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“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.

January Jubilees

by jbragg | No Comments

Tameka's January 2017 Blog Picture“January Jubilees”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Season’s Greetings with Santa!”

by jbragg | No Comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog.

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

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

 

Nice November Ovations!

by jbragg | No Comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“A Beautifully ‘Brave’ Halloween!”

by jbragg | No Comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Falling in Love with Autumn to Live Long and Prosper!

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tamekas-september-2016-blog-picture

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

“August’s Astounding All-Stars and Outstanding Olympic Memories”

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Tameka's August 2016 Blog Picture
“August’s Astounding All-Stars and Outstanding Olympic Memories”

 I dedicate this month’s blog to the memories of two of my favorite singers, Aaliyah (January 16th, 1979 – August 25th, 2001) and Michael Jackson (August 29th, 1958 – June 25th, 2009)

“At her best (You Are Love)” and I just can’t stop loving him.

I had a very busy and amazing month of August. During the month of August, we celebrated the 31st Summer Olympic Games (from Friday, August 5th to Sunday, August 21st) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. We 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, Olympic Rings Banners.

 The other Arc Participants and I learned that in the beginning, a cross-country runner would light the torch at Olympia, Greece and then carries the ignited torch with it’s burning flame throughout the 15 days of the game.  Thousands of runners representing each country between Greece (the home of the Olympics) and the current host country participate in this 4-week torch relay. The newest tradition, which began with the summer Olympics in Los Angeles, CA (USA) was to have the torch carried across the country by people from all walks of life and have it arrive at the stadium just in time for the opening ceremonies.  The flame was lit at the altar by Rafer Johnson, winner of the Decathlon at the 1960 Rome Olympics. The leather handle features a metallic ring and the caption “Games of the 23rd Olympiad Los Angeles 1984” with the Olympic motto, “Citius Altius Fortius” which means swifter, higher, stronger and the picture of the Memorial Coliseum.

We  also learned that the colors of the five interlocking rings represent the five participating continents: Australia, Africa, America, Asia, and Europe. The colors are always arranged with blue, black, and red across the top from left to right, and yellow and green along the bottom. Some suggest that each color stands for a particular continent, but this has not been confirmed. The rings first appeared on the Olympic flag in 1913, designed by Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympics.

The United States of America won 121 Olympic medals, 46 of which, were gold. 

 All of The other Arc Participants and I and Staff Members had a great time celebrating the Summer Olympic Games and America’s accomplishments.

 My favorite Olympic Gymnast is named Gabby Douglas. She is already at the top of her game: the Olympian has two gold medals to her name, plus multiple world championships. She was officially selected for the U.S. women’s gymnastics Olympic team and on top of all that, she now has her own doll.

 Long-time toy maker, Mattel, skipped the flowers for Gabby Douglas, and instead celebrated the Olympian’s success at the U.S. gymnastics team’s trials this weekend with a Barbie of her likeness. The 2012 champion couldn’t be more happier.

 “I’m so excited,” Douglas said. “My older sister and I used to play with Barbie dolls and create these dramatic fantasy stories, so it’s such a huge honor.”

 She hopes the kids playing with her doll will take away her number-one lesson for young women and men: Stay true to yourself, and go after your dreams.

 On Friday, August 19th, we had our Thirteenth Annual Talent Show, hosted by The Arc’s Staff Member, Benny D. I love when it’s time for our Talent Show at The Arc of San Antonio! In honor of this year’s 31st Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, each of The Arc Participants received a gold medal and an individualized certificate.

I want to say thank you to Arc Staff Members, Tiffany V. and Linda M. and all of the other Arc Staff Members and Participants for making such entertaining Talent Show Decorations for this year’s Talent Show Theme, “The Arc’s Golden All-Stars Shine!” 

 I wore my white Michael Jackson shirt (my favorite male singer of ALL time) and new my purple and fuchsia jeweled musical note necklace and special purple glittery “Press” member hat that my mom bought back as a gift from Las Vegas, Nevada.  My mom painted my fingernails with golden stars to match my hat. My mom decorated my electric wheelchair with musical notes stickers.

 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 another way. I made the award certificates for the other Arc Participants. I like choosing special clip art for each Participant. Also, I created 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 doing all of these Talent Show papers since 2008.

 The absolutely greatest part of this year’s Talent Show experience is that I also received a gold medal for all of the hard work and dedication that I put into making the Talent Show the amazing event that it is. I appreciate the gold medal so much!

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!

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

The Greatest Show on the Fourth of July!

by jbragg | No Comments

Tameka's July 2016 Blog Picture“The Greatest Show on the Fourth of July!”  

Hello everyone! I truly hope that everyone that reads my blog had a happy and safe Fourth of July celebration.

I had a fantastic Fourth of July celebration with my mom. We went to see the “Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Presents: Circus Xtreme” Show on Sunday, July 3rd. The ringmaster, David Shipman guided the audience on a quest around the world with the help of adventure seekers, Alex and Irina Emelin. My favorite part was when we got to see to see women dressed as mermaids floating in the air. Mermaids are my favorite mythical beings, because from the time that I was a little girl, I could relate to them. I have many mermaid pictures and statues. All they ever wanted were a pair of human legs so they could be a part of the human world. Now I know why it’s called The Greatest Show On Earth!

On Friday, July 1st and Tuesday, July 5th, we celebrated America’s Independence Day by dressing in red, white, and blue clothing. I wore my red red and white striped shirt and my patriotic star shaped Star-Spangled atenna headband. 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 used my communicator, (with the help of YouTube) to read the books, “The Night Before the Fourth of July” by Natasha Wing and “Hurray for the Fourth of July” by Wendy Watson. 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 holiday.

On Thursday, July 14th, the other Arc Participants and I had a water balloon day in The Arc’s Playground. Since I couldn’t join in the fun because of my electric wheelchair and communicator, (electric wheelchairs and communicators and water just don’t mix.) I asked The Arc’s  Development/Grants Coordinator, Ms. Andie Mclendon to take pictures for the July 2016 Newsletter. The pictures came out great! My thanks goes out to her for her help.

The month of July is the National Wheelchair Beautification Month.  On Friday, July 15th, the other Arc Participants and I that are in wheelchairs and walkers decided to decorate our chairs and walkers to have a parade to celebrate the month. I decided to decorate my electric wheelchair with cartoon clip art pictures of a circus, because I had so much fun at the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus Show. The National Wheelchair Beautification Month was founded by Horace Knowles.

The other Participants and I learned that The Lego Toy Company released in June 2016, a new collection featuring a mini-figure in a wheelchair. The Danish toy giant has created the Lego “City” play set. said Michael McNally, senior director of brand relations for Lego.

We learned that a wheelchair using doll named “Share a Smile Becky” was released in 1997 by the Mattel Company. She was not a version of Barbie herself but another character, a doll designed to be a friend of Barbie. I always wanted this doll when I was younger, but we could not find it. Although I wanted to put a remote control car battery on Becky’s wheelchair so that I could control her chair as I do my own.

Horace Knowles thought that it was a great idea to allow people to be able to decorate their wheelchairs and walkers and the other Arc Participants and I agree.

Special thanks to all of The Arc Staff Members for their work preparing for this year’s Wheelchair Parade.

Thank you for taking the time to read my July 2016 Blog.

I’ll be back next month with the highlights of the month of August and The Arc’s Life Enrichment Program’s Thirteenth Annual Summer Talent Show on Friday, August 19th inThe Arc’s Gym.

I hope that you have a fantastic end to your month of July!

Jubilant June

by jbragg | No Comments

Tameka's June 2016 Blog Picture“Astounding Audiobooks and Sensational Superheroines in the Jubilant Month of June”

Hi, everyone! I hope that everyone had a jolly month of June and a start to your  summer season.

The Arc would like to thank everyone who attended the First Annual “Texas Trash Benefit Bash” Fundraiser on the property of Beasley Tire Service on Saturday, May 28th.  The event was hosted by The Texastrash Vdub Club was an open car show There were multiple items raffled off including a set of four tires donated by Beasley Tire Service.

The event raised $2,556, which will continue to help The Arc be such a great place to come for the Participants and Staff Members.

On Wednesday, June 8th, The Arc had our “Colossal Comic Book” Day just in time to celebrate Superman Day on Sunday, June 12th and our favorite comic book superheroes. Some of The Arc Staff Members and Participants made comic inspired arts and Crafts and wore T-shirts with our favorite superheroes on them.  I wore my favorite new T-shirt with my favorite superheroine of all time; Sailor Moon.  Usagi Tsukino (pronounced: ooh-saw-gee, sue-key-no) / Sailor Moon is a fictional superheroine who is also the protagonist and titular character in the “Sailor Moon” manga (pronounced: mung-ga) Japanese comic book series written by Naoko Takeuchi. She is introduced in chapter #1, “Usagi – Sailor Moon”, originally published in Japan’s Nakayoshi on December 28th, 1991, as a carefree schoolgirl who can transform into Sailor Moon, the de facto leader of the Sailor Soldiers (a group of superheroines that are sworn to protect Earth that each individual has a planetary name and power, as Sailor Mars, etc.) She is initially believed to be an Earthling, but is later revealed to be the reincarnated princess of the moon kingdom named the Silver Millennium. She later discovers her original birth name, Princess Serenity. In the “Sailor Moon” manga and anime (Japanese animation) series, Usagi meets Luna, a talking black cat with a crescent shaped moon birth mark on her forehead (in the animes Luna looks purple) who is a devoted servant to Princess Serenity and advisor to her mother in her previous life, Queen Serenity. When the moon kingdom falls, she and another white cat advisor named Artemis are put into a long sleep and sent down to Earth to look after the Sailor Soldiers, who are to be reborn there. Part of Luna’s memory becomes suppressed, so that she must find the Sailor Soldiers. She first encounters Usagi Tsukino and teaches her to become Sailor Moon, unaware that it is actually the reincarnated Princess Serenity. Luna also provides the Soldiers with many of their special items, such as transformation wands. Luna discovers that Usagi is destined to save Earth from the forces of evil and gives her a brooch to transform into Sailor Moon, and asks her to form the Sailor Soldiers, find their princess and protect the “Legendary Silver Crystal.” The Silver Crystal possesses tremendous power, capable of reviving an entire world from ruin, but the strain of using such power often costs the user her life – as the power actually derives from the life force of the Moon Dynasty, the members of which alone can actually use it. As Usagi matures, she becomes one of the universe’s powerful warriors and protects her adopted home planet, Earth, from villains who wish to harm it. Usagi is depicted as carefree and cheerful when at ease but quickly serious and strategic-minded when fighting.

A “Sailor Moon” fan is called a “Moonie.” I fell in love with the “Sailor Moon” animated series back in 1995 when I was living in North Carolina. I have dolls, books, movies, posters, practically anything about “Sailor Moon.” In 2014, the rest of the worlds Moonies and I were ecstatic when we learned that Japan was releasing an internet animation adaptation of the manga series “Sailor Moon” written and illustrated by Naoko Takeuchi and produced in commemoration of the original series’ 20th anniversary. Produced by Toei Animation, the series was streamed worldwide from July 5th, 2014 to July 18th, 2015. New episodes were released twice a month. Instead of remaking the 1992–97 anime series preceding it, Toei produced “Sailor Moon Crystal” as a reboot of Sailor Moon and as a more faithful adaptation of the manga by omitting much of the original material from the first anime. The first episode had an advanced screening on June 30th, 2014 to celebrate Usagi’s birthday.

Most Western audiences were introduced to Usagi appearing in the Sailor Moon anime, itself an adaptation of the manga series. Sailor Moon’s critical reception has been largely positive and she is recognized as one of the most important and popular female superheroes of all time.

The other Participants and I and Staff Members had a fantastic and fantasy filled day celebrating to favorite comic book superheroes. 

In the week before Father’s Day which was on Sunday, June 19th, 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 our 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. 

While doing research for the June 2016 Newsletter, I discovered that the month of June is “Audiobook Appreciation Month.” I think that it is funny how the universe works sometimes, because I just got finished listening to the audiobooks of the “Twilight” books by Stephenie Meyer, the “Divergent” book series by Veronica Roth and “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” series by Rick Riordan.

On Monday, June 20th, some of the Participants 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 was overjoyed to find out that a totally new “Harry Potter” book named “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” by J.K. Rowling will be release on Sunday, July 31st which is J.K. Rowling’s and Harry Potter’s birthday.  I have wands, light up brooms, books, movies, posters, practically anything about Harry Potter. I can’t wait to read it! 

 So, that was the joyful month of June for the other Arc Participants and myself. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I’ll be back next time with the highlights of the jubilant month of July!

And to all of my fellow Moonies out there: The moonlight is the message of love!

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