It is amazing what I can get myself into.
Since my revelation a few years back that I could do this disability stuff much better on my own, I have found myself going down pathways I could have never thought possible. I can be anywhere, and I will see or hear an opportunity… and bam! Off I go!
Recently, a football camp for kids with and without disabilities has turned into a major media event for the town. My goal? Furnish IPads for the Special Education Department at our public schools. The event is wrapped around the upcoming Super Bowl in Indianapolis and simply continues to grow every time I make a phone call.
It’s not anything I am doing, but the synergy of bringing together a lot of people who possess different talents and connections to people who can get things done. It is crazy, but fun and I would rather garner IPad’s for the kids this way than through an IEP.
Which of course is my point.
Is my method of getting things done for everyone? No. But it may not be that far outside your comfort zone either. Let me give you an example. My daughter, who has Down syndrome, sits at our dinner table every night talking about French class. Never mind that she doesn’t take French, I enjoy listening to her imagination take flight. But the other day, it was more than a smile and a wink to my husband that got me thinking. I thought – what about a French class for our daughter?
She can’t keep up with a regular class load, but if my daughter really wants to learn French, then by God, I will give her a French class.
This of course, took me one step further. What about some extracurricular activities after school for kids with disabilities? Mind you, I’m an inclusion nut – but my daughter would prefer to be with kids like herself, so could I set up a curriculum of activities for kids after school with disabilities? A foreign language or art class? Find some families that would be interested, determine the cost, and proceed. Maybe go to the PTO for a grant if I need additional funds.
That is how it works. And I have found that once you start thinking this way, the world is your oyster – or better yet, your child’s oyster. No one will be able to hold you back. There is no paperwork. There are no requirements or people wondering through your life asking for personal information. It’s normal – just like we all say, time after time, that we want it to be.
No one is embracing this way of thinking more than Aspire out of Chicago, who every day is empowering people who have different abilities to live productive lives in new and innovative ways. They are taking full advantage of social entrepreneurship through the creation of Aspire Coffee Works. Through this social enterprise partnership, they have created jobs for people with disabilities and are empowering them to grasp the rewards of living a fulfilling life. Please watch their video and be INSPIRED and think about what opportunity awaits you. Oh, and by the way, their coffee is great! Order and enjoy!