Written: March 6th, 2010
Updated: August 30, 3011
The Think Alive Foundation: A Life in the Making
Part One: The Disability and Me
Growing up, I was constantly reminded of my Cerebral Palsy. My classmates tied their shoes and ran off to the playground while I sadly waited as Ms. McTaggert, my teacher, tied mine for me. Tired of such embarrassment, I became determined to overcome the barriers of my disability and become "normal" like my friends.
My work began immediately. After weeks of focused effort, I tied my very first shoe by myself. Exhilarated from this triumph, I realized that setting small, reachable goals was the key to redefining my disability.
Each achievement propelled me to pursue greater heights. Diligence, hard work, and time allowed me to succeed in activities I never thought I could: I became a starter on my high school's Varsity basketball team. I soon eyed two very expensive new goals: to compete in the Paralympics and move on to college. Despite my disability, I was determined achieve my newest personal aspirations.
Part Two: So...Why Start a Foundation?
I discovered disturbing trends while searching for financial assistance. First, the few scholarships offered for disabled youth were small and exclusive. Too many individuals are ineligible because of seemingly arbitrary restrictions like disability, age, geographic location, gender and others. Furthermore, funding for extracurricular activities was almost nonexistent. Financial barriers made my difficult goal appear impossible. Infuriated and disappointed, I delayed my Paralympic dreams indefinitely.
These voids are unacceptable. So many disabled youth are forced to postpone their aspirations because of financial difficulties. Barriers to achievement need to be torn down. Disabled youth need a holistic entity to promote continual aspirations.
The Think Alive Foundation is my response and will work to ensure success for all disabled youth.
Part Three: Where We Will Go
My most recent aspiration is to develop Think Alive. In small steps, the foundation will grow through hard work and perseverance. There is no ceiling for this bold new concept, striving to unite the entire disabled community. As organizations, only when we are all fully collaborating and utilizing our collective strengths will our potential be realized.
The Think Alive Foundation will always be a beacon of disabled achievement. With time, new exciting programs will develop, the approach may differ, but the mission will always remain the same. Together, we can provide disabled young adults with a hope and means to become active members in today's ever changing world.
The Think Alive Foundation