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Having a Marvelous Mardi Gras While Looking for Leprechauns and Finding Birthday Wishes!

by jbragg | No Comments

“Having a Marvelous Mardi Gras While Looking for Leprechauns 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 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, my birthday!

On Monday, March 4th, the other Arc Participants and I and the Staff Members celebrated what would have been the 115th 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, and One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish. Since I was a little girl, my favorite Dr. Seuss book is, Horton Hears a Who! This book teaches the lesson that “a person is a person no matter how small.” Also, as a writer, I looked up to Dr. Seuss. His books are continuing to educate children into the future.

On Tuesday, March 5th, we wore gold, purple, and green necklaces to celebrate this year’s Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans, Louisiana. Also, the other Participants and I made colorful masks, crowns and tambourine arts and crafts. I wore my brand-new Mardi Gras colored hair bow to celebrate the occasion. We had a grand time having their own Mardi Gras festivities. (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 it is one of the best Disney’s animated movies of all time!

For National Irish American Heritage Month, we had a Saint Patrick’s Day celebration and a start of the season of spring dance on Friday, March 15th, 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 11th to Friday, March 15th, 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, Fiona’s Luck by Teresa Bateman, (in this book, the greedy Leprechaun King has locked away all the luck in Ireland and the whole country has fallen into despair. Through clever charades, Fiona outwits the Leprechaun King and restores luck to the land.) That’s What Leprechauns Do by Eve Bunting and How to Trap a Leprechaun by Sue Fliess to my fellow Participants.

I wore my “Pot ‘o Gold” Saint Patrick’s Day shirt, my shamrock shaped antennas that swung 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,) 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.

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

The Arc and I would like to let everyone know that “The Arc Fiesta 2019” Medals are being sold now for our annual Fund Raiser. This year, “The Arc Fiesta 2019” Medals were designed by Arc Staff Member, Elizabeth T.

Each Medal is available in The Arc’s Main Office at both locations. You can also visit: https://www.arc-sa.org/2019fiestamedals/ to order. The medals are $5.00 each.

If you would like to purchase an Arc 2019 Fiesta Medal, please feel free to contact Ms. Mary Alice M. (The Arc’s Receptionist / Administrative Assistant at the West Avenue Location) by telephone at: (210) 490-4300, extension 100 or e-mail at: mmartinez@arc-sa.org and Ms. Rose S. (The Arc’s Receptionist / Administrative Assistant at the Wurzbach Road Location) by telephone at: (210) 490-4300, extension 200 by e-mail at: rsalinas@arc-sa.org

All proceeds will go towards The Arc’s Fund Raiser. I love The Arc’s 2019 Fiesta Medal! I can’t wait for Fiesta!

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

I’ll see you then!

Good Luck turns into Fantastically Festive Feats in February!

by jbragg | No Comments

“Good Luck turns into Fantastically Festive Feats in February!”

Hi, everybody! I hope that you are had 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.

On Friday, February 1st, The Arc Staff Members, the other Arc Participants andI wore our favorite NFL jerseys to celebrate Super Bowl LIII. I wore my “I bleed black, blue, and silver! Go Carolina!” T-shirt. I read the books, The Berenstain Bears Play Football! by Stan and Jan Berenstain and Dino-Football by Lisa Wheeler.

Also, on Friday, February 1st, some of The Arc Participants celebrated the upcoming Groundhog Day by learning about the history of Punxsutawney Phil Groundhog from Pennsylvania and making Punxsutawney Phil Arts and Crafts. I read the books, Go to Sleep, Groundhog! Punxsutawney Phyllis by Susanna Leonard Hill. This book tells the story of Phyllis Groundhog. Unlike the other groundhogs, Phyllis likes to play in the cold river in spring, bake in the hot sun in the summer, and play in the snow in winter. This year spring is coming early, and Phyllis can feel it. But she can’t convince her Uncle Phil to get out of bed to make his prediction on Groundhog Day. I think that this book is a great girl power story as well.

On Tuesday, February 5th, some of the other Arc Participants and I celebrated the fact that the year of 2019 is The Year of the Pig in the Chinese zodiac. I could not wait to celebrate the Chinese New Year of the Pig, because that is the year that I was born into. I read the books, Ten Mice for Tet by Pegi Deitz Shea and Cynthia Weill, Ruby’s Chinese New Year by Vickie Lee, Runaway Wok by Ying Chang Compestine and a book about one of my favorite Disney Princesses in Mulan’s Lunar New Year by Natasha Yim. We made Chinese lanterns, Chinese New Year Pig Good Luck Charms and other arts and crafts to celebrate the start of the Chinese New Year that started on Tuesday, February 5th.

The Pig is the twelfth of all zodiac animals. According to one myth, the Jade Emperor said the order would be decided by the order in which they arrived at his party. Pig was late because he overslept. Another story says that a wolf destroyed his house. He had to rebuild his home before he could set off. When he arrived, he was the last one and could only take twelfth place. In Chinese culture, pigs are the symbol of wealth. Their chubby faces and big ears are signs of fortune as well. We had a great time celebrating the Year of the Pig.

On Friday, February 8th, 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, The Three Little Javelinas and Cindy Ellen, A Wild Western Cinderella by Susan Lowell to my fellow Participants.

I love the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo! The rodeo is definitely my favorite part of the month of February. Every year, my mom and I go to the rodeo fair grounds to enjoy the beautiful lights on the rides and the food. My favorite foods at the rodeo are the hot dogs and the funnel cakes. This year, a generous rodeo employee gave me a stuffed animal of my favorite My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic character named Pinkie Pie. My mom and I had a wondrous evening at the rodeo.

On Thursday, February 14th, we had our annual Valentine’s Day dance, where some of the Participants wore red and pink clothing. clothing. I wore my Valentine’s Day candy shaped light up 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 and decorated my wheelchair with red Valentines Day ec. Arc Participants, Diana and Joey D. were chosen to be this year’s Valentine’s Day Dance King and Queen of Hearts.

I want to give a special acknowledgement to The Arc Staff Member, Diana L. (A Life Enrichment Instructor) for making such wonderful and beautiful sashes for the King and Queen of Hearts. Also, special thanks goes to the Press Club Participants, who helped to decorate The Arc’s Gym and Mrs. Berni K. (Associate Director of Curriculum) for helping with getting decoration supplies and helping to ensure that the dance was a fun success.

I used my communicator, (with the help of YouTube) to read the books, I Love You Too by Ziggy Marley, The Night Before Valentine’s Day by Natasha Wing and Pinkalicious: Pink of Hearts by Victoria Kann to my fellow Arc Participants.

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 fabulous February like I had. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog.

January Jubilees, Winnie the Pooh and Tigger, too!

by jbragg | No Comments

“January Jubilees, Winnie the Pooh and Tigger, too!”

 Happy New Year, 2019, 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” new purple star tiara and 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 annual Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve TV special. 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 Thursday, January 3rd, some of the other Arc Participants and I also made New Year’s Arts and Crafts such as, 2019 Party Hats and Noise Makers. Also, I used my communicator, (with the help of YouTube) to read the books, Shanté Keys and the New Year’s Peas by Gail Piernas-Davenport and Squirrel’s New Year’s Resolution by Pat Miller to my fellow Participants. I’m truly a bookworm and I am so thankful for my purple communication device because allows me to read even more books to my fellow Participants as part of my Arc Press Club duties.

On Tuesday January 22nd, the other Participants and I learned about the life and legacy late Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We watched the video, Our Friend, Martin.

It is a 1999 animated children’s educational film about the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the American civil rights movement. Two friends travel through time, meeting Dr. King at several points during his life. It featured an all-star voice cast and was nominated for an Emmy award in 1999 for Outstanding Animated Program (For Programming More Than One Hour). Also, the Participants decorated a bulletin board dedicated to the Reverend’s “I have a Dream” speech with their ideas of what the word “peace” means to us. The word “peace” means to me that someone accepts another person no matter of what they look, sound like or whatever they believe in. My hope for the future is that the people of the world will make Dr. King’s dream into a reality no matter of the shortsightedness believes of our world leaders. I used my communicator, (with the help of YouTube) to read the books, Love Will See You Through: Martin Luther King Jr.’s Six Guiding Beliefs (as told by his niece) by Angela Farris Watkins, and I am Martin Luther King, Jr. (Ordinary People Change the World) by Brad Meltzer.

The other Arc Participants and I celebrated “Winnie the Pooh” Day (January 18th) on Friday, January 18th and the birth of one of the most famous children’s writers 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. I wore my new purple Pooh and Tigger shirt, which I received as a Christmas gift. I have always loved Winnie the Pooh and Tigger from the time that I was a little girl. I remember being very small, waking up on Saturday morning, eating Chocolate Rice Krispies and watching The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh TV show. I even had a plush Tigger toy when I was a baby. I read the books, Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day, (which includes the first meeting of Tigger and Pooh) Pooh’s Honey Adventure and Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Patch by the Disney Book Group. I loved picking up out these books to share my love of Winnie the Pooh and Tigger with everyone at The Arc.

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 in 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.

To celebrate the 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 an African-American 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 other Participants and I also learned about the 2018 American fantasy comedy-drama film named Christopher Robin directed by Marc Forster and written by Alex Ross Perry, Tom McCarthy, and Allison Schroeder. In the film, Christopher Robin is leaving for boarding school, so his friends from the Hundred Acre Wood – Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, Eeyore, Kanga, Roo, Owl, and Rabbit – throw a goodbye party. Christopher comforts Pooh and tells him that he will never forget him. Christopher goes to boarding school, after which he grows up, meets and marries architect Evelyn, with whom he has daughter Madeline. He serves in the British Army during World War II. After the war, he works as an efficiency expert at Winslow Luggages. When Pooh awakens and is unable to find his friends, he decides to travel through Christopher’s door and finds himself in London. He reunites with Christopher, who is shocked to see Pooh, but takes him back to his London home.

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

“Season’s Greetings with Santa!”

 Hi, it’s me, Tameka.  This is my favorite time of the year to attend The Arc! I love all of the Classroom holiday activities and celebrations. I love making all of the certificates that will be awarded to The Arc’s classrooms during the holiday decoration contests. I read my favorite holiday books to my fellow Arc Participants with my communication device, Secret Santa by Margaret McNamara, The Biggest Christmas Tree Ever by Steven Kroll, Santa’s New Suit by Laura Rader and 12 Little Elves Visit Texas by Jess Smart Smiley.

On Friday, November 30th, we had a Holiday Classroom Gingerbread Creations Contest.

The First Place Certificate for the most Scrumptiously Smart and Deliciously Delightful gingerbread creation was awarded to Classroom 10 (The Arc’s V.I.P. Participants.)

Their decoration theme was, “Extreme Makeover: Gingerbread Holiday Edition.”

The Second Place Certificate for the most Majestically Merry and Magical and Spellbindingly Seasonal was awarded to Leap Classroom 1. Their decoration theme was, “The Red Roof Gingerbread Inn.” The Third Place Certificate for the most  Fantastically Funny and Amazingly Amusing awarded to Leap Classroom 2. Their decoration theme was, “Snoopy’s Sleepy Snowy Christmas.”    The Honorable Mention Certificate for the most Jovially Jolly or Creatively Cheerful was awarded to Leap Classroom 3. Their decoration theme was, The Candy Cottage in the Woods.”

Our gingerbread creation theme was, The Sights and Delights of the Holiday Season.” I read the books, Gingerbread Pirates by Kristin Kladstrup and The Gingerbread Girl by Lisa Campbell Ernst.

Special thanks goes to the Upstairs Arc Staff Members, Tina C., (Family Support Services Coordinator)  Lauren S. (CSCM Case Manager) and Lucy O. (CSCM Case Manager) for being such sensational Holiday Classroom Gingerbread Creations Judges for 2018.                

All of The Arc other Participants, myself and the Staff Members worked really hard and were very proud of their Holiday Gingerbread Creations. 

 On Thursday, December 13th, we had a Holiday Classroom Door Decorating Contest.  The First Place Certificate was awarded to Classroom 5. Their classroom door decoration theme was “Where is Charlie Brown?”  The Second Place Certificate was awarded to Classroom 12. Their class door decoration theme was “Santa’s Reindeer Barn.”  The Third Place Certificate was awarded to Classroom 10 (The Arc’s V.I.P. Participants.) Their class door decoration theme was “Let it Snow. The Honorable Mention Certificate was awarded to Classroom 1. Their class door decoration theme was “Oh, Starry Christmas Tree.”

Our classroom (The Arc’s Press Club) theme was “Merry Grinchmas.” Our classroom door was covered with a giant picture of the Dr. Suess’ character, the Grinch’s  face with a Santa hat and a gift tag, saying, “From the original Grinch. Jim Carey and Bennedict Cummerbatch are not needed!” Our door decoration and the gift tag was my idea. I feel like the newer movies of Dr. Suess’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (starring Jim Carey in 2000 and Bennedict Cummerbatch in 2018) are unnecessary.

Special thanks goes to Arc Staff Members, Allison C., (Director of Community Services Case Management) Lauren S., (Community Services Case Manager) and Tina C. (Family Support Services Coordinator) for being such amazing Classroom Holiday Door judges.

 All of The Arc other Participants, myself and the Staff Members worked really hard and were very proud of their Holiday Door Decorations.

On Friday, December 14th, The Arc of San Antonio and the USAA Insurance Company had a holiday party where each Participant received their gift from an USAA employee. This year, I ask for the 2017 Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 DVD.  In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, the Guardians travel throughout the cosmos as they help Peter Quill learn more about his mysterious parentage.

I wore my reindeer antlers that are wrapped up with Christmas bells, my mom painted my nails green with multi-colored glitter so that they would look like Christmas trees, and I wore my 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.

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.

To finish out the month, on Wednesday, 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 loved choosing the holiday music for the dance especially from the Everyone had a gleeful day wearing their holiday apparel.

 I want to thank everyone who has read my blog all year long. I truly appreciate every one of you. You have to shared in my triumphs and I am so happy that you were with me on my journey throughout the year at The Arc. San Antonio’s three-hundredth anniversary year turned out to be great!

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

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog.

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

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to everyone and I’ll see you in 2019!

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

by jbragg | No Comments

“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!

by jbragg | No Comments

“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!


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