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Being Tremendously Thankful for Family, Friends and The Arc

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 “Being Tremendously Thankful for Family, Friends and The Arc”

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.

The other Arc Participants and I looked forward to celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday by having a pie social gathering that we had on Thursday, November 16th and a Thanksgiving Dance on Wednesday, November 22nd with our friends. My classmate and I chose the music for these events.

On Friday, November 17th, we had a Thanksgiving Classroom Door Decorating Contest. I wore my turkey legs headband that I love so much. My classroom is 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 funny little yellow henchmen named minions from the Despicable Me and Minions movie franchises. We named our door decoration, “A Minion Reasons to be Thankful.” I’m very proud to say that my class won the second place certificate!

This month, I read Thanksgiving stories to our fellow Arc Participants. I used my communicator, (with the help of YouTube) to read the books, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving by Charles M. Schultz, Happy Thanksgiving, Curious George by H.A. and Margret Rey and The Amazing Turkey Rescue by Steve Metzger.

Also, on Friday, November 17th, some of the other Arc Participants and myself made Mickey Mouse pilgrim hats to celebrated the Thanksgiving holiday and the 89th 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 Fantasia in 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 and returned in 2017 to social media. 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.”

This Thanksgiving, I am truly thankful for my family and all my friends at The Arc. On Sunday November 4th, I was very fortunate to spend the day with my family at the Alzafar Shriners’ Circus. Also, I had the chance to see one of my friends named Mariah; she is a former Ms. Wheelchair America winner of 2013.

I’m going to be watching the 91st Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with my mom and drinking plenty of eggnog.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and I hope that everyone and your families will have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

The Arc’s Outstanding October Activities and an Elegant Halloween as Princess Elena

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“The Arc’s Outstanding October Activities and an Elegant Halloween as Princess Elena”

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 Elena of Avalor. A confident and compassionate teenager in an enchanted fairytale kingdom inspired by diverse Latin cultures and folklore.

The new age of the Disney Princesses 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 (1989) and Queen Elsa from Frozen (2013) and most recently Princess Merida from Walt Disney’s 2012 animated movie, Brave.

Elena of Avalor is a production of the Disney Television Animation that premiered in July 2015. The show is about sixteen-year-old Crown Princess Elena. She is a bold, caring, funny and clever ascendant to the throne in the fairytale kingdom of Avalor. Princess Elena’s journey began long ago when her parents and kingdom were taken from her by the evil sorceress, Shuriki.  Elena bravely faced the sorceress to protect her little sister, Princess Isabel, and grandparents but in the process, her magical amulet pulled her inside its enchanted jewel, saving her life but imprisoning her at the same time.  Decades later, Princess Sofia of Enchancia (from Disney Television Animation’s Sofia the First) discovers the truth about the amulet she has worn since joining her royal family and sets out to restore Elena to her human form and help her return to the kingdom of Avalor.

I automatically fell in love with Elena because her personality is so close to my own.  I loved dressing up like Princess Elena because she’s a part of the new generation of Disney Princesses. My mom made my Halloween costume of Elena’s ball gown. I bought Elena’s tiara, a toy version of Princess Elena’s magical Scepter of Light, which sings and glows and a toy version of a Jaquin named Skylar. A magical flying creature which looks like a half-macaw half-jaguar. large wings, fan-shaped tail feathers, tufts of plumage and fur, dark brown nose. Skylar has golden fur, blue spots feathers and turquoise eyes. They support Elena as she learns how to rule her kingdom.

This month, I read Halloween stories to my fellow Arc Participants. I used my communicator, (with the help of YouTube) to read the books, Mickey’s Spooky Night by Chris Smith, The Berenstain Bears and the Spooky Ghost of the Forest by Stan and Jan Berenstain, Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds, The Hallo-Wiener by Dav Pilkey and Hey! That’s my Monster by Amanda Noll.

On Friday, October 13th, The Arc Participants had a Halloween Classroom Door Decorating Contest. My 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.) I was so excited to be able to celebrate a Friday the 13th in October that I got a new Halloween headband with a purple spider on it. I named her Charlotte! I’m very proud to say that our class won the second-place certificate! Our door was decorated as the bedroom door of the character of the little girl named “Boo” from Disney / Pixar’s animated 2001 movie, Monsters Inc. Our decoration theme was, “Boo’s Monsters Inc. Masquerade.” With a 3D “Boo” in her monster costume.

The Arc Participants and Staff Members felt very lucky to be able to start their Halloween activities on this supposedly unlucky day.

Later on, when I was at home with my mom, we watched the seventh installment of the Child’s Play movie franchise, Cult of Chucky. I have been a big fan of this movie franchise since I was little girl. My favorite in the series is Bride of Chucky. I can’t wait for the next installment!

On Tuesday, October 17th, the CSCM and CLASS Case Managers and Administrative Staff Members that work in the upstairs offices had a Halloween Office Decoration Contest. Some of the Press Club Participants were the Halloween Office Decoration Judges.

My classmate, a V.I.P. Participant, L.T., and I are very happy to say that the First Place Certificate was awarded to the CLASS Case Managers in Class Office A. Arc Staff Members, Ms. Kim F., Ms. Sheila H., Ms. Jane S. and Ms. Kristina L. (CLASS Case Managers) in Class Office A. Their decoration theme was, “Pennywise’s Cursed Carnival.”

The Second Place Certificate was awarded to Ms. Jennifer F. (Development and Communications Coordinator) Her theme was, “Ursula the Unicorn’s Happy Halloween.”

The Third Place Certificate was awarded to Ms. Pam S. (The Arc’s Director of the Community Outreach Program) Ms. Heather L., (Support Coordinator) and Ms. Edna T. (Family Support Services Case Manager.) Their decoration theme was, “A Dangerously Cheesy Halloween.”

The Honorable Mention Certificate was awarded to Ms. Brooke K., (Director of CSCM and Community Education) Ms. Allison C. and Ms. Jessica F. (CSCM Case Managers) Their decoration theme was,  “The Itsy-Bitsy Spiders Sit in their Little Wicked Web.”

All of the CSCM and CLASS Case Managers and Administrative Staff Members had a great time celebrating the Halloween season and decorating their work areas.

On Thursday, October 19th, my class, my mom 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. The best part was when a female lion came close enough to the window that my mom got to take an awesome picture of us together. 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. I finally got to ride the carousel with my mom in a carousel chair shaped as a flamingo.

On Friday October 20th, we had an Arc Class Pumpkin Decorating Contest.  I’m very proud to say that our class won the third-place certificate! Our door was decorated as a giant upside down pistachio ice cone with a Baskin-Robbins label that I made that said “31 Flavors of Press.”

On Sunday, October 29th, 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.

Later on, when I was at home with my mom, we watched It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. My favorite part of the television special is when Linus wakes, Sally furiously yells at him for making her miss the Halloween festivities and she bops him. We also carved our first jack o’ lantern that I named Jack McPumpkins.

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 Tuesday, October 31st. I designed the song list of our dance and the individualized Halloween costume certificates for my fellow Participants and Staff Members to win. Even, Ephraim, The Arc’s (on West Avenue) resident slightly spooky ghost had a ghoulishly good time!

So, that was extremely fun and busy with month of October at The Arc of San Antonio!

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

Our Fantastic Fall and Football Festivities

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“Our Fantastic Fall and Football Festivities”

Hi, everyone! Here is what we did in the sensational month of September at The Arc.

The other Arc Participants and I and Staff Members would like to say thank you to the Alamo Area   Law Enforcement officers for having a meeting session at the AACOG (Alamo Area Council of Governments) Main Office on Thursday, September 7th.             This session was an opportunity to promote positive police interaction between law enforcement and individuals in the IDD Community. Law Enforcement and our folks had the opportunity to interact and learn from each other in order to educate that despite our differences, we all want to live in a safe community. We hope to continue this program through 2018.The Arc Participants and Staff Members truly appreciate the Alamo Area Law Enforcement’s service to our community. I love seeing my friends getting to sit in police cars and learning how to handcuff someone, in this case, it was an Arc Staff member named Benny D.

On Wednesday, September 13th, The Arc Staff Members, the other Arc Participants and I wore our favorite NFL jerseys to celebrate the start of the 2017 NFL football season and The Arc’s football themed week.  I was so proud of my home state team: the Carolina Panthers for making it to the Super Bowl L (50) in 2016 that I bought an “I bleed black, blue, and silver! Go Carolina!” T-shirt to wear to The Arc. I also wore my heart shaped football necklace and my mom decorated my wheelchair with football stickers.

I used my communicator, (with the help of YouTube) to read the books, “Mouse’s First Fall” by Lauren Thompson and “Clifford’s First Autumn” by Norman Bridwell.

Being a part of my classroom named “The Press Club,” my fellow classmates and I read books to the other classrooms at The Arc. I love using my communicator to read audiobooks about the recent or upcoming holidays.

In the month of September, some of the other Arc Participants and I celebrated the beginning of the fall season on Friday, 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. The Classrooms got ready for the upcoming fall decoration contest on Thursday, September 28th. I made the certificates and organized the information. It was a fabulous fall month!

I used my communicator, (with the help of YouTube) to read the books, “Goodnight Football” by Michael Dahl and “Dino Football” by Lisa Wheeler.

The Arc is so thankful to have such amazing support from the KSAT 12 Channel News and we want to send a huge thank you to Adam Caskey (Meteorologist) for a fantastic Arc thermometer! We love it so much and will showcase it proudly in our lobby for everyone to enjoy. Achievers of the Year Awards Banquet on Wednesday, October 4th at Morgan’s Wonderland at 6:30. Mr. Adam Caskey will once again be co-emcee. Mr. Adam has generously agreed to not only be our co-emcee for our upcoming Achievers of the Year Banquet, but will also be our new emcee at our annual Roses & Races Gala on Derby Day on Saturday, May 5th, 2018 at the Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa.

To everybody that reads my blog, I truly wished that you’re safe and sound with your family and friends during this troubled time in our world.

Please remember that every storm has a rainbow at the end of it and I hope that your rainbow will come soon.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and I hope that you have a very fortunate fall season.

 

 

An Epic Glimpse at an Eclipse and Astounding August Acts of Talent!

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I dedicate this month’s August 2017 Blog to the memory of one of my favorite singers, Aaliyah (January 16th, 1979 to August 25th, 2001)

At her best, she was loved. 

“An Epic Glimpse at an Eclipse and Astounding August Acts of Talent!”

On Monday, August 21st, the other Participants and I watched a live-feed of the total solar eclipse on cbsnews.com on the Apple televisions in each of our classrooms. We learned that millions of Americans equipped with protective glasses took up prime positions on Monday along a ribbon of land across the United States to marvel at the first total solar eclipse to unfold from coast to coast in nearly a century.

After weeks of anticipation, the sight of the moon’s silhouette passing directly in front of the sun, blotting out all but a halo-like solar corona drew one of the largest audiences in human history, experts said. Texans and San Antonians will have a prime opportunity for the next one on the list in seven years.

We also learned that in seven years, on Monday, April 8th, 2024 some of the best viewing areas for this rare and mesmerizing astronomical event will cut right through the Lone Star State.

A total solar eclipse will run nearly straight through the Alamo City skies and through the middle half of Texas.

Also, during The Arc’s pirate-themed week, Monday, August 21st to Friday, August 25th, we decided to have a treasure hunt and made pirate inspired arts and crafts in honor of the fact that the month of August is the International Pirate Month. We followed clues placed in The Arc’s hallways to a delicious treasure of chocolate coins. We learned about the first ever Long Lake Pirate day in New York. I read the books to my fellow Arc Participants (using YouTube with my communicator) “The Big Eclipse” by Nancy Coffelt and “Pirates Don’t Change Diapers” by Melinda Long.

All of The Arc Participants and I had an extremely fun day with our mateys.

On Friday, August 25th, we had our Fourteenth Annual Talent Show, hosted by The Arc’s (West Avenue) Staff Member, Benny D. I love when it’s time for our Talent Show at The Arc of San Antonio! 

The other Arc Participants and I would to say thank you to Arc Staff Members, Regina F., Sharon M., (Life Enrichment Instructors) and The Arc’s new Head of Maintenance and all of the other Arc Staff Members and Participants for making such entertaining decorations for this year’s Talent Show theme, “The Arc’s Golden Stars Extravaganza!”  

The other Participants and I would like to thank The Arc Staff Members, Ms. Allison C., (CSCM Case Manager) and Ms. Brooke Kearney (Community Education Coordinator and CSCM Case Manager) and Ms. Pam Stephens (The Arc’s Director of the Community Outreach Services) for being such wonderful Talent Show judges.

I wore my new gray 1987 Bad album Michael Jackson shirt (my favorite male singer of all time) and my purple glittery “Press” member light up hat that my mom bought back as a gift from Las Vegas. My mom painted my fingernails with silver stars to match my hat. My mom decorated my chair and tray with musical notes stickers and mini multi-colored toy saxophones that I discovered at a local Dollar Tree Store. I read the book, (using YouTube with my communicator) “Talent Show” by Mary Atkinson.

Since I feel like I can’t be in the Talent Show because of my Cerebral Palsy and speech difficulties, I decided to participate in the Talent Show in another way. I make the award certificates for the other Arc Participants. I like choosing special clip art for each Participant. Also, I create the sign-up sheets for The Arc Participants who would like to try out for the Talent Show. This way, the try-outs can be more organized. I also create the acceptance letters for The Arc Participants that are chosen to be in the Talent Show.  I created the Talent Show program that will be given to the parents / guardians that come to the Talent Show. After all of the songs are chosen, I burn them onto one CD so the Talent Show can run smoothly. I have been the official Talent Show organizer since 2008 and I love doing it!

What a wondrous ending to a fantastic Talent Show. I’m so proud of all of my friends! The Arc of San Antonio has very talented and creative Participants and Staff Members.  The other Participants and I can’t wait to do this all again next year!

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog.

I hope that everybody that reads my blog had a great ending to their summer like I had!

July’s Firework Festivities and a Lavish Luau at The Arc!

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“July’s Firework Festivities and a Lavish Luau at The Arc!”

Hi, everyone! I hope that everybody is having a jubilant month of July as we did at The Arc as you will see.

The Arc of San Antonio and I would like to welcome Mr. Michael Bennett as the new C.E.O. and President as of Monday, July 3rd. The members of The Arc’s Board of Directors were unanimous in their support of Mr. Michael’s selection to lead The Arc in its mission to serve individuals with intellectual, physical and developmental disabilities.  I met Mr. Michael at an Arc festivity. I found Mr. Michael very friendly and patient with me (especially due to an unfortunate accident involving my device’s screen getting cracked, it takes longer for me to communicate) and all of The Arc Participants.

I used my communicator, (with the help of YouTube) to read the book, Henry’s Fourth of July Book by Holly Keller. Being a part of my classroom named “The Press Club,” my fellow classmates and I read books to the other classrooms at The Arc. I love using my communicator to read audiobooks about the recent or upcoming holidays.

On Monday, July 3rd, The Arc Participants celebrated America’s Independence Day by dressing in red, white, and blue clothing. We also made Fourth of July inspired arts and crafts, such as, Red, White, and Blue Lanterns Arts and Crafts. Liberty Crowns, American Flag Wind Socks, Patriotic Cookies, and Fourth of July Sunglasses.

I wore my red and white striped shirt and my new furry patriotic star shaped Star-Spangled ribbon antennae headband. Also, my mom painted my fingernails red polish with blue and white glitter. Also, my mom decorated my wheelchair with patriotic ribbons and American flags.         

On Tuesday, July 4th, my mom and I ate pizza and watched the forty-first Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular on the NBC Channel. I loved watching all the colors of the fireworks that burst into life on the screen.

On Friday, July 21st, some of The Arc Staff Members and other Participants and I had an “Aloha, Summer!” luau party, where we wore our favorite Hawaiian shirts and leis to celebrate

The Arc’s beach themed week and the fifteenth anniversary release of Walt Disney’s Lilo & Stitch animated film. I used my communicator, (with the help of YouTube) to read the book, Froggy goes to Hawaii by Johnathan London. I wore my mom’s blue Hawaiian dress, a hibiscus flower headdress and my rainbow-colored lei that I got for a birthday gift.

 We learned that Lilo & Stitch is the forty-second Disney animated feature film and was nominated for the 2002 Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. The success of the film eventually started a franchise: a direct-to-video sequel, Stitch! The Movie was released on August 26th, 2003. This was followed by a television series, Lilo & Stitch: The Series, which ran from September 20th, 2003 to July 29th 2006. A second direct-to-video sequel, Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch has a Glitch, was released on August 30th, 2005. A third sequel, a television film titled Leroy & Stitch was released on June 23rd, 2006 as the conclusion to the TV series.

 The film’s story is about two highly eccentric and mischievous individuals: a Hawaiian human girl named Lilo Pelekai who lost her and her older sister, Lani’s parents in a car accident, and an extraterrestrial creature originally named “Experiment 626” who gets adopted by Lilo as her “dog” called “Stitch.”

Stitch, who is genetically engineered by his creator, Jumba, to cause chaos and destruction, initially uses her to avoid being captured by an intergalactic federation, but the two individuals develop a close bond through ʻohana, a Hawaiian concept of extended family. This bond causes him to reconsider and later defy his intended destructive purpose in order to keep his newfound family together.

 Lilo & Stitch is definitely on my top ten favorite Disney animated films. Its incredible funny, wonderfully witty and it has a great lesson for everyone. ʻOhana means family. Family means nobody’s left behind or forgotten. When Stitch is explaining about his newfound family, he says, “This is my family.  I found it all on my own. Is little and broken, but still good.” That is how I feel about my family and my extended family at The Arc.

 Everyone would like to say Mahalo (the Hawaiian word for “thank you”) to Mr. Granger and his band for coming to play during the luau party to make the day laule‘a (the Hawaiian word for “happy.”)

I’ll be back next time with the highlights of the amazing month of August and the highlights of The Arc’s Life Enrichment Program’s Fourteenth Annual Summer Talent Show on Friday,  August 25th in The Arc’s Gym.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog I hope that you and your ʻohana have a laule‘a day!            

Summer Fun in the San Antonio Sun!

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“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!”

by jbragg | No Comments

“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!

by jbragg | No Comments

“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.

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