Hello Folks – You ready to meet another family from our great and diverse community? Well, Denise is a mom I’ve actually met in real life and lives here in Omaha. Yes – I actually talk to real people sometimes. Not too often, of course, but sometimes.
I know Denise from our local Arc chapter, The Ollie Webb Center. She is the program coordinator for six programs at Ollie Webb Center, Inc.-Arc of Omaha: The Next Chapter Book Club, The PRISM Project (Parent Resource & Information Support Meetings), Parent to Parent, Tween Scene, Stars Basketball and the Ultimate Life Program. Her goal is to enhance and elevate the lives of the people who participate.
I asked her, “Do you have a book or a blog?”
She replied: No book. No blog. No time.
However I would entertain the idea of a reality show if there was a voice over component and lots of flashback scenarios played by actors that look like my peeps in days gone by.
Ha! Let’s see what she rolled and get her take on the odds, shall we?
Tell us about a time you were dealt a natural.
Sappy as it sounds, life has dealt me four compassionate, interesting, socially conscience and brilliant sons. How lucky can one girl get?
From this one word prompt either write or send a picture reply: Shoe.
I respond to “Shoe” like Dug the talking dog from the movie Up responds to “Squirrel”. An interesting shoe with a bit of flair is my guilty pleasure and just the panache every gal needs to keep some pep in her step!
From this one word prompt either write or send a picture reply: House rules
“Viam Inveniam Aut Faciam”- Find a Way or Make a Way
From this one word prompt either write or send a picture reply: House wins
My son Jacob, who has Down syndrome and was included in both curriculum and place thought his school career, was voted Homecoming King his senior year at a school of 1,600 students. There was a ton of media coverage and in addition to interviews with Jacob, school staff and myself, the roving reporters stopped random students to get their comments about the homecoming king results.
One student, a typical high school girl whom we did not know and did not participate in any special education related peer programs or the like said this on the primetime news; “Like, he’s one of us. He’s not just a guy with Down syndrome, he’s literally just a student at our school.” That is the moment that I knew we had won. After all of the years of insisting on full inclusion, going against every urge to hover and protect my child to give him the dignity of risk, trusting in his abilities and weathering the many “old mentality” storms, we had made an impact on his peers. The peers that will vote for our lawmakers, become future employers and future parents and will see the person and the potential before the disability.
Was there a moment you felt tapped out? What did you do to recover? Or have you?
I honestly don’t think I’ve felt completely tapped out. Moments of exhaustion and life’s twists and turns have snuck in and smacked me down when I least expected it, but I have always managed to keep fighting the fight and hoping for a better days. Meyers and Brigs peg me as an executive personality type. I can’t decide if it is a gift or a curse, so I’ve decided to just own it, feed it chocolate and put it to good use.
“We stumbled upon a Giraffic Jam!”
Jeff, Jake and I recently got the incredible pleasure of petting Giraffes at one of the world’s best Zoos right here in Omaha, Nebraska. You just never know what a day will bring!
More about Denise from her Bio: From the day her 4th son was born with Down syndrome, her life was set on a new trajectory. She immersed herself in learning everything possible to better understand and assist him. That grew to a love of helping all people with intellectual and developmental disabilities achieve their full potential to live healthy, fulfilling and meaningful lives. Her passion for helping those with special needs has filled every facet of her life.
I think you can see that evidenced here in this short introduction, which I hope you enjoyed as part of our What Are the Odds Series. If you want to read the thoughts from other parents in our community (and it is fun) check it out here. Feel free to leave a note/comment and share and also, if you’re interested in email updates, not to often, join the club here.