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M-I-C-K-E-Y, because The Arc loves Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and Thanksgiving!

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“M-I-C-K-E-Y, because The Arc loves Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and Thanksgiving!”

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.

On Friday, November 9th. We had a Thanksgiving Classroom Door Decorating Contest. Our door was decorated as a giant turkey. We titled our door, “Gobbling Up Thanksgiving.”

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 15th and with our friends.

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 15th and with our friends.

This month, I read Thanksgiving books to my fellow Arc Participants. I used my communicator, (with the help of YouTube) to read the books, Arthur’s Thanksgiving by Marc Brown, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving by Charles M. Schultz, The Very Stuffed Turkey by Katharine Kenah, Thanksgiving is Here by Diane Goode and Duck for Turkey Day by Jacqueline Jules.

On Friday, November 16th, some of the other Arc Participants and myself made Mickey Mouse pilgrim hats to celebrate the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday and the 90th anniversary of the creation of the world’s favorite cartoon characters, Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse.

While I was watching the TV special named Mickey’s 90th Spectacular, I found out that from November 4th to the 17th, 2018, people who take a photo showing o their Mickey Mouse ears – or any creative “ears” – and upload it to Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. For every public photo posted with #ShareYourEars, Disney will donate US $5 to Make-A-Wish, up to US $2 million to grant even more life-changing wishes. This is all part of the Disney Team of Heroes commitment to deliver comfort and inspiration to families around the world.  I decided that I would post a picture every day (until November 17th) on Facebook of myself wearing my Minnie Mouse ears and Mickey Mouse shirt.

Since 1980, Disney has helped Make-A-Wish grant more than 130,000 wishes – experiences that not only brighten lives but also help wish kids and their families replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy and anxiety with hope.

http://wish.org/content/disney/share-your-ears-2018

The Make-a-Wish Foundation holds a special part in my heart. I am so grateful for the Make-a-Wish Foundation because they paid for my mother and me to Disney World in 1993, before I had an extensive series of orthopedic surgeries. 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. 

I read the book, Happy Birthday Mickey by Brooke Vitale. 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.”

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

I hope that everyone and their families who read my monthly blogs will have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Astonishing Accolades and Resplendent October Activities as Princess Rapunzel!

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“Astonishing Accolades and Resplendent October Activities as Princess Rapunzel!”

 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.

On Wednesday, September 26th, the thirty-seventh annual “Achievers of the Year” Banquet was held at Morgan’s Wonderland, America’s first playground for people with disabilities.

 The event was co-hosted by Mr. Adam Caskey, a KSAT 12 Meteorologist and Mr. Gordon Hartman, a philanthropist and the owner and creator of Morgan’s Wonderland. This event was presented by the 

CW 35, San Antonio Fox 29/35 KABB San Antonio and News 4 San Antonio television stations.

 Awards are given to individuals who have accomplished a major goal such as learning to walk or communicate, getting a job in the community, or improving a basic skill.

 I was totally caught off guard when I was chosen to be one of The Arc’s Achievers of the Year! I am used to writing about the other Arc Participants receiving their Achiever of the Year awards; I never thought that I would get one. I was greatly honored to have my award be presented by Mr. Adam C., Mr. Gordon H., and Mr. Michael B. (The Arc’s President and C.E.O.) 

 The following paragraph about myself was written by Arc Staff Member, Mr. Michael B. (The Arc’s President and C.E.O.)  “To The Arc of San Antonio Family:

Tameka Hughes is editor in chief of our monthly internal newsletter. Those who have read it know the quality, the care, the excitement Tameka brings to every issue. To paraphrase her recently, as she accepted The Arc’s 2018 Achiever of the Year award on September 26th, “it’s about the people who make The Arc special.” And so, should every media product be: about the people whose stories need telling. My mom was editor of her high school newspaper…she taught me that, and she reads Tameka’s work every month!

But it’s much more than that with Tameka: it’s her labor of love and caring for everyone here, participants, staff and volunteers. It’s her passion, an expression of her gifts of careful writing, fun layout and graphics, and most importantly, her example that every one of us have special abilities which we need to share with and accept from each other.

So, since I am on deadline (another of Tameka’s gifts is that she never accepts excuses), let me finish by simply saying: On this, the publication of her 100th edition, I extend the congratulations of every member of The Arc family near and far to Tameka for her unceasing commitment to our work, our joy in each other, and to what matters most, the telling of the stories of our lives. You rock, Tameka…more to come at 200!

Mike Bennett, President, Chief Executive Officer & Publisher.”

 Also, on Friday, October 5th, I was presented by Mr. Arc Staff Member: Michael B. (The Arc’s President and C.E.O.) former

(The Arc’s President and C.E.O.) Steve E. and Pam S. a trophy in celebration of the one-hundredth edition of The Arc’s Life Enrichment Program Newsletter! Honestly, if it was not for Mr. Steve, the Newsletter would not exist now. In 2015, after I had emergency gall bladder surgery, I was told by email that it was decided that the Newsletter will no longer be sent to the parents / guardians, but would be read to the classrooms because of budget cuts. I was extremely upset and I was thinking of stopping the Newsletter all together, but

Mr. Steve introduced me to Ms. Andie (The Arc’s Development Director) and found a way to e-mail the Newsletter to the parents / guardians. Mr. Steve  said that the Newsletter was too important to the parents / guardians to be taken away.

 This year, I chose to be Princess Rapunzel from Walt Disney’s computer animated 2010 movie, Tangled.

Loosely based on the German fairy tale “Rapunzel” in the collection of folk tales published by the Brothers Grimm, it is the fiftieth Disney animated feature film. Featuring the voices of Mandy Moore, Zachary Levi and Donna Murphy. The film tells the story of a lost, young princess with magical long blonde hair who yearns to leave her secluded tower. Against her mother’s wishes, she accepts the aid of an intruder to take her out into the world which she has never seen.

In Tangled, a drop of sunlight became a flower capable of healing illness, decay, and injury. For hundreds of years, the flower is used by Mother Gothel to retain her youth, until soldiers from a nearby kingdom, Corona, take the flower to heal their ailing queen. Shortly afterwards, the Queen gives birth to Princess Rapunzel. While attempting to recover the flower, Gothel discovers Rapunzel’s golden hair contains the flower’s healing properties, and that cutting her hair destroys its power. Gothel abducts the baby and raises her as her own daughter in an isolated tower. Once a year, the King and Queen release sky lanterns on Rapunzel’s birthday, hoping for their daughter to see them and return to her awaiting birth parents.

On the eve of her eighteenth birthday, Rapunzel requests to leave the tower and discover the source of the lanterns, but Gothel refuses, claiming that the outside world is a dangerous place. Rapunzel then asks for a special paint that will take Gothel three days’ round trip to obtain and return, and Gothel accepts. Meanwhile, a thief called Flynn Rider steals Rapunzel’s crown from the palace and inadvertently discovers the tower after ditching his allies, the Stabbington brothers, during a chase between them and palace guards. Rapunzel captures Flynn then finds and hides the crown, but is unaware of its significance. She convinces a reluctant Flynn to escort her to see the lanterns in exchange for the return of the crown, as a way to prove to Gothel that she can take care of herself in the “dangerous” outside world.

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), Princess Merida from Walt Disney’s movie, Brave (2012), and most recently Princess Elena from a production of the Disney Television Animation show named Elena of Avalor.

This month, I read Halloween stories to my fellow Arc Participants. I used my communicator, (with the help of YouTube) to read the books, BOO! by Robert Munsch, Pumpkin Town! (Or, Nothing Is Better and Worse Than Pumpkins) by Katie McKy, Spookley The Square Pumpkin by Joe Troiano, a story about how being different can be very helpful. Spookley the pumpkin wasn’t round- he was…square! A very unique pumpkin delivers a special message of tolerance and self-acceptance. Arthur’s Halloween by Marc Brown and of course my favorite Halloween book: It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown by Charles M. Schultz.

On Friday, October 12th, 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’m very proud to say that our class won the Honorable Mention Certificate! Our door was decorated bats with the words, “We are driving our teachers batty!”

On Friday October 19th, we had an Arc Class Pumpkin Decorating Contest.  Our pumpkin was decorated as a three faced emoji named “Here an Emoji, There an Emoji, Everywhere an Emoji, Emoji!”

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.

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 Wednesday, 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 and safe Halloween!

Fantastic Football Fashions and Fabulous Fall Festivities!

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“Fantastic Football Fashions and Fabulous Fall Festivities!”

 During our 2018 United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County Employee Kick Off our staff worked together with the resources given to them in order to make a sling shot that would slink a pom ball across the room. The activity was great in showcasing that we have to work together as a community with the different resources we have in order to accomplish one goal! #LiveUnitedSA. I’m really proud of all of The Arc Staff Members.

 On Monday, September 10th, The Arc Staff Members, the other Arc Participants and I wore our favorite NFL jerseys to celebrate the start of the 2018 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 a T-shirt to wear to The Arc. My mom decorated my wheelchair with football stickers. I used my new communicator, (with the help of YouTube) to read the books, Snoopy’s All Star Football by Charles M. Schulz and Goodnight Football by Michael Dahl.

 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 upcoming beginning of the fall season on Saturday, September 22nd. I read the books, Mouse’s First Fall by Lauren Thompson, Clifford’s First Autumn by Norman Bridwell, Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn by Kenard Pak and The Scarecrow’s Wedding by Julia Donaldson. 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 13th. I made the certificates and organized the information. My classroom’s fall door decoration was named “We’re Popping into Fall.” Our class door had corn on the cob cut outs with real popcorn glued to them.

 The First Place Certificate for the most Fabulously Fall or Awesomely Autumn Classroom Fall Door Decorations was Classrooms # 11 and 12. Their decoration title was “Meet Mr. and Mrs. Stanley and Sarah Scarecrow!”

 The Second Place Certificate  for the most for the most Tremendously Terrific and Delightfully Dazzling Fall Classroom Door Decorations was awarded to LEAP Classroom # 6.

 Their decoration title was “Welcome to Our Pumpkin Patch.”

 The Third Place Certificate for the most for the most   Creatively Colorful, Festively Funny or Seasonally Silly Classroom Fall Door Decorations was awarded to Classroom # 5.

 Their decoration title was, “Look Who’s Hanging Out in Room 5.”

 The Honorable Mention Certificate for the most for the most Immensely Ingenious and Unquestionably Unique Classroom Fall Door Decorations was awarded to Classroom # 4.

 Their decoration title was, “Fall is Here.”

 Special thanks goes to The Arc Staff Members, Allison C., (Director of CSCM: Community Services Case Management)

Heather L., (Family Support Services) and Andie M. (Director of Development) for being such wonderful Fall Classroom Door Decorations contest judges for 2018.

 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.

 

Astounding August Acts of Talent!

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I dedicate this month’s August 2018 Blog to the memory of one of my favorite singers, Ms. Aretha Franklin (March 25th, 1942 to August 16th, 2018) also known as the Queen of Soul. She taught the world how toshow R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

“Astounding August Acts of Talent!”

Hi, everybody!

 The month of July is the National Wheelchair Beautification Month.  On Wednesday, July 25th, 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 wear a tiara and to decorate my electric wheelchair with Fiesta decorations so that I could be a Fiesta princess. The National Wheelchair Beautification Month was founded by Horace Knowles.

 On Sunday, August 5th, I got to go to Camp C.A.M.P. (Children’s Association for Maximum Potential) www.campcamp.org with one of my best friends from The Arc. A lot of the other Arc Participants went to Camp the same week as I went.

Camp C.A.M.P. is a special camp in Comfort, Texas for children and adults with disabilities. We went canoeing, did archery, and my favorite, swimming in the pool, every day. I had a great time, even though my visit was cut short by my unfortunate knee fracture injury. Some of The Arc’s CLASS and CSCM Case Managers Staff Members went on a tour of Camp C.A.M.P. on Thursday, July 26th.

 On Friday, August 24th, we had our Fifteenth Annual Talent Show, hosted by The Arc’s Staff Members,

Veronica V. and Lauren H. I love when it’s time for our Talent Show at The Arc of San Antonio! 

 The other Arc Participants and I would to say thank you to Arc Staff Members, Regina F., Diana L., (Life Enrichment Instructors) my fellow Participants in The Arc’s Press Club Classroom and all of the other Arc Staff Members and Participants for making such entertaining decorations for this year’s Talent Show theme, “The Arc’s Beach Bonanza of Talent!”  

The other Participants and I would like to thank The Arc Staff Members Tina C. (Family Support Services Coordinator,) Lucy O. (CSCM Case Manager,) and Elisha B. (CLASS Case Manager) for being such wonderful Talent Show judges.

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

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

 So that was another successful Talent Show is in The Arc’s history books! I’m so proud of my friends and grateful to the Staff Members to helping to make the great decorations. The other Participants and I can’t wait to do this all again next year!

 Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and I hope that everyone had a great summer!

 

 

July’s Firework Festivities and a Glorious Galaxy Gala at The Arc!

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“July’s Firework Festivities and a Glorious Galaxy Gala at The Arc!”

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

I used my communicator, (with the help of YouTube) to read the book, Fourth of July Mice! by Bethany Roberts and Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: Daniel’s First Fireworks by Becky Friedman. Being a part of my classroom named The Press Club, my fellow classmates and I read books to the other classrooms at The Arc. I love using my communicator to read audiobooks about the recent or upcoming holidays.

 On Monday, July 2nd, The Arc Participants celebrated America’s Independence Day by dressing in red, white, and blue clothing. We also made Fourth of July inspired arts and crafts, such as, Red, White, and Blue Lanterns Arts and Crafts. Liberty Crowns, American Flag Wind Socks, Patriotic Cookies, and Fourth of July Sunglasses.

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

On Wednesday, July 4th, my mom and I ate pizza and watched the forty-second Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular on the Macy’s Stores website (https://www.macys.com/social/fireworks.) I loved watching all the colors of the fireworks that burst into life on the screen.

 On Friday, July 13th, some of The Arc Staff Members and other Participants and I had a “Stellar Space Jam!” dance, where we wore our favorite alien shirts and extra-terrestrial masks to celebrate The Arc’s space and night skies themed week and the twenty-second anniversary release of the Warner Brothers’ Space Jam live-action/animated sports comedy film starring basketball player Michael Jordan. I wore some alien antennas that I made from purple pipe cleaners that had one paper eye and two planets attached to them.  My classmate and I named the dance and chose the space and sky-themed songs for everyone to dance to.

 During the week, I used my communicator, (with the help of YouTube) to read the book, The Magic School Bus: Lost in the Solar System by Joanna Cole. I have always loved The Magic School Bus book and the original television series. In the second grade, I even wished that Ms. Frizzle was real, so that she could be my teacher.

 The other Participants and I learned that Space Jam opened at the number one position in the United States and grossed over $230 million worldwide, becoming the highest-grossing basketball film of all-time. The film received mixed reviews from critics, who were divided on the merits of combining Jordan and his profession with the Looney Tunes characters. Michael Jordan has always been one of my favorite basketball players because he is from North Carolina, just like I am.

I even named my dog after Michael Jordan because of her ability to jump extremely high. Also, I actually got to meet him when I was a very little girl (recuperating from surgery) at the children’s hospital, when he was in college at the University of North Carolina.

 So, that was the jubilant month of July for the other Participants and me. I’ll be back next time with the highlights of the amazing month of August and the highlights of The Arc’s Life Enrichment Program’s Fifteenth Annual Summer Talent Show on Friday, August 24th in The Arc’s Gym. I am The Arc’s organizer of the Talent Show.

 Thank you for taking the time to read my blog I hope that you and family had an Incredible Independence Day and a joyous end of the month of July!          

Stupendous Summer Decorations and Celebrations!

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“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!

by jbragg | No Comments

“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!

by jbragg | No Comments

“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.

 


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