Today was one for the books. This was probably the biggest day for me in my #29DaysofAwareness personal campaign.
I share so much of this journey in parenthood with all of you. I believe that by sharing little bits and pieces of what our lives are like with Gelli in it, y’all can create the understanding that while life may have challenges for both me and Gelli, we are pretty much like any other family you might meet on the street.
We have the same hopes, fears, worries, and JOYS, that other parents experience with their typical children. Life is not sad because Gelli has an extra chromosome…in many ways, it’s enriched…
So much of what I do with the organizations that I volunteer for is driven by my love for Gellibean. But so much more of it comes from a place of understanding and acceptance for children like her. Even if I have been living here in Manila for almost 10 years, I grew up my whole life in the Tri-State area and attended public school in the State of New York.
I think this is what fuels my passion when it comes to furthering inclusion. I know that we can push the envelope in education, in social situations, and in the work force.
When I first saw many of my favorite bloggers from the U.S. blogging, tweeting, or instagramming about this reality show that launched on December sixth last year, I tried viewing the episode online. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to watch it right away.
Born This Way is a reality series where the main cast is comprised entirely of young adults with Down Syndrome. Their families are featured in this unscripted show as well, and they don’t hold back when discussing or tackling real life and sometimes uncomfortable issues. It’s a fresh new take on a decades old concept that began with The Real World.
Well, I got it in my head to bring together people to watch the show and react to in an open forum type setting with 5 experts on a panel. My hope in bringing everyone together was to create a community where everyone involved could openly share their thoughts, hopes, fears, and maybe even resources with one another. I believed that the experts on the panel would be able to share all of the amazing work that they are doing in the different sectors of society to further acceptance and inclusion of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
I have met all of these experts through the different orgs as our paths have crossed because we are all doing similar work. I look up to everyone on the panel because I learn from each of them, and I am inspired by the work that they do.
You know what else? I have an even greater respect for anyone who does this kind of work that we do, not because they have a loved one who they want to make the world a better place for, but simply because they know it’s work that needs to be done…
I consider the Born This Way showing and Open Forum a great success in creating awareness for individuals with Down Syndrome and for establishing the relationships between these organizations which can only be strengthened as time passes.
I am grateful for their support as well as the support of Starbucks and Krispy Kreme for providing all of our viewers with some early morning coffee and snacks.
Best Buddies Philippines will be planning more of these showings. We plan to show one episode of the 6 part series in all the different schools that we work with. It’s going to be awesome. Be on the lookout in April for episode two!
Thank you to all of our sponsors who made this event possible:
De La Salle College of Saint Benilde and the Center for Inclusive Studies