Make A Difference Monday: The World Needs More of This

This morning I got a text message from a family member telling me to check out an article on the front page of the Hartford Courant.  I don’t get the paper at my house and just got the chance to check out the article, but as soon as I did, I knew I needed to get on here and tell everyone about this amazing and inspiring story.

In case you’re not the reading type (except for my blog of course!) here’s the gist: At age 15, CT resident Micaela Connery didn’t get picked for a part in her school play.  She wasn’t sure why, but decided she would instead start her own independent production at her school.  She also noticed that there were never any students with disabilities involved in school plays or activities, and decided she was going to do something about it! And so Unified Theater was born. The program is a truly inclusive theater program in the Hartford, CT area, which brings together children and young adults with and without disabilities to put on productions.

Micaela’s program is expanding all over the country from CT and CA. Amazing, right?! I thought so too! If you are a parent of a child with special needs, check to see if there is a program in your area. They also offer program training to anyone interested in bringing Unified Theater to their neck of the woods–I’m definitely thinking about it. 

And all of this start when a 15-year-old girl, now 25, turned one road block in her high-school years into an inspiring and life changing program for kids. The world needs more people like Micaela. So to all my 20 something friends reading this: don’t doubt that we can, and we will, do our part to make a change too. 🙂

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Make A Difference (through music) Monday

Hi Everyone!

Just a heads up, this will probably be my last post before heading to Camp Care Thursday-Sunday then immediately off to a beach vacation for a week with my family.  I’m trying to “unplug” for this time, as I always do during camp, but you never know what I might get inspired to share with you all during a week on the beach.

I wanted to share a little something about Camp Care before I go though.  I thought, what better way than through music since music becomes a huge inspirational diving board for our morning and evening meetings.  This will be my 6th Camp Care session now, and these two songs have kind of become a perfect definition of what Camp Care is for me and for every one of the therapist staff, volunteers, kids and their families. (Note: get your tissues for the Matthew West song…)

Tenth Avenue North-Love Is Here

Matthew West-The Last Ones

For my readers that don’t know much about Camp Care, please check it out here. It is an amazing, completely free, therapy and recreation camp for children with special needs. Any of my SN parents readers or peers, if you are in the area anywhere driving distance to Connecticut (and even if you’re not) it’s worth checking out for you or your child.  Therapy focuses on both manual therapy techniques and functional therapy. I might have been a few years late on the bandwagon, but it has truly made the biggest difference in my life in terms of other therapies.  At least, that’s how I feel now that I’m an adult and have tried various things for myself. (Second note: you do not have to be of any specific religious affiliation to take part in camp or its activities.)

I know so many of you reading this have been such a huge source of support for me over the years through all my different trials and triumphs and I thank you immensely for that.  Many of you have supported my fundraising efforts in the annual Columbia Classic which benefits Camp Care.  This is so important since the camp, and its therapeutic riding program, are entirely run on donations. Thank you.

Even though I choose to participate in Camp Care as a volunteer first and foremost, when the time comes to participate as a camper, I thank God that I have so many of you praying for me and hoping for me. It makes all the difference in the world for me and my spiritual, emotional, and physical successes during Camp Care. Thank you.

All I ask is that you continue to keep all of us involved in camp in your thoughts and prayers over the coming days. All my love.

Make A Difference Monday

A fellow blogger I’ve often talked about, Sarah, occasionally writes “Make A Difference Monday” posts. From what I’ve seen, these posts are generally about some cause, organization, or individual that is doing something to…make a difference! 🙂

An event near and dear to my heart is coming up, so I thought I’d give it a try. I’ve often blogged about what Spinning means to me and how something as “simple”–though the class itself is anything but–as a group exercise class, completely changed my life almost 4 years ago. For those of you that have never read it, please read my post about Spinning here.

Four years ago, the gym I belong to started a charity event called Pedal for a Purpose. The event was a 5 hour spin-athon to benefit various causes important to both the members/staff of the gym, as well as the pediatric physical therapy clinic it is joined with. The first year: Spinal muscular Atrophy (SMA) CT Chapter. The second year: United Cerebral Palsy CT Chapter (and yes, I cried my way through the entire day for so many reasons I don’t have the energy to get into tonight). The Third Year: Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation CT Chapter.

This year: National Multiple Sclerosis Society CT Chapter/Team Jenifer. I don’t know that I would normally publish something like this on the blog, but with this cause I really could not pass up the opportunity. Not only is this cause so important for because of the number of people diagnosed with MS in the state (and country), but Team Jenifer honors one of our own.

Jen is one of the gym members I first met when I joined and also one of the Spin instructors. She also happens to be diagnosed with MS. Jen is one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met, and her and I instantly connected because of what our passion for spinning truly means to us as people who have a little extra challenge to overcome getting on the bike everyday. She inspires me in more ways than I can even begin to express, and I am so honored to be riding for her (and more importantly WITH her!!) for this event! In fact, she is so loved by all of us, that they had to add an extra hour in to make sure everyone got a chance to ride! She has already made a huge difference in my life, and continues to make a difference in the lives of all she meets, befriends, and rides with! Jen is someone who constantly reminds us of the importance of HOPE and the strength of the human spirit.

Riders get sponsorships for each minute they are on the bike (rides are 50 minutes in length) and all money raised goes to the CT chapter as well as Team Jenifer! As I’ve said, for more reasons than one, this event is so close to my heart and I couldn’t help but share with all of you who have also become close to my heart.

Pedal for a Purpose will take place on Sunday, March 27, 2011 from 8am-4pm.

If you’d like more info on this event, how to get involved, or how to donate please visit: Team Jenifer, Cheshire Fitness for Women, or contact me via comments and I will e-mail you back!

Thanks for your continued support everyone! 🙂