has the pic with me and Tom Berenger from the movie. We took a picture of me with the class because they wanted to be on my blog. So here it is. I hope they all see it!
Tuesday the 13th I had the day off from my college class and it worked out great because I presented at SUNY Cortland. It was an early morning start, a 45 minute drive from Syracuse. The campus was big and took me and Emily awhile to find the building. Heather Dougherty the instructor of the class introduced me. I did my speech and showed my new video the class. The group was small, about 15 students. I am very comfortable talking to future teachers like that. I hope it helps them to teach other students like me better. We did questions and answers. I always like that part, they have good questions but I don’t think they have stumped me yet. Heather asked me to come back and speak to her afternoon class this semester. I will have to see if I can work it into my schedule since I work three afternoons a week and intern the two other afternoons. She also asked me back for the next semester as well. Very cool I like doing it.
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My parents and I hosted a Country Jamboree Friday the 9th at Gigi’s Playhouse for Club Gigi which is for people over 17 years old. We handed out and mailed out flyers to advertise it. We had 65 people in … Continue reading