Nebraska State Treasurer John Murante
To celebrate our community this season, give a cheer to the amazing organizations and members of the Nebraska disability community. Read on for my favorite excerpts from our blog to learn about what brings them strength and joy:
Deb Safarik, President, Down Syndrome Advocates in Action Nebraska (DSAA)
The most rewarding part of being involved with DSAA is when we feel we have helped a parent feel more confident in advocating for their child, whether that be in regards to their Individualized Education Program (IEP), with their child's school, or in talking to their physician. Two members of our board have completed Inclusive Education Lay Advocacy Training so that our organization can provide support to parents who ask for help in communication with their child’s school about their needs. We tell parents they are the specialists and know their child the very best. We want self-advocates to feel more confident telling others what they need and to express their desires.
Melanie Kirk, Parent, Down Syndrome Association for Families
We decided that the theme for Teddy’s adoption celebration would be ‘All the best superheroes are adopted.’ Like the Kents (as in Clark Kent – or Superman – for all you non-superhero people), our home has been entrusted with the care of an amazing life that we didn’t bring into this world, but who we adore as though we did. And we are charged with helping him grow into the amazing person he is meant to be. In the immortal words of Stan Lee, with great power comes great responsibility.
It is so amazing to be able to speak with other parents and families [within DSAF] who understand the experience of being blessed with a child affected by Down syndrome. It’s more than a shared diagnosis. It’s a shared experience. Different isn’t less. It’s just new.
Erin Stoll, Major Gifts Officer, Special Olympics Nebraska
“Wake up! Put your heart and soul into EVERYTHING you do and NEVER GIVE UP!”
These are wise words spoken by one of my heroes and friends, Melissa Giersch. Melissa is a Special Olympics Nebraska athlete. She and I met when I first started working at Special Olympics Nebraska in 2012. A few years ago, I helped Melissa write a speech about how Special Olympics has impacted her life, and the quote above is the final line of that speech. I have heard Melissa give that speech dozens of times, and that last line always makes me tear up and remember why I love my job. I sometimes joke that I need to have Melissa record that line for me and I should use that recording to wake up to every day! (So much better than my usual alarm clock!)
Melissa inspires us to put our heart and soul into everything we do. With partners like Enable, we will continue to spread the word about inclusion, acceptance, and opportunity for all people with intellectual disabilities. And we promise, we will not ever give up!
As we near the end of another year of savings, on behalf of the entire Enable team I wish you and yours a joyful holiday season, and a motivating new year. Happy saving!