VIDEO MAGAZINE ON THE BEST SERVICES 4 THE COMMUNITY OFFERED BY NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS COMMITTED TO SOCIAL CHANGE IN GREATER CHICAGO. A PROJECT OF www.media4community.org
We received our first LETTER at Chicago 4 Community yesterday, and it is so intense and powerful that we believe it deserves publication and attention! Thank you, Carrie, for your unique and profound insight into the impact that DREAMS FOR KIDS, NPO – which we featured and reviewed earlier this week in Chicago 4 Community – had on your life. And thank you for being the unbelievably strong and determined person that you are! We hope to hear again from you very soon!
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Somewhere in Chicagoland, February 16th, 2013
“I have had this desire my whole life to prove people wrong, to show them I could do things they didn’t think I could do.” ~David A. Peterson
Hi Clara and CHICAGO 4 COMMUNITY,
Hope my story inspires you! I was born five weeks premature with Cerebral Palsy on August 27, 1989. C.P. is a disability/ brain injury caused by a lack of oxygen at birth. Growing up with C.P certainly has its challenges but I am the first one to tell you God made me this way for a reason, and I honestly with all my heart truly believe that without it, I wouldn’t be who I am. My story begins: at age 8 I was adopted by two of the most wonderful parents! (I love you, mom and Dad). If it weren’t for them what I’m about to say wouldn’t have been possible! At age eighteen, like any other teenager wants to, it was time to venture out on my own and go away to school, but this wasn’t just any school. This was the Illinois Center for Rehabilitation and Education. I.C.R.E is a residential facility for young adults with physical disabilities, and teaches them vocational and daily living skills to one day – with support – live away from home.
These were not the only things I gained form I.C.R.E.! Being there I was open to a world I didn’t know existed, the world of Dreams for Kids! I remember the first time I was with Dreams for Kids in 2008. I was amazed at the idea that I no longer felt so alone, and that I was finally part of something bigger than I. Soon after that first day I was told that there was much more to Tom Tuohy than meets the eye… The day came and I was now a Dream Leader doing more than I ever dreamed about, from doing bake sales for kids in Africa to telling my story to over 200 people in May 2010. In 2009 I wasn’t just a kid who got to see what happens when we have a day that changes us forever by now, I was one of many people who made days like that possible. I was working alongside the man who not only makes dreams a reality for others. but who made a huge dream of my own come true (Tom and Shelly, if only ‘thank you’ were enough…). I may not be around Dreams for Kids as much I want to be these days, but I will always be a Dream Leader and they will always be part of me!
My journey doesn’t end there: after I.C.R.E and Dreams for Kids I moved back home to finish ‘transition’ and found my own apartment and lived there with best my friend Bobby, who also has CP, for two years. Today we both have jobs. He works as salesman for the Company called Chicagoland Mobility and I am a hostess at Longhorn Steakhouse. So, you see… the more I hear “no” the harder I will fight to prove people wrong, “I CAN AND WILL DO ANYTHING!” Cerebral Palsy is just what I deal with, it’s not me!
“Life is brief and very fragile.” ~ Unknown