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Summer Fun in the San Antonio Sun!

by jbragg | No Comments

“Summer Fun in the San Antonio Sun!”

Hi, everyone! I hope that everybody is having a spectacular start to their summer vacation as we did at The Arc. In the week before Father’s Day which was on Sunday, June 18th, the Participants made arts and crafts gifts and Father’s Day cards with the help of The Arc Staff Members to give to the special men in their lives. I used my communicator, (with the help of YouTube) to read the books, “Froggy’s Day with Dad” written by Jonathan London. “Happy Father’s Day, Little Critter” written by Mercer Mayer and “The Berenstain Bears: We Love Our Dad!” by Jan and Mike Berenstain. During the week of Monday, June 19th and Friday, June 23rd, some of the Participants and I made summer inspired arts and crafts such as Finger Painted Beach Ball Paper Plate Arts and Crafts to celebrate the start of the summer season on that day.

During the month of June, some of The Arc Participants and I made zoo and aquarium inspired arts and crafts and learned about the San Antonio Zoo and the San Antonio Aquarium to celebrate the fact that the month of June is the National Zoo and Aquarium Month. We learned that what is now known as the San Antonio Zoo began in 1914 when Colonel George Washington Brackenridge, one of the city’s leading citizens, placed bison, deer, monkeys, African lions, and bears on land he had deeded to the city. The land became Brackenridge Park and Golf Course.

My mom and I went to McDonald’s restaurants, so I could get two of their mini zoo animal beanie babies (available in the Happy Meal) to decorate my communicator for The Arc’s zoo theme week. I got a koala that I named Kyra and a giraffe that I named Geneive. Also, I used my communicator, (with the help of YouTube) to read the book, “Elephants Can’t Dance Book” by Mo Wilems.

 Also, on Monday, June 19th, The Arc Staff Members and Participants and I had an “Aloha, Summer!” which we wore our favorite sunglasses to celebrate the International Surf Music Month, the holiday of World Oceans Day on Thursday, June 8th.

I wore my orange and black Harry Potter shirt that I got from Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida and my mom sowed my party sunglasses to my orange headband. The other Arc Participants and I had a great time having a celebration of Garfield the Cat, and everyone had a sensational supreme surf-tastic day!

To end my blog for June 2017, I would like to let everyone read the poem that I wrote for The Arc’s sixth Talent Show (in August 2009) to honor the late pop singer, Michael Jackson. This year will mark the eighth anniversary on Sunday, June 25th of Michael Jackson’s tragic passing.  I have been a huge fan of Michael Jackson since I was an itty bitty little girl and I felt compelled to write the poem to show my love for one of the most famous singers on Earth. 

“All Hail the King of Pop: A Tribute to Michael Jackson”

In 1958 in Gary, Indiana, you were born the seventh child to Katherine and Joseph. You came and changed our world, just like in the movies. In 1969, when you were young, you were the cutest part of the Jackson 5. You and your brothers taught us that ABC was as easy as 123, and you told us “Just call my name and I’ll be there.” Later on, in 1972, you told us about your friend by the name of “Ben.”  In 1978, you eased on down the road with Dorothy (Diana Ross) as the scarecrow in the movie, The Wiz. In 1979, When you started living off the wall, you made all the pretty young things want to rock with you, all night.  In 1982, you and the moonwalk became a thriller to millions of people. You were the first African-American to be shown on MTV with a glowing sidewalk and everything! You were so cool that in 1984, President Regan declared you to be an American role model. You set the highest record for a pop star, and to this day, no one can beat it. When 1985 came, you wanted to do more with your fame and fortune. You wanted to heal the world and end hunger. And so, you and that one glove co-wrote with Paul McCarthy a song for forty-five artists and raised forty-four million dollars. In 1987, you proved that you weren’t just bad; you were also a smooth criminal. After that, it didn’t matter whether the man in the mirror was black or white, we just can’t stop loving you. Do you remember the time in 1991 that you taught Michael Jordan how to jam? I do. You rocked my world with that video and many others. Even though, because of human nature, on June 25th, 2009, your fans sit around with their heads hanging down, wondering why did you go, and leave our world so cold and saying he’s gone too soon. Something whispers in our ears and says he’s not alone. He is with the souls that have passed on before him and they welcome him with open arms. Tough you are far away, your music is here to stay and you are always in my heart.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and I hope that everyone will have a sensational summer!

“Marvelous Mothers! It’s a Pirate’s Life for Me!”

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“Marvelous Mothers! It’s a Pirate’s Life for Me!”

Hi, everybody! I hope that you had a fabulous month of May. I dedicate this month’s blog to my mother that’s always there for me, and to all the mothers of the world.

Unfortunately, my communication device stopped functioning, and I wasn’t able to read to my fellow Arc Participants (using YouTube.) But I did ask my classmate to read for me. I chose the books, “Are You My Mother?” by P.D. Eastman and “How I Became a Pirate” by Melinda Long.

During the month of May, some of The Arc Participants and I wore pirate hats and clothes to celebrate the upcoming the fifth installment in the Pirates of the Caribbean named Dead Men Tell No Tales.

The Pirates of the Caribbean film series of fantasy swashbuckler produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and based on Walt Disney’s theme park ride. The original version at Disneyland, which opened in 1967, was the last attraction whose construction was overseen by Walt Disney.

The ride, which tells the story of a band of pirates and their troubles and exploits.

The ride gave rise to the song, “Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life for Me)” written by George Bruns and   Xavier Atencio.

It also became the basis for the Pirates of the Caribbean film series, which debuted in 2003. Since 2006, Disney has incorporated characters from the film series into the Disneyland, Magic Kingdom, and Tokyo Disneyland versions of the rides.

In 2003, the Disney Company released Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, starring Johnny Depp as Captain, Jack Sparrow.         

It is has been followed by four sequels: Dead Man’s Chest in 2006, At World’s End in 2007, On Stranger Tides in 2011, and Dead Men Tell No Tales that will be release on Friday, May 26th, 2017.

I was blessed enough to be able to see the Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (my favorite movie in the series because of the mermaids) movie with my mom in a theater in the Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park, while we on vacation in Orlando, Florida in 2011. I love all the Pirates of the Caribbean movies since the beginning, partly because I have a slight crush on Johnny Depp.

The other Participants and I also learned about the Saint Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum in Saint Augustine, Florida. The museum houses forty- eight individual exhibit areas and states it contains the largest and most authentic collection of pirate artifacts ever displayed under one roof. Among its exhibits are: Blackbeard’s original blunderbuss, pieces of gold retrieved from his warship the Queen Anne’s Revenge, one of only three remaining authentic Jolly Roger flags in the world, and Thomas Tew’s original treasure chest (the only known authentic pirate treasure chest in the world.)

The museum was started by entrepreneur Pat Croce.

We also learned about the Gasparilla Pirate Festival. On the day of the Gasparilla Parade of Pirates, members of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla accompanied by a fleet of hundreds of smaller boats, sail across Tampa Bay to downtown Tampa on the Jose Gasparilla, a 165 foot long pirate ship which was specially built for this purpose in 1954. . It is held in late January and hosted by Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla and the City of Tampa, and it celebrates the invented legend of José Gaspar (also known as Gasparilla,) a mythical Spanish pirate who supposedly operated in Southwest Florida in the early 1800s. The theme and focal point of Gasparilla is a friendly “invasion” by mythical pirate José Gaspar and his crew. Once the ship lands, the pirate captain demands that the mayor hand over the key to the city in a playful ceremony which has had different outcomes in different years. Whether the mayor actually “surrenders,” the pirates hold their “victory parade” through the streets of Tampa.

All of The Arc Participants had an extremely fun day with our mateys and they’re anxiously awaiting the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie.

On Wednesday, May 4th, the other Arc Participants and I and Staff Members commemorated Intergalactic Star Wars Day.  May 4th is considered to be a holiday by the Star Wars fans to celebrate Star Wars culture, books, and films, which started in 1977 directed by George Lucas. The date of May 4th has been chosen by fans around the world to correspond to the Jedi motto “May the Force be with you. The phrase used to wish luck or good will, generally when individuals parted ways or the object of the expression was facing some sort of challenge. We also made masks of our favorite Star Wars characters. With the help of my friend, I wore a mask of my favorite Star Wars character, Yoda, wise and all knowing. My favorite movie in the film series is, “Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.” As a writer, I love knowing the backstory of Darth Vader.

During the month of May, some of the Arc Participants and I and the Staff Members wore red clothes or handmade red noses to support the Red Nose Day Campaign and Charity.

The Red Nose Day is a campaign dedicated to raising money for children and young people living in poverty by simply having fun and making people laugh. The money raised for the Red Nose Day Fund in 2017 will go to charities working on the ground to deliver the basic needs of kids living in poverty. People across the country came together to have fun and raise funds and awareness.

 If you would like to have more information on The Red Nose Campaign, please feel free to go to: www.rednoseday.org

We were very happy to support this helpful and hilarious day.

I am so very thankful to have my mom in my life. I love her so much!

I hope that you and your family had a great Mother’s Day and a wonderful start to your summer season and may the wind be ever in your sails!

An Egg-cellent Easter and Fantastic Fiesta Celebrations!

by jbragg | No Comments

“An Egg-cellent Easter and Fantastic Fiesta Celebrations!”

Hi, everyone! I hope that everyone has a fabulous time at this year’s Fiesta; I sure did! In North Carolina, we didn’t have anything like Fiesta. So, Fiesta is my favorite time of year (until Halloween comes.)

During the month of April, the classrooms of The Arc went on outings to the Lasoya’s restaurant in honor of San Antonio’s Fiesta celebrations.

During the week of Monday, April 10th and Thursday April 13th, some Participants also made “Bunny Shaped Easter Baskets” Arts and Crafts to acknowledge the upcoming Easter holiday.

For the upcoming Easter holiday, I used my communicator, (with the help of YouTube) to read the books, I read “How to Catch the Easter Bunny” by Adam Wallace and “Mañana, Iguana” by Ann Whitford Paul.

On Thursday, April 13th, The Arc had a Classroom Fiesta Door Decorating Contest. As

The Arc’s Newsletter Editor-in-Chief, with the help of my fellow Press Club Participants classmates and the Volunteer Involvement Program Participants, I took pictures to put in the April 2017 Newsletter edition.

On Thursday, April 13th, The Arc had a Classroom Fiesta Door Decorating Contest.                                         

The First Place Certificate was awarded to Classroom # 11.

The Second Place Certificate was awarded to the Leap Classroom # 2. With an actual working curtain to reveal Fiesta shoes.

The Third Place Certificate was awarded to Classroom # 6.                

The Honorable Mention Certificate was awarded to Classroom # 5.

Special thanks goes to The Arc Staff Members, Ms. Pam S. (The Arc’s Director of the Community Outreach Program,) Ms. Brooke K. (Director of CSCM and Community Education) and Ms. Andie M. (Development Manager) for being such fantastic Fiesta Classroom Door Judges.

On Friday, April 21st, The Arc had a Classroom Fiesta Float Building Contest and parade in The Arc’s Gym. Special thanks goes to Ms. Brooke K., (Director of CSCM and Community Education) Ms. Andie M., (Development and Grants Coordinator) and Ms. Krystal C., (CLASS Case Manager) for being such fabulous Fiesta Classroom Float Judges.

The First Place Certificate was awarded to Classroom # 11. The Second Place Certificate was awarded to Classroom # 2. The Third Place Certificate was awarded to Classroom # 6.

The Honorable Mention Certificate was awarded to Classroom # 4. 

The Arc Participants and Staff Members decided that on Wednesday, April 20th, we would commemorate the Fiesta celebrations by gathering in The Arc’s Gym and partaking in “The Taste of The Arc” Fiesta Food Tasting Booths with their friends. The Participants listened to songs from the late singer, Selena and Mariachi music, had fun hitting piñatas, and dressing up in Fiesta clothing.

On Friday, April 28th, my friends ate nachos and chalupas. We also listened to Mariachi music, had fun hitting piñatas, and dressing up in Fiesta clothing.  My mom painted my fingernails purple with multi-colored confetti glitter nail polish and I wore my favorite purple Fiesta shirt, my 2017 new Fiesta Medals (that I got from The Arc and H.E.B.) and my purple Fiesta flower halo.

Everyone at The Arc had a wonderfully festive Fiesta day!

So, that was my astoundingly amazing month of April events at The Arc. I had such a great time celebrating Fiesta with The Arc Staff Members and my friends.

I hope that you had a fabulously festive month of April, like I had. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog.

“A Mystically Mardi Gras Celebration, a Simply Delightful Saint Patrick’s Day and Birthday Candles Galore!”

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“A Mystically Mardi Gras Celebration, a Simply Delightful Saint Patrick’s Day and Birthday Candles Galore!”

Hi, it’s me, Tameka.  I use a communicator, and I have Cerebral Palsy. I’m going to be your guide into the very busy world of The Arc’s Participants.  The other Participants and I definitely had a magical and mystical month of March.

March is one of my favorite month to be at The Arc. We have so many things to be happy about and to celebrate. I especially have a very special date to celebrate; my birthday!

On Tuesday, February 28th, some of The Arc Participants made colorful masks and wore gold, purple, and green clothing and necklaces to celebrate this year’s Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans, Louisiana.

I really enjoy celebrating Mardi Gras because I get to dress up in my favorite colors which are, purple and gold. This year, I wore my new Mardi Gras butterfly mask. I also watched the 2009 Disney animated feature, “The Princess and the Frog” (which is one of my favorite animated movie) to the celebrate the Mardi Gras parades. The other Arc Participants and I had a magnifique (the French word for “grand”) time having their own Mardi Gras festivities. For the Mardi Gras holiday, I used my communicator, (with the help of YouTube) to read the books, I read “Dinosaur Mardi Gras” by Dianne de Las Casas and “Henri Goes to the Mardi Gras!” by Mildred Whatley Wright.

The Arc had a Saint Patrick’s Day celebration and a start of the season of spring dance on Friday, March 17th, where some of the other Participants and I and Staff Members wore green clothing, made arts and crafts projects such as, Leprechaun Trap Boxes and Saint Patrick’s Day Mobiles and read stories about the country of Ireland and leprechauns and their pots of gold.

For Saint Patrick’s Day, I read “How to Catch a Leprechaun” by Adam Wallace and “The Luckiest St. Patrick’s Day Ever!” by Teddy Slater to my fellow Arc Participants.

I wore my “Pot ‘o Gold” Saint Patrick’s Day shirt, my shamrock shaped antennas that bopped around when I move my head and my new giant glowing shamrock necklace. Also, my mom painted my fingernails neon green with gold glitter. My electric wheelchair was decorated with new glowing shamrock hanging lights.

I love celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day because it’s officially two weeks before my birthday!

So, that was the magical and mystical month of March for The Arc Participants.

I’ll be back next time with the highlights of the amazing month of April and The Arc’s Fiesta 2017 Festivities. I love        The Arc’s 2017 Fiesta Medal! I can’t wait for Fiesta!

I would like to tell everyone that The Arc is selling its “Arc Fiesta 2017” Medals for our Fund Raiser. Each Medal is available in The Arc’s front office for: $5.00.

If you would like to purchase an Arc Fiesta Medal, please feel free to contact Ms. Carol Maclane (The Arc’s Receptionist at the West Avenue Location) by telephone at: (210) 490-4300, extension 100, or cmaclane@arc-sa.org

All proceeds will go towards The Arc’s Fund Raiser.

Thank you.

I hope that everyone that reads my blog will have a great ending to the month of March as I will!

I will be celebrating my birthday!

 

I’m ready for the Rodeo and Valentine’s Day, San Antonio!

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“I’m ready for the Rodeo and Valentine’s Day, San Antonio!”

Hi, everybody! I hope that you are having a fabulous month of February, just like the other    Arc Participants and me. February is one of my favorite months to be at The Arc. We have so many things to be happy about and to celebrate. I especially have a very special date to celebrate. February is the anniversary month of the first day that I started attending The Arc of San Antonio eleven years ago, in 2006.

On Friday, January 27th, some of the other Arc Participants and I made Chinese lanterns and Chinese drums arts and crafts to celebrate the start of the Chinese New Year of 2017 (which started on Saturday, January 28th.) With the help of an Arc Staff Member named Dahenna S., I made a rooster good luck charm.

The year of 2017 is the Year of the Rooster. We learned that the Chinese calendar is based on the lunar year, so the date of Chinese New Year changes every year. The Chinese calendar follows a twelve-year pattern with each year named after an animal. The story that explains this is that the Jade Emperor invited all the animals to join him for a New Year celebration, but only twelve animals turned up. To reward the animals that did come, Buddha named a year after each of them in the order that they arrived, starting with the Rat, followed by the Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig.

People who are born in the Year of the Rooster are said to be courageous, talkative, and confident. They also have a reputation for being flashy dressers and low on energy in the evening, mirroring their animal counterparts. The recommended occupations for roosters are things that rely on impressing people: TV personalities, salespersons, and athletes. As San Antonio residents, before start of the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo.

I learned that I was born in The Year of the Pig. Unlike in our culture, pigs are thought to be diligent, compassionate, and generous. In the western culture, it’s believed that pigs have great concentration; once they set a goal, they will devote all their energy to achieving it. Though Pigs rarely seek help from others, they will not refuse to give others a hand. The other Participants and I had a great time celebrating The Year of the Rooster.

One of the most responsibilities of my classroom, “The Arc’s Press Club” is to read to the other Participants. So, I used my communicator, (with the help of YouTube) to read the books, “A Charlie Brown Valentine” by Charles M. Schulz, “Olivia and the Perfect Valentine” by        Natalie Shaw, “Bubba the Cowboy Prince by Hellen Kellerman and “Cindy Ellen: A Wild Western Cinderella” by Susan Lowell to my fellow Arc Participants.

On Monday, February 6th, The Arc Staff Members, the other Arc Participants and I wore our favorite NFL jerseys. I was so proud of my home state team: The Carolina Panthers for making it to the Super Bowl last year that I wore my “I bleed black, blue, and silver! Go Carolina!”     T-shirt.

On Monday, February 13th, some of the other Arc Participants and I wore our western clothing to celebrate the start of the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo and The Arc’s “Rootin’ Tootin’ Western Wear Day.”

On Tuesday, February 14th, we had our annual Valentine’s Day Dance where some of the Participants wore red and pink clothing. I wore my Valentine’s Day red rose shaped necklace and my purple colored heart shaped antennas that bopped around when I move my head. Also, some of the other Arc Participants and I made Valentine’s Day inspired arts and crafts such as, Heart shaped Rice Krispies Treats and Valentine’s Day “Valentine’s Day Monster Card Muncher Boxes arts and crafts.  We had a fabulous time dancing and celebrating Valentine’s Day with our friends.

I want to give special acknowledgement to Arc Staff Member, Tiffany V. (A Life Enrichment Instructor) for making such wonderful and beautiful sashes for the King and Queen of Hearts Participants. To the V.I.P. and Press Club Participants Dahenna H., (A Life Enrichment Instructor) and who helped to decorate The Arc’s Gym and the crowns for the King and Queen of Hearts Participants. Also, to Ms. Brooke K., (Director of CSCM and Community Education) Veronica V., (A Life Enrichment Instructor) Mr. Brian L. (The Arc’s Assistant Director of Day Services at the West Avenue Location) for helping with getting decoration supplies and helping to ensure that the dance was a fun success. It warmed my heart with such happiness when my friends were crowned.

So, that was my fabulous month of February events at The Arc. I had such a great time celebrating with The Arc Staff Members and my friends. I hope that you had a fantastic February and lovely Valentine’s Day like I had.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog.

January Jubilees

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Tameka's January 2017 Blog Picture“January Jubilees”

Happy New Year, 2017, everyone! Hi, it’s me, Tameka. I hope that everyone had a nifty New Year’s Eve celebration! My mom and I watched “The Twilight Zone” marathon on the Syfy Channel. This is my favorite New Year’s Eve tradition to share with my mom. I wore my “Happy New Year’s” purple star antennas, purple feather boa and New Year glasses.

My favorite episode is named, “It’s a Good Life.” a six-year-old boy named Anthony has psychic powers and everyone in the town has to think “good thoughts” or Anthony will banish them to a cornfield.

Later, my mom and I watched the Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve. The best part of my New Year’s Eve celebration was that I had the chance to watch fireworks that were set off by other people in my neighborhood through our window with my mom.

On Tuesday, January 2nd, some of the other Arc Participants and I also made New Year’s Arts and Crafts such as, 2017 Party Hats, Noise Makers, and Paper Plate Banners.
I used my communicator, (with the help of YouTube) to read the book “The Night Before New Year’s” by Natasha Wing to my fellow Participants.

During the month of January, the classrooms of The Arc had outings to the San Antonio Aquarium; my classroom (named The Arc’s Arc Press Club) went on our outing on Wednesday, January 18th.
The other Participants and I learned that the San Antonio Aquarium had its grand opening dates on December 12th and December 17th 2014 with ribbon cuttings beginning each day. The exhibits at San Antonio Aquarium offer us the opportunity to touch a shark, feel the soft skin of a ray, feed birds in the aviary and get up close and personal with reptiles from the world’s rain forests. The Aquarium also has a “Jurassic Jungle” exhibit that fascinates dinosaur fans. These life-sized dinosaur replicas breathe, blink and roar.

In February 2015, my classroom, my mom and I went to the San Antonio Aquarium. My mom and I had a great time looking at all the different types of fishes. The greatest highlight of my visit to the Aquarium was meeting an Aquarium employee dressed as a mermaid. Mermaids are my favorite mythical beings because after I watched Walt Disney’s animated movie, “The Little Mermaid,” I wished to be a mermaid so that someone could perform magic and give me legs to walk with.

During the week of Tuesday, January 17th and Friday, January 20th, the other Participants and I learned about the life and legacy late Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We watched the video, “Our Friend, Martin.” It is a 1999 animated children’s educational film about Martin Luther King, Jr. and the American civil rights movement. Two friends travel through time, meeting Dr. King at several points during his life. It featured an all-star voice cast and was nominated for an Emmy award in 1999 for Outstanding Animated Program (For Programming More Than One Hour). It was also the final release under the CBS/Fox Video name.

The other Arc Participants and I celebrated “Winnie the Pooh” Day (January 18th) Wednesday, January 18th and the birth of one of the most famous children’s writer of all time, and the creator of the “hunny”-loving golden-brown bear, Winnie the Pooh, A.A. Milne. On January 18th, 1882, the British author was born. To celebrate the day, we read Winnie the Pooh books and made Winnie the Pooh inspired arts and crafts, such as Winnie the Pooh Masks and Paper Bag Puppets. To celebrate the ninety-first anniversary of the publication of Winnie the Pooh, the Disney Junior Channel had a special episode of their show, “Doc McStuffins.” The series is about a girl who can talk to and “fix” toys, with help from her toy friends. Doc McStuffins and her toy friends will meet Winnie the Pooh and his friends in the Hundred Acre Woods.

“Doc McStuffins” is my favorite television show for little ones. She teaches medical information on a level that small children can understand.

The first collection of stories about the character was the book “Winnie-the-Pooh” in 1926, and this was followed by “The House at Pooh Corner” in 1928. Milne named the character Winnie-the-Pooh after a teddy bear owned by his son, Christopher Robin Milne, character Christopher Robin. Christopher’s toys also lent their who was the basis for the names to most of the other characters, except for Owl, Rabbit, and Gopher (added in the Disney version.) Christopher Robin’s toy bear is now on display at the Main Branch of the New York Public Library in New York City.

Christopher Milne had named his toy bear after Winnie, a Canadian black bear which he often saw at London Zoo, and “Pooh,” a swan they had met while on vacation. The bear cub was purchased from a hunter for $20 by Canadian Lieutenant Harry Colebourn in White River, Ontario, Canada, while en route to England during the First World War. He named the bear “Winnie” after his adopted hometown in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

In 1961, A.A. Milne’s widow, Daphne Milne, also licensed certain rights, including motion picture rights, to Disney. Since 1966, Disney has released numerous animated productions starring Winnie the Pooh and related characters.

We had a great time celebrating A.A. Milne and his creation of Winnie the Pooh.
So, that was the joyous month of January at The Arc.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog.  I’ll be back next time with my moments of the fabulous month of February.

“Season’s Greetings with Santa!”

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tamekas-december-2016-blog-picture“Season’s Greetings with Santa!”

Hi, it’s me, Tameka.  This is my favorite time of the year to attend The Arc. I love all of the Classroom holiday activities and celebrations. I love making all of the certificates that will be awarded to The Arc’s classrooms during the holiday decoration contests. I read my favorite holiday books to my fellow Arc Participants, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” by Dr. Seuss and “How to Catch Santa” by Jean Reagan and Lee Wildish. Also, “When Santa lost his Ho Ho Ho,” “Santa’s New Suit,” and “Who’ll Pull Santa’s Sleigh Tonight?” by Laura Rader.

On Friday, December 9th, The Arc of San Antonio and the USAA Insurance Company had a holiday pizza party where each Participant received their gift from an USAA employee. This year, I ask for Marvel’s “Captain America: Civil War.” DVD. I wore my favorite holiday candy cane attenas, my mom painted my nails green with multi-colored glitter so that they would look like Christmas trees, and I wore my brand new red Santa Claus suit sweater that my mother bought as one of my Christmas gifts. Even Santa Claus took time away from getting ready at the North Pole to attend the party. Santa had a slice of his favorite kind of pizza: candy cane and pepperoni.

Every year, an USAA employee will buy a Participant a holiday gift that he or she has wished for. The Arc of San Antonio is so thankful to the company of USAA, its employees and  Santa Claus for making the holiday season, very jolly.

On the way home, I got a chance to take a picture with a Blue Santa of San Antonio.

In 1976, the Blue Santa Program was created to help bring holiday happiness to families and children throughout San Antonio. Blue Santa is all about bringing hope and joy to families that struggle to make ends meet during the toughest times of the year, the holidays.
www.sapoa.org/blue-cares/blue-santa-program

On Tuesday, December 13th, my classroom went on an outing to The Magik

Theater (in downtown San Antonio) to go to see the stage play, “Twas the night before Christmas” by Ken Ludwig. I really liked this play!  I thought it was really funny and a creative story about a girl and her best friend who is a mouse and their adventure to the North Pole.

The other Arc Participants and I and Staff Members were treated with a holiday visit on Thursday, December 15th from Mr. Doug W. and his band named, “The Winning Hand.” Mr. W. and his band visited The Arc to sing holiday songs for everyone. The Arc would like thank Mr. W. and his band for so generously giving their time to make our day filled with holiday joy.

On Friday, December 16th, we had a Holiday Classroom Door Decorating Contest.

My classroom is named The Arc’s Arc Press Club. We decorated our classroom door in red, green, and white wrapping paper and we named our holiday door decoration theme was “All Wrapped up in Christmas.”

All of The Arc Participants and Staff Members worked really hard and were very proud of our Holiday Door Decorations.

Also, on Friday, December 16th, The Arc Classrooms had a Holiday Classroom Gingerbread Creations Contest. The goal was to make the most interesting and creative buildings out of gingerbread. Thanks to a very generous donation from a H-E-B employee, each classroom received a gingerbread house building kit. My classroom’s gingerbread creation was named, “Snowy Home on the Range.”

Special thanks goes to the Upstairs Arc Staff Members, Ms. Susan M., (The Arc’s Vice President and C.F.O.) Ms. Brooke K., (Director of CSCM and Community Education) and Ms. Heather L. (Director of Family Support Services) for being such sensational Holiday Classroom Door and Gingerbread Creations Judges for 2016.

All of The Arc Participants and Staff Members worked really hard and were very proud of our Holiday Gingerbread Creations.

To finish out the month, on Monday, December 19th, we wore our favorite seasonal sweaters and shirts to celebrate the holiday season. I wore my new green Snoopy shirt (Snoopy is tangled up in Christmas lights) that I got as an early Christmas gift. Everyone had a gleeful day wearing their holiday apparel.

So, that was the delightful month of December for The Arc Participants.

I’ll be back next time with the highlights of the joyful month of January and the start of the year of 2017.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog.

I hope you and your family have a great and safe holiday and a nifty New Year celebration.

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to everyone and I’ll see you in 2017!

 

Nice November Ovations!

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tamekas-november-2016-blog-picture“Nice November Ovations!”

Hello, everyone! I hope that everyone is having a nice month of November, just like I and the other Arc Participants are having. The Participants made Thanksgiving inspired arts and crafts, such as, Mayflower Paper Ships, Popsicle Scarecrow faces and went on classroom outings to a local Jim’s Restaurant to have Thanksgiving themed luncheons.

The other Arc Participants and I looked forward to celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday by having a pie social gathering that we had on Wednesday, November 16th and with our friends.

On Friday, November 18th, we had a Thanksgiving and Scarecrow Classroom Door Decorating Contest. My new classroom named “The Press Club” (we’re responsible for making the informational flyers that are passed out and sent home with the Participants. Updating the bulletin boards around The Arc. Also, keeping the other classrooms informed about the activities that go on during the week.) Our door was decorated with the Atlantic Ocean and tiny Mayflower ships. We named our door decoration, “The U.S.S. Mayflower.”

This month, my classmates and I read Thanksgiving stories to our fellow Arc Participants. I used my communicator, (with the help of YouTube) to read the books, “Franklin’s Thanksgiving” by Paulette Bourgeois and Brenda Clark, “Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving” by Dav Pilkey, “Arthur’s Thanksgiving” by Marc Brown and “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” by Charles M. Schulz.

Also, on Friday, November 18th, some of the other Arc Participants and myself made Mickey Mouse pilgrim hats to celebrated the Thanksgiving holiday and the 88th anniversary of the creation of the world’s favorite cartoon characters, Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse.

Mickey and Minnie Mouse have always been one of my favorite Disney characters ever since I went to Disney World and met them in 1993 and in 2011. We learned that Mickey and Minnie officially debuted on November 18th, 1928 in “Steamboat Willie,” one of the first sound cartoons. Mickey went on to appear in over 130 films including, “The Band Concert” (1935), “Brave Little Tailor” (1938), and “Fantasia” (1940). Mickey appeared primarily in short films, but also occasionally in feature-length films. Nine of Mickey’s cartoons were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film, one of which, “Lend a Paw,” won the award in 1942. In 1978, Mickey became the first cartoon character to have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Beginning in 1930, Mickey has also been featured extensively as a comic strip character.  Mickey has also appeared in comic books and in television series such as The Mickey Mouse Club, originally airing in 1955 to 1959 and again in 1989 to 1996. Walt Disney got the inspiration for Mickey Mouse from his old pet mouse he used to have on his farm. “Mortimer Mouse” had been Disney’s original name for the character before his wife, Lillian, convinced him to change it, and ultimately Mickey Mouse came to be.  My favorite quote from Walt Disney is, “I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing – that it was all started by a mouse.” ~Walt Disney.

This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for my family and all my friends at The Arc.

I hope that everyone and their families had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

“A Beautifully ‘Brave’ Halloween!”

by jbragg | No Comments

tamekas-october-2016-blog-picture“A Beautifully ‘Brave’ Halloween!”

 Hi, everyone! I’m so excited that it was my second favorite time of the year to be at The Arc (next to the month of December.) I love all of the Halloween themed activities and arts and crafts that we do at The Arc (during October. We do so many cool Halloween activities that I have to wait until November 1st to send out the October Newsletter so I can include everything.

This year, I chose to be Princess Merida from Walt Disney’s 2012 animated movie, “Brave.” I loved dressing up like Princess Merida because she’s the new generation of Disney Princesses. They are sure of their selves. They’re very confident and they go after whatever it is that they want. So far, I have been Princess Ariel from “The Little Mermaid” and Queen Elsa from “Frozen.”

This month, my classmates and I read Halloween stories to our fellow Arc Participants. I used my communicator, (with the help of YouTube) to read the books, “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!” by Charles M. Schulz, “Room on the Broom” by Julia Donaldson and “The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin” by Joe Troiano.

On Thursday, October 3rd, my class and I went to San Antonio’s Zoo. When I was a little girl in Fayetteville, North Carolina, we didn’t have a zoo. We had little places that you could go see animals behind glass. So when my mom and I moved to San Antonio in 1997, I was unbelievably excited to discover that the city has a large zoo. Over the years, I have been to the San Antonio Zoo with my family and my class at The Arc. My favorite animals to see at the zoo is the elephants. On The Arc’s last visit to the San Antonio Zoo, I found out that they had built a carousel. It made me very happy to watch the little children ride the carousel with their families.

On Friday, October 9th, The Arc Participants had a Halloween Classroom Door Decorating Contest. My new classroom named “The Press Club” (we’re responsible for making the informational flyers that are passed out and sent home with the Participants. Updating the bulletin boards around The Arc. Also, keeping the other classrooms informed about the activities that go on during the week.) Our door was decorated as a giant witch’s face with a spider hanging from her nose. We named our door decoration, “The Itsy Bitsy Spider Climbed up the Witch’s Snout.”

 All of the other Arc Participants and I and Staff Members worked really hard and were very proud of our Halloween Door Creations.

On Wednesday, October 19th, The Arc had a Pumpkin Decorating Contest.  My classroom’s pumpkin decoration theme was, “Web Raider Spider.” Even, The Arc’s C.E.O. and President, Mr. Steve E. took part in the Classroom Pumpkin Decorating Contest. He’s decoration theme was “Hi! My name is Chester McPumpkin!”

On Thursday, October 20th, the Upstairs Arc Staff Members had their annual Halloween Office Decoration Contest, judge by myself and two other Arc Press Club Participants.

To finish up the month of October festivities, The other Arc Participants and I and Staff Members had a delightfully dreadful time at our annual Halloween Dance and Costume Contest on Friday, October 28th. Even, Ephraim, The Arc’s resident slightly spooky ghost had a ghoulishly good time.

On Sunday, October 30th, my mom and I went to this year’s “Dreams Come True” Halloween Party (for people with disabilities) and Costume Contest at the Midnight Rodeo Dance Club. I was so happy to have the chance to see all of my friends that attended The Arc in past years.

On Monday, October 31st, my mom and I went to Morgan’s Wonderland Halloween celebration. It is a 25-acre theme park that was designed with special-needs individuals in mind and built for everyone’s enjoyment. The park, which opened on March 3rd, 2010 on the site of the former Longhorn Quarry, was developed by Gordon Hartman, a former homebuilder from San Antonio. He said his daughter, Morgan, who deals with cognitive and physical challenges, inspired creation of the park.

I had so much fun at Morgan’s Wonderland! I had a chance to ride the carousel, (my absolute favorite thing to do at the theme park) which was especially designed to include people that are in wheelchairs. I rode on the part of the carousel that was shaped like a dragon, which is one of my favorite mythical animals.

I took a picture with Joy, the Morgan’s Wonderland butterfly mascot while she was wearing her Halloween mask. Butterflies are my favorite insect, so it was delightful to take a picture with her.

I met Mr. Hartman and his daughter, Morgan. They were very nice and friendly. I also met a fan of my Blog named Mary and I really liked her.

So, that was extremely fun and busy with month of October at The Arc of San Antonio on West Avenue.

Thank you for taking the time to read my Blog and I hope that you and your family had a great and safe Halloween!

 

Falling in Love with Autumn to Live Long and Prosper!

by jbragg | No Comments

tamekas-september-2016-blog-picture

“Falling in Love with Autumn to Live Long and Prosper!”
 
I would like to start this blog by saying thank you to everyone that has been reading my blog for the past five years. It’s so much fun being The Arc’s resident blogger and to be able to tell everyone about the activities at The Arc.
 
In the month of September, some of the other Arc Participants and I celebrated the upcoming beginning of the fall season which will be on Thursday, September 22nd. The Participants made Fall Hats and Scarecrow Paper Dolls Arts and Crafts. We made fall leaves etchings where we use a crayon to transfer the image of the leaf to a piece of paper and frame it with Popsicle sticks. It was a fabulous fall month!
 
The Arc of San Antonio (on West Avenue) is extremely proud to announce that thirty employees gave blood at the University Hospital Health System’s Blood Drive van on Tuesday, August 30th. The Arc Staff Members are immensely proud that they could give back such a precious necessity to the people that need it most of all. I am very happy that The Arc’s Staff Members gave blood drive because I know from firsthand experience how important it is for people to give blood. Last year, during a surgical procedure I started to lose blood and someone’s donation saved me.
 
The other Arc Participants and I and Staff Members would like to say thank you to the San Antonio Police Department and Officers, John Sherrill and David Herrera for bringing the unique experience of a guided tour of their helicopter to the Participants of West Avenue and The Arc of San Antonio / Pam Stephens’ Center on Wednesday, August 31st, as part of West Avenue’s transportation curriculum themed week. The Arc Participants and Staff Members truly appreciate the San Antonio Police Department’s service to our community.
 
On Thursday, September 8th, some of the other Arc Participants and I celebrated the 50th anniversary of the first airing of the original television show named, “Star Trek. ” The other Participants and I watched episodes of the television shows on our classroom Apple televisions and made arts and crafts that are based on the television show, such as, “Star Trek Emblem Badges,” “Mr. Spock’s Ears Headbands,” and “Enterprise Wall Decoration.” With the help of The Arc Staff Members, I made a special “Star Trek” Emblem with laurel leaves and stars around it. I also made mini-figure “Captain Kirk” 3D paper doll. I remembered that my first experience watching “Star Trek: The Original Series” was with my grandma when I was a little girl. I thought that “Star Trek” was a new show and I couldn’t figure out why my grandma was laughing at me. I was shocked to find out that the show was older than I was.
 
While I was doing research for The Arc’s Newsletter I discovered that in 1965, Roddenberry got a pilot order from NBC and produced the original Star Trek pilot “The Cage.” It was rejected by the network, reportedly because it was “too cerebral,” and for most shows that’s where the story would have ended. Luckily for Roddenberry, he had Lucille Ball on his side. The story goes that she still thought the “Star Trek” idea could still work, and used her considerable influence in television to push for NBC to give Roddenberry a second chance. The network made the exceedingly rare move of ordering a second pilot from Roddenberry, who overhauled almost the entire cast of characters from “The Cage” and eventually produced “Where No Man Has Gone Before.” That pilot was accepted, the show was given a series order, and the rest is history. So if it weren’t for Lucille Ball, we might not have “Star Trek” as we know it today. I have always loved Lucille Ball and this fact just made me love her even more!
 
The other Participants and I also learned that The first series, now referred to as “The Original Series,” debuted on September 8th, 1966 and ran for three seasons on NBC. It followed the galactic adventures of James T. Kirk (played by William Shatner) and the crew of the starship Enterprise, an exploration vessel of a 23rd century interstellar “United Federation of Planets.” In creating the first Star Trek television series, Gene Roddenberry was inspired by television western shows of the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, and adventure books, such as “Wagon Train” and Johnathan Swift’s “Gulliver’s Travels” novel. My two favorite episodes of the original series are, “The Trouble with Tribbles” (where a group of cute and furry space creatures named Tribbles, overrun a space station and the USS Enterprise) and “A Piece of the Action” (Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock played by the late Leonard Nimoy and Dr. McCoy played by the late DeForest Kelley beam down to a planet where everyone behaves like 1920’s gangsters.) These adventures continued in the short-lived “Star Trek: The Animated Series” (1973 – 1974) and six feature films.
 
Four spin-off television series were eventually produced: “Star Trek: The Next Generation” (1987 – 1994) followed the crew of a new starship Enterprise (the USS Enterprise-D in the television shows and the USS Enterprise-E in the feature films) set a century after the original series; “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” (1993 – 1999) “Star Trek: Voyager” (1995 – 2001) are set within the same timeline of “The Next Generation;” and “Star Trek: Enterprise” (2001 – 2005) are set before the original series, in the early days of human outer space travel. My favorite of the television shows are: “The Original series,” “The Next Generation,” and “Voyager.” My favorite characters from “Voyager” are Captain Janeway (played by Kate Mulgrew) and Seven of Nine, (played by Jeri Ryan) which is in my opinion are true representations of “girl power.” They are intelligent, resourceful, and fearless women. I think that they are perfect role models for young girls. Four additional “The Next Generation” feature films were produced and all of them are my favorite “Star Trek” movies. “Star Trek Generations” in 1994, “Star Trek: First Contact” in 1996, “Star Trek: Insurrection” in 1998 and “Star Trek: Nemesis” in 2002. I especially love that in the “Star Trek: Generations” Captain Picard gets to meet the great James T. Kirk. In 2009, the film franchise underwent a “reboot” titled simply as, “Star Trek.” This film featured a new cast portraying younger versions of the crew from the original show. A sequel to that film, Star Trek: Into Darkness,” premiered on May 16th, 2013. A thirteenth film feature and sequel, “Star Trek: Beyond,” was released in July 2016, coinciding with the franchise’s 50th anniversary. We also learned a new “Star Trek” TV series, titled “Star Trek: Discovery,” will premiere in January 2017 on the digital platform CBS All Access.
 
“Star Trek” has been a cult phenomenon for decades. Fans of the franchise are called “Trekkies.” The franchise spans a wide range of spin-offs including games, figurines, novels, toys, and comics. “Star Trek” had a themed attraction in Las Vegas that opened in 1998 and closed in September 2008. At least two museum exhibits of props travel the world. The series has its own full-fledged constructed language, Klingon. Several parodies have been made of “Star Trek.”
 
The other Arc Participants and I and Staff Members greatly enjoyed being a part of this fascinating day!
 
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and to all of my fellow Trekkies, live long and prosper!

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