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Stupendous Summer Decorations and Celebrations!

by jbragg | No Comments

“Stupendous Summer Decorations and Celebrations!”

 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 17th, 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, My Dad is a Super Hero by Lily Lexington, I Love My Dad by Shelley Admont and A Perfect Father’s Day by Eve Bunting.

 During the week of Monday, June 18th, 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. I read, Arthur’s Family Vacation by Marc Brown, Pete the Cat at the Beach by James Dean and Froggy Goes to Camp by Jonathan London.

During the month of June, some of The Arc Participants and I made zoo and aquarium inspired arts and crafts to celebrate the fact that the month of June is the National Zoo and Aquarium Month and learned about the World Giraffe Day chosen to be on the longest day of the year: the summer solstice. This year the summer solstice will be on Thursday, June 21st. We learned that Barbie the giraffe has given birth to a baby boy at a zoo in Belgium.

 After falling six feet to the ground at birth, the newborn calf was walking within 20 minutes.

Female giraffes don’t lie down during labor. The baby boy was named Twiga, which is the word for “giraffe” in Swahili.

A zoo caretaker said Twiga has been hopping and galloping around the enclosure.

 He is the sixth calf born to Barbie, and he was born just in time for World Giraffe Day Thursday, June 21st.

In 2016, the International Union for Conservation of Nature listed the world’s tallest land animals as a vulnerable species.

The giraffe conservation foundations estimates only 100,000 giraffes remain in the wild.

 I read, Animal Strike at the Zoo. It’s True! by Karma Wilson, Never, Ever Shout in a Zoo also written by Karma Wilson, Curious George Visits the Zoo by Margret and H.A. Rey and Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae.

 I wore my new leopard print slippers and my Luna Cat (from TV anime show named Sailor Moon) and my mom turned my regular glasses into cat style sunglasses.  Also, my mom glued my Beanie Babies of a giraffe that I named Jeffie, a rainbow-colored koala named Kandi and a rainbow-colored dragon named Pele (after the Hawaiian goddess of fire.)

 On Wednesday, June 20th, The Arc Participants and Staff Members had a Summer Inspired Classroom Door Decorating Contest. My class won the second-place certificate!

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

Mothers Know Best in a Galaxy, Far, Far, Away, Love and Laughter Prevailed!

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“Mothers Know Best in a Galaxy, Far, Far, Away, Love and Laughter Prevailed!”

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.

On Tuesday, May 1st, the other Arc Participants and I and Staff Members celebrated the 79th anniversary of the creation of the DC comic book superhero character named Batman. We learned that Batman was created by artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger, and first appeared in Detective Comics #27 on May 1st, 1939. They also learned about the Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice film.  It features the DC Comics characters, Batman and Superman. Directed by Zack Snyder and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, the film is a follow-up to 2013’s Man of Steel and is the second installment in the DC Extended Universe.

I have always been a Batman fan, since I was a little girl. I think that I ended up liking the character of Batman was partly because of the late singer, Prince was one of my favorite singers and he adored wearing the color purple like I do.

On Friday, 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 learned that film is described as a space western. The film is centered on a young Han Solo and his adventures with his Wookiee partner Chewbacca, including their encounter with Lando Calrissian. I read, 5-Minute Star Wars Stories: Yoda and The Count by Brooke Dworkin, Stéphane Roux, Trey King, Calliope Glass, Andy Schmidt, and Elizabeth Schaefer.

During the week of Monday, May 7th to Friday, May 11th, the other Participants and I made Mother’s Day arts and crafts to give the special women in their lives. I read, The Night Before Mother’s Day by Natasha Wing, Does A Kangaroo Have a Mother, Too? by Eric Carle and A Pinkalicious Mother’s Day Surprise by Victoria Kann.

My mom and I decided that we would to go to the ice skating show, Disney on Ice presents “Dare to Dream” as a mother / daughter Mother’s Day outing. Disney on Ice combines the incredible talents of world-class ice skaters and heartwarming Disney stories, lavish costumes, dazzling lighting and enchanting music to create an extraordinary show for families around the world. Each year, a new production of Disney on Ice is created to bring favorite Disney characters to families around the world. My mom and I really enjoy going the ice skating every year as our family tradition. We get to bond over which Disney characters and princesses are our favorites.

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. I wore an all red outfit that had a big red bow on my shirt. I wore two bright red hair extensions and my mom decorated my nose with red make up because the rubber noses won’t stay on. I used my communicator, (with the help of YouTube) to read the books, I chose to read Seeing Red by Robert Munsch. A funny story about friends Alex and Arie who both envy the color of the other’s hair. A series of hilarious practical jokes start.

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 2018 will go to charities working on the ground to deliver the basic needs of kids living in poverty. People across the country will come together to have fun and raise funds and awareness.

In the first three years of its creation, the Red Nose Day Campaign has raised over $100 million, impacting more than 8.3 million children in America and around the world. The Red Nose Day Campaign returns to the NBC Channel on Thursday, May 24th, 2018. Leading up to the star-studded night of programming, celebrations for Red Nose Day engage millions of Americans across the country.

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

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 force be with you!

An Amusing Month of April’s Egg-cellent Easter Crafts and Fantastic Fiesta Celebrations!

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“An Amusing Month of April’s Egg-cellent Easter Crafts 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 Tommy’s Restaurant in honor of San Antonio’s Fiesta celebrations.

 During the week of Monday, March 26th and Thursday, March 29th, some Participants also made “Bunny Shaped Easter Baskets” Arts and Crafts to acknowledge the upcoming Easter holiday. I wore my glittery pink Easter bunny ears that light up and my mom decorated my wheelchair tray with an Easter egg garland.

 On Monday, April 2nd, some of The Arc Participants and Staff Members wore their craziest and silliest outfits to celebrate April Fools’ Day. I wore my rainbow–colored wig and a purple and green striped shirt with polka-dot pants and a mix matched pair of shoes.

 For the Easter and April Fools holidays, I used my communicator, (with the help of YouTube) to read the books, I chose to read Pinkalicious – Eggstraordinary Easter by Victoria Kann, Peter Rabbit’s Happy Easter Book by Grace Maccarone and Arthur’s April Fools by Marc Brown.

 For the Fiesta celebrations, I read Mañana, Iguana by Ann Whitford Paul, Viva Frida by Yuyi Morales, The Three Little Tamales by Eric A. Kimmel and Coco (A story book telling of the Disney / Pixar Film.)

 Also, during the month of April, to celebrate the Poteet Strawberry Festival (this year’s event: Friday, April 13th to

Sunday, April 15th, 2018) some of The Arc Participants and I made “Strawberry Origami Boxes” arts and crafts and ate healthy snacks named “Strawberry Sundaes.” My Strawberry Sundae was delicious!

We learned that the Strawberry Festival began in 1948 when the Poteet Rotary Club organized the first event in an effort to provide returning World War II veterans an incentive to return to the farms.

 On Friday, April 20th, The Arc had a Classroom Fiesta Float Building Contest gathering in The Arc’s Gym. My classroom’s Fiesta float was about celebrating San Antonio’s tricenntinal.

 On Wednesday, April 25th, 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 2018 Newsletter edition. I’m very proud to say that the First Place Certificate was awarded to my classroom. We decorated our door with Fiesta medal arts and crafts.

 The Arc Participants and Staff Members decided that on Friday, April 27th, we would commemorate the Fiesta celebrations by gathering in The Arc’s Gym in “The Taste of The Arc” Fiesta Food Tasting Booths with our friends. The other Participants and I listened to songs from the late singer, Selena and 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 2018 new Fiesta Medals (that I got from The Arc, McDonald’s and H.E.B.) and my Fiesta rainbow–colored flower halo. Also, some of the other Arc Participants and I and the Staff Members decided that they would commemorate the Fiesta celebrations by watching the “Battle of Flowers” Parade on the website of San Antonio’s local ABC channel, KSAT 12 with our friends.

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.

Searching for Leprechauns Gold and Finding Birthday Wishes!

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“Searching for Leprechauns Gold and Finding Birthday Wishes!”

 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 Friday, March 2nd, some of The Arc Participants and Staff Members celebrated what would have been the 114th birthday of Theodor Seuss Geisel also known as Dr. Seuss.

Dr. Seuss published forty-six children’s books, which were often characterized by imaginative characters, and rhyme. His most celebrated books include the bestselling books: Green Eggs and Ham, The Cat in the Hat, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, Horton Hears a Who! and How the Grinch Stole Christmas! Numerous adaptations of his work have been created, including eleven television specials, four feature films, a Broadway musical and four television series. We also learned about an upcoming American 3D computer-animated Christmas film named The Grinch played by the actor Benedict Cumberbatch produced by Illumination Entertainment. The film is scheduled to be released by Universal Pictures on Friday, November 9th, 2018.

Dr. Seuss’ birthday, March 2nd, (1904) has been adopted as the annual date for National Read Across America Day, an initiative on reading created by the National Education Association.

 For National Irish American Heritage Month, The Arc had a Saint Patrick’s Day celebration and a start of the season of spring dance on Friday, March 16th, where some of the other Participants and I and Staff Members wore green clothing, made arts and crafts projects such as, Shamrock Mobiles and read stories about the country of Ireland and leprechauns and their pots of gold. During the week of Monday, March 12th to Friday, March 16th, we built leprechaun trapping boxes in celebration of the upcoming Saint Patrick’s Day weekend.

Even though we didn’t catch any leprechauns, the other Participants and I enjoyed the chocolate coins that the little tricky elves left behind.

 For the upcoming Saint Patrick’s Day holiday, I use my communication device to read, (with the help of You Tube) How to Catch a Leprechaun by Adam Wallace, A Fine St. Patrick’s Day by Susan Wojciechowski, Clever Tom and the Leprechaun by Linda Shute, Ten Lucky Leprechauns by Kathryn Heling and Deborah Hembrook and Jack and the Leprechaun by Ivan Robertson 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 green headband that has the word “BOSS” in gold letters (in honor of the month of March being Women’s History Month,) and my rainbow-colored Hawaiian lei necklace. Also, my mom painted my fingernails neon green with gold glitter and my tray on my electric wheelchair was decorated with a green feathered boa.

 On Wednesday, March 7th, to celebrate National Cereal Day, some of the other Arc Participants and I made Lucky Charms Cereal Doorknob Hangers.  We learned that the Lucky Charms cereal was created in 1962 by John Holahan.

An advertising company employed by General Mills and Company suggested marketing the new cereal around the idea of charm bracelets. Thus, the charms of the Lucky Charms cereal were born. Lucky Charms is the first cereal to include marshmallows in the recipe. The mascot of the Lucky Charms cereal is Lucky the Leprechaun, also known as Sir Charms, and originally called L.C. Leprechaun. Created in 1963, the cartoon character’s voice was supplied by Arthur Anderson until 1992.

 We learned that the marshmallows are meant to represent Lucky’s magical charms, each with their own special meaning or “power.” The following are explanations of the permanent marshmallows: Hearts are the power to bring things to life, Shooting Stars are the power to fly, Horseshoes are the power to speed things up, Clovers are the power of luck, but you will never know what kind of luck you’ll get, Blue Moons are the power of invisibility, Rainbows are the instantaneous travel from place to place, Balloons are the power to make things float, and Hourglasses are the power to control time. This year, for the first time in ten years Lucky Charms added a new permanent marshmallow, the Magical Unicorn. Its powers are unknown. I love unicorns and I think that this new marshmallow is totally awesome!

 The other Participants and I felt really lucky to be able to learn such cool facts about the Lucky Charms Cereal brand.

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

 I would like to tell everyone that The Arc is selling its “Arc Fiesta 2018” Medals for our Fund Raiser. Each Medal is available in

The Arc’s front office for: $10.00.

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

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

 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 2018 Festivities. I love The Arc’s 2018 Fiesta Medal! I can’t wait for Fiesta!

 Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. 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!

A Fabulous and Fantastic February for All Participants!

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“A Fabulous and Fantastic February for All Participants!”

Hi, everybody! I hope that you are having a fabulous month of February.

During the month, we learned that the 2018 Olympic Winter Games are an ongoing international multi-sport event held in the county of Pyeongchang, South Korea, which runs from on Friday, February 9th to Sunday, February 25th. The Participants watched portions of the Olympic Games on their classroom computers and Apple televisions and at: www.nbcolympics.com and made their own Olympic inspired arts and crafts, such as: Laurel Leaf Crowns, Olympic Torches, Paper Snowboarder Launchers, Olympic Rings Banners. The Participants had a victorious month celebrating the Winter Olympics.

On Monday, February 2nd, 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 Wednesday, February 7 , The Arc of San Antonio (at the West Avenue location) had a celebratory award ceremony to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of The Arc’s Life Enrichment Program. Each Participant received an award certificate and a Hawaiian lei necklace to memorialize the number of years that they have been attending The Arc’s Life Enrichment Program. Participants that have been in the Life Enrichment Program under five years received a green lei necklace. Six to ten years Participants received a blue lei necklace and the Participants that have been in the Life Enrichment Program over sixteen years received a purple lei necklace.  I received a blue lei because I have been at The Arc of San Antonio twelve years in 2006.

The other Participants and I learned the history of the Life Enrichment Program from Arc Staff Member, Ms. Pam S. (The Arc’s Family Support Service Coordinator) congratulatory speech that in 1997, The Arc of San Antonio was approached by local residential providers that needed programs and services for the individuals in their group homes. Their only choices were the Unicorn Center day habitation / work program or the Good Will Stores because they were the only day habitation not owned by other local residential providers.  After many months of deliberation, The Arc of San Antonio Board Members and Staff Members dedicated to open a day habitation / life enrichment program to the general public.  In February 1998, The Arc of San Antonio opened its Life Enrichment Program, offering an array of services in San Antonio. The program upheld The Arc’s mission to enrich the quality of the lives of individuals with physical and other developmental disabilities.

Arc Staff Member, Ms. Pam S. also said that, “The biggest achievement was when a strategic planning goal focused on the Life Enrichment Program and developing a wide array of opportunities that enhanced the lives of all the participants in the program. As a result of that goal the following opportunities became a reality … VIP’s, curriculum specialist, director over both locations, nursing staff, buses that provided more outings for all!”

Arc Staff Member, Ms. Jennifer T. (Administrative Director of Adult Day Services) said that, “This upcoming year we are focusing on increased outing opportunities for all participants.  We had been doing one outing per month for all participants and now we are up to two outings per month and will continue to increase.  Our goal is to have all classrooms attend one outing per week, therefore four outings per month by June 2018.  Go Team!”

Arc Staff Member, Mr. Brian L. (Associate Director Day Services at the West Avenue location) said that, “I think that the Life Enrichment Program has done a great job expanding over the years with regards to increasing enrollment to serve more Participants while still keeping safety, community access and classroom training at a high level.”

Arc Staff Member, Mr. Michael B. (The Arc’s C.E.O. and President) said that,  “The greatest achievement of the Life Enrichment Program is this twentieth anniversary itself. The Arc of San Antonio provides a safe, enriching and caring environment for our Participants who have physical and developmental disabilities. Here we can help them grow, learn and be themselves without judgment. The Life Enrichment Program also supports their family members by providing them time to work and do whatever they need to do while their family member benefits by their time with us and with their fellow Participants. It’s a win-win for everyone and a great program for this community.”

We had a splendid day celebrating the achievements gained in The Arc of San Antonio’s Life Enrichment Program.

On Tuesday, February 13th, some of The Arc Participants and Staff Members wore gold, purple, and green necklaces to celebrate this year’s Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans, Louisiana and the fact that the city of New Orleans is also celebrating their 300th (tricentennial) anniversary. (With the help of You Tube) I read, Three Little Cajun Pigs by Mike Artell and a novelization Walt Disney’s 2009 animated film named The Princess and the Frog. A story about an African-American young girl named Tiana and her adventure after being turned into a frog by a magical mishap during the Mardi Gras celebration. I love The Princess and the Frog movie. I think that its one of the best Disney’s animated movies of all time!              

Also, the Participants made colorful masks, crowns and tambourine arts and crafts. I loved making my Mardi Gras mask and necklace; I added rhinestones to my mask to it extra unique.          

During the month of February, the other Participants and I made Valentine’s Day inspired arts and crafts such as, Valentine’s Day “Love Bug Card Box” Arts and Crafts.

On Wednesday, February 14th, we had our annual Valentine’s Day Dance, hosted by my friend and classmate, Arc Press Club Participant, Samantha M. where some of the Participants wore red and pink clothing. 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, Also, my mom painted my fingernails red with pink and silver hearts. Arc Press Club Participant, Samantha M. and Arc V.I.P. Participant, Patrick T. were chosen to be this year’s Valentine’s Day Dance King and Queen of Hearts.

I want to give a special acknowledgement to Arc Staff Member, Regina F. (A Life Enrichment Instructor) for making such wonderful and beautiful sashes, crowns the queens scepter for the King and Queen of Hearts.

Also, my special thanks goes to the V.I.P. and Press Club Participants, who helped to decorate The Arc’s Gym. 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.

On Friday, February 16th, some of the other Arc Participants and I celebrated the fact that the year of 2018 is The Year of the Dog in the Chinese zodiac.  We made Chinese lanterns, Chinese New Year Dog Good Luck Charms and other arts and crafts to celebrate the start of the Chinese New Year that started on Friday, February 16th. (With the help of You Tube) I read, Ten Mice for Tet by Pegi Deitz Shea and Cynthia Weill and The Year of the Dog by Oliver Chin.                      

Also, the Participants celebrated the twentieth anniversary of the Walt Disney animated film named Mulan by making arts and crafts featuring the character. Mulan is a 1998 American animated musical action comedy-drama film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation for Walt Disney Pictures. It is based on the Chinese legend of Hua Mulan, and was Disney’s thirty-sixth animated feature. The film’s plot takes place during the Han dynasty, where Fa Mulan, daughter of aged warrior Fa Zhou, impersonates a man to take her father’s place during a general conscription to counter a Hun invasion. I think that Mulan is so courageous, smart and loving that she totally deserves the title, even though she is not from royal descent.

The Participants had a great time celebrating the Year of the Dog. 

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, Love, Ruby Valentine by Laurie Friedman and The Biggest Valentine Ever by Steven Kroll to my fellow Arc Participants.

On Monday, February 19th, 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.” with the help of you Tube, I read the books, Bubba the Cowboy Prince and Armadilly Chili by Helen Ketteman to my fellow Participants.

 Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I hope that you and your family had a fabulous February like I had.

 

A Very Pleasant New Year with Paddington Bear!

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“A Very Pleasant New Year with Paddington Bear!”

Happy New Year, 2018, 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, 2018 Party Hats, Noise Makers, and Banners to celebrate the city of San Antonio’s 300th (tricentennial) anniversary. Also, I used my new communicator, (with the help of YouTube) to read the books, Shanté Keys and the New Year’s Peas by Gail Piernas-Davenport and Squirrel’s New Year’s Resolution by Pat Miller to my fellow Participants. I’m truly a bookworm and I am so thankful for my new purple communication device because allows me to read even more books to my fellow Participants as part of my Arc Press Club duties.

On Friday, January 12th, some of the other Arc Participants and I learned about the little brown bear with the hat from Peru named Paddington to celebrate the release of the sequel of the 2014 live-action/CGI animated comedy film Paddington named Paddington 2.

 The other Participants and I also learned that Michael Bond based Paddington Bear on a lone teddy bear he noticed on a shelf in a London store near Paddington Station on Christmas Eve 1956, which he bought as a present for his wife. The bear inspired Bond to write a story; and, in ten days, he had written the first book, A Bear Named Paddington, which I decided to read to everyone. When I was a little girl, I would listen to Paddington Bear stories at our library.  That is why on June 25th, 2012, I was happy to see an official movie poster.

In the movie sequel, Paddington having settled with the Brown family in Windsor Gardens, has become popular in hiscommunity, offering people emotional support in various ways. In order to purchase a unique pop-up book of London in Mr. Gruber’s antique shop for Aunt Lucy’s 100th birthday, Paddington performs several odd jobs and saves his wages, but the book is stolen, and the culprit escapes, resulting in Paddington being accused of the crime and arrested. 

Friday, January 16th, 2014. To celebrate the release of Paddington the movie, The Paddington Trail has been started from November 4th until December 30th, 2014, fifty Paddington Bear Statues were placed around London close to museums, parks, shops and key landmarks. The statues had been created by artists, designers and celebrities, including supermodel Kate Moss, actress Nicole Kidman, and Downton Abbey star, Hugh Bonneville. As the lead charity partner of The Paddington Trail, the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children Charity Organization will be holding an online auction in November and a live auction in December for the statues.

All proceeds from the sale of the bears went to another charity. Some of the Participants decided to make our own mini Paddington Bear statues. The other Arc Participants and I had a perfect Paddington Bear day.

On Wednesday, January 17th, due to an expected snowstorm the previous day, 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 the Reverend Dr. 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). Also, the Participants decorated a bulletin board dedicated to the Reverend’s “I have a Dream” speech with their ideas of what the word “peace” means to us. The word “peace” means to me that someone accepts another person no matter of what they look, sound like or whatever they believe in. My hope for the future is that the people of the world will make Dr. King’s dream into a reality no matter of the shortsightedness believes of our world leaders. I used my new communicator, (with the help of YouTube) to read the books, Love Will See You Through: Martin Luther King Jr.’s Six Guiding Beliefs (as told by his niece) by Angela Farris Watkins and I am Martin Luther King, Jr. (Ordinary People Change the World) by Brad Meltzer.

On Thursday, January 18th, some of the other Participants and I wore their favorite snowman shirts to celebrate the World Day of the Snowman. I wore my red Olaf (the cute little snowman from Disney’s 2013 Frozen) that says: “Some people are worth melting for.” Also, the Participants and the Staff Members read the winter clothing inspired books, The Hat and The Mitten by Jan Barrett. We made individual snow people arts and crafts. The date goes back to the form of a snowman. “1” stands for his stick or broom and “8” symbolizes the snowman. World Day of the Snowman was first held in 2011. Everyone had a splendid day celebrating the wonders of snow. I read the books, Snowman Magic by Katherine Tegen and Sneezy the Snowman by Maureen Wright.

On Friday, January 19th, we celebrated the upcoming “Penguin Awareness Day” on Saturday, January 20th by having a “Perfectly Perfect Penguin Impersonation Day.” Some of the other Participants and I and Staff Members wore black and white clothing, made penguin inspired arts and crafts, and learned facts about penguins. Penguins are aquatic birds native to the Southern Hemisphere. There are about twenty known species of penguins, the largest of which are the emperor penguins, the lead stars of the documentary, March of the Penguins. The smallest known penguin species are the little penguin found in the coastal areas of Australia and New Zealand. I read the books, Cinderella Penguin by Janet Perlman and The Penguin Who Wanted to Fly by Catherine Vase. We had a great time celebrating Penguin Awareness Day.

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!

 

Snow Many Surprises and Season’s Greetings with Santa!

by jbragg | No Comments

“Snow Many Surprises and 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 with my new communication device, Secret Santa by Margaret McNamara, The Biggest Christmas Tree Ever by Steven Kroll, Santa’s New Suit by Laura Rader and Olive, the Other Reindeer by J. Otto Seibold and Vivian Walsh.

Also, on Friday, December 1st, The Arc Classrooms had a Holiday Classroom Gingerbread Creations Contest. The goal was to make the most interesting and creative buildings out of gingerbread. I am very proud to say that my class won the first-place certificate! Our theme for our gingerbread creation of the three wise men and baby Jesus, “With a Message from Above, He Sends Us Love.”

Special thanks goes to the Upstairs Arc Staff Members, Ms. Jennifer F., (Development and  Communications Coordinator) Ms. Brooke K. (Director of CSCM and Community Education) and            Ms. Jessica M. (CSCM Case Manager) for being such sensational Holiday Classroom Gingerbread Creations Judges for 2017.                

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

Snow made a rare appearance in San Antonio and Southwest Texas on Thursday, December 7th in the evening, blanketing everything from cars and homes to area roadways.

My mom and I went outside to play in the snow and take pictures. We had so much fun building a snowman that I named Olaf. I couldn’t help myself but to take a picture with my Queen Elsa light up wand that I got from the Disney on Ice’s Frozen Show. I was so happy to be able to see snow fall in San Antonio! We ended up with just shy of 1.9 inches on the ground, according to the National Weather Service. The last time that I saw snow falling, I was a very little girl in North Carolina.

On Friday, December 8th, 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 Disney’s 2016 Zootopia DVD. In a world populated by anthropomorphic mammals, Judy Hopps from rural Bunnyburrow fulfills her childhood dream of becoming a police officer in urban Zootopia. Despite being the academy valedictorian, Judy is delegated to parking duty by Chief Bogo, who doubts her potential because she is a rabbit. 

I wore my reindeer antlers that are wrapped up with giant Christmas lights, 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 Friday, December 15th, my classroom went on an outing to The Magik Theatre (in downtown San Antonio) to go to see the stage play, I really liked this play! It tells the story of Imogene, Claude, Ralph, Leroy, Ollie, and Gladys, six delinquent children named the Herdmans who were engaged in misfit behavior for their age such as smoking, cussing, drinking jug wine, and shoplifting. They go to church for the first time after being told that the church offers snacks. Despite protests from other church members, they are given roles in the Sunday school’s Christmas play, in which they tell the Christmas story in a nonconventional fashion. I love the final message of the play: Even though everyone is different, they can learn the true meaning of Christmas in their own way.

To finish out the month, on Tuesday, December 19th, we had a Holiday Dance and 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 last year. I loved choosing the holiday music for the dance especially from the Jackson 5 and Mariah Carey. Everyone had a gleeful day wearing their holiday apparel.

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

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog.

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

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to everyone and I’ll see you in 2018!

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.