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Astonishing April Arc Activities and Fantastic Fiesta Memories! An ‘Egg-cellent’ Easter While Being Safe at Home with Family and going on Mystical Adventures with Queen Poppy!

by jbragg | No Comments

“Astonishing April Arc Activities and Fantastic Fiesta Memories! An ‘Egg-cellent’ Easter While Being Safe at Home with Family and going on Mystical Adventures with Queen Poppy!”

I want to start this month’s blog by saying I hope that everyone is safe at home with their family members and guardians during this tiresome moment in time. I like to say thank you to Ms. Brooke K., the Chief Mission Officer at Morgan’s Wonderland and former Director of Community Services Case Management and Ms. Linda G., a Life Enrichment Instructor at The Arc. They gave me the courage to continue to write the in-house newsletter and this blog. Sometimes, during the saddest times of life, a person can lose their belief in their self. But all it takes is a friendly and loving reminder of who you are to help guide you out of the darkness of your thoughts and back towards the light that is inside your heart.

It has been a month since I have seen my fellow Participants or as I call them “my Arc brothers and sisters” and Staff Members at our second home, but I have been staying in contact with them through e-mails and FaceTime sessions.

During this time at home, I have been listening to audiobooks on the iTunes Store, (a software-based online digital media store operated by the Apple Incorporated in the Caster Chronicles book series by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. Beautiful Creatures (2009,) Beautiful Darkness (2010,) Beautiful Chaos (2011) and Beautiful Redemption (2012.) The series follows Ethan Wate, a 16-year-old boy that dreams of leaving his small South Carolina town for something larger. At the start of the series he falls in love with Lena Duchannes, a new girl that is part of a secret section of humanity called Casters, people who are capable of working magic. They find that there are several obstacles to their love, most notably the social and cultural differences between their two societies and the fact that Ethan is incapable of touching Lena for extended periods of time without suffering a severe electric shock. Throughout the series Lena is troubled by the fact that she must claim herself as either a “Light” or “Dark” Caster on her sixteenth birthday and in the first novel she manages to perform a spell that prevents her from having to make this choice.

I also listened to the Walt Disney Press book series named, The Villains Series by Serena Valentino. These stories (that have to be read in order) are written from the point of view of the Disney’s animated film villains and villainesses. The first book in the series is: The Fairest of All: A Tale of the Wicked Queen, which was based on the Evil Queen from Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The second novel, The Beast Within: A Tale of Beauty’s Prince, based on the character of Beast from Beauty and the Beast. This was followed by the d. This third book in the series, Poor Unfortunate Soul: A Tale of the Sea Witch, which is based on Ursula the Sea Witch, the villainess from The Little Mermaid. The fourth novel, Mistress of All Evil: A Tale of the Dark Fairy, written from the point of view of Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty. The fifth novel, Mother Knows Best: A Tale of the Old Witch, written from the point of view of Mother Gothel, the villainess from the movie named Tangled. The sixth book is named, The Odd Sisters: A Villains Novel. The seventh book, Evil Thing: A Tale of that De Vil Women, written from the point of view of Cruella De Vil. The villainess from the movie named 101 Dalmatians is scheduled to be release on Tuesday, July 7th, 2020. Ms. Serena Valentino is currently at work on her eighth and ninth books in the Villains series. I highly recommend these books to anyone who loves magical stories and anything doing what the Disney characters.

This book series reminded me of one of my favorite television show named, Once Upon a Time which is also made by Disney. Once Upon a Time is an American fantasy adventure drama television series that aired on ABC from October 23rd, 2011 to May 18th, 2018. The first six seasons are largely set in the fictitious seaside town of Storybrooke, Maine, with the characters of Emma Swan and Regina Mills as the leads, while the seventh and final season takes place in Seattle, Washington, in the fictitious neighborhood of Hyperion Heights, with a new main narrative led by Henry Mills and Regina. The show borrows elements and characters from Disney and popular Western literature, folklore, Greek mythology, and fairy tales. I have always love to read from the time that I was a little girl. In spite of my Cerebral Palsy, through the reading of books, I could swim with mermaids and fly dragons. One of my favorite quotes from one of my entertainment industry heroes, Walt Disney sums up my love of books: “There is more treasure in books than in all of the pirates’ loot on Treasure Island and best of all, you can enjoy these riches every day of your life.”

On Saturday, April 11th, I had a watch party for the sequel of the DreamWorks and Universal Pictures’ 2016 computer-animated film Trolls named Trolls World Tour during a FaceTime session with my uncle and new aunt. Trolls World Tour was released in the United States in limited theaters on April 10th. Due to the 2020 COVID-19 Pandemic in the United States, the film was also released for digital rental on the same day. It set several streaming records, including becoming Universal Pictures’ most successful day-one rental.

In the movie, Queen Poppy (played by Anna Kendrick), still adjusting to her new role as queen, receives a message from Barb (played by Rachel Bloom) that invites all Trolls to a party to unite their music. Her father, King Peppy (played by Walt Dohrn; also a co-director) tells the story of how the Troll tribes became scattered throughout their world Troll Kingdom. The six primary tribes each represented by a different style of music: Pop, Funk, Classical, Techno, Country, and Rock. The music is powered by a magical string kept by the leader of each tribe. Having separated their tribes following discord and disagreement over which style of music was the best, Poppy wants to help Barb unite the different forms of music, but both her father and Branch (played by Justin Timberlake; my favorite member of the boy band, N*SYNC) warn her not to trust Queen Barb’s intentions and to accept that the other Trolls are different. Poppy refuses to listen, sending a cheerful reply to Barb via Debbie, Barb’s pet bat. Unfortunately, Barb’s plan is to actually unite all the trolls under her music… rock.

Even since 2016, I fell in love with the movie Trolls. I love the humor and music in the first movie. My uncle and aunt were going to take me to see Trolls World Tour for my birthday gift. When the Stay at Home / Work Safe order came into effect, I came up with the idea of having a watch party with my uncle and aunt. We started the movie at the same time on my laptop computer and their television.

Because of the Stay at Home, Work Safe orders issued by Mayor Ron Nirenberg and Judge Nelson Wolff in effect in San Antonio, the Participants are safe at home with their families and guardians. Mr. Michael B. (The Arc’s President and C.E.O.) said, “I hope this message finds you and your family safe and sound at this point in our battle against COVID–19. Here at The Arc of San Antonio, we miss the sound of our Participants, families, and team… our locations at West Avenue and Wurzbach Road are eerily quiet. We are looking forward to their return. Our team is healthy and focused on embracing the changes this situation brings to our mission, including going virtual. Please check out our website at:
www.arc-sa.org/covid-19response and social media channels for recommended activities for home use, the latest safety information, and referrals to a plethora of other organizations with online tailored materials for those we serve and their caregivers. We will continue to update this over the next few weeks as resources become available. We are working on a web page to update individuals and families on the latest safety information, in-house developed and other resources/recommended activities for home use, and referrals to a plethora of other organizations with online tailored materials for special needs individuals and caregivers.”

The Arc parents / guardians e-mailed in pictures of their Arc Participant(s) enjoying working on the activities such as: cooking, baking, gardening, reading, exercising and going on virtual museum tours and more to Ms. Sarah K. (Development and Communications Coordinator) at: skazen@arc-sa.org to be will shared on The Arc’s social media channels, so the Participants can see what each others are doing during this time apart.

With help from Ms. Sarah K., I collected pictures of The Arc Participants at home engaging in the activities featured on The Arc @ Home webpage for the April 2020 edition of the in-house newsletter. It was so great to see my friends in the pictures and it eased my mind from worrying about them.

My mother bought a special Sailor Moon version of the board game, Monopoly as one of my birthday gifts. Sailor Moon is my favorite Japanese superheroine of all time! We have been playing this game almost every day.

Sailor Moon is a fictional superheroine who is also the protagonist and titular character in the Sailor Moon manga (pronounced: mung-ga) Japanese comic book series written by Naoko Takeuchi. She is introduced in chapter # 1, “Usagi – Sailor Moon”, originally published in Japan’s Nakayoshi manga on December 28th, 1992, as a carefree schoolgirl who can transform into Sailor Moon, the de facto leader of the Sailor Guardians (a group of superheroines that are sworn to protect Earth that each individual has a planetary name and power, as Sailor Mars, etc.) She is initially believed to be an Earthling, but is later revealed to be the reincarnated princess of the moon kingdom named the Silver Millennium. She later discovers her original birth name, Princess Serenity. In the Sailor Moon manga and anime (Japanese animation) series, Usagi meets Luna, a talking black cat with a crescent shaped moon birth mark on her forehead (the golden crescent moon, was worn by all of the people in the Moon Kingdom’s royal family or associates) who is a devoted servant to Princess Serenity and advisor to her mother in her previous life, Queen Serenity. When the moon kingdom falls, she and another white cat advisor named Artemis are put into a long sleep and sent down to Earth to look after the Sailor Guardians, who are to be reborn there.

Part of Luna’s memory becomes suppressed, so that she must find the Sailor Guardians. She first encounters Usagi Tsukino and teaches her to become Sailor Moon, unaware that it is actually the reincarnated Princess Serenity. Luna also provides the Guardians with many of their special items, such as transformation wands. Luna discovers that Usagi is destined to save Earth from the forces of evil and gives her a brooch to transform into Sailor Moon, and asks her to form the Sailor Guardians, find their princess and protect the Legendary Silver Crystal. The Silver Crystal possesses tremendous power, capable of reviving an entire world from ruin, but the strain of using such power often costs the user her life – as the power actually derives from the life force of the Moon Dynasty, the members of which alone can actually use it. As Usagi matures, she becomes one of the universe’s powerful warriors and protects her adopted home planet, Earth, from villains who wish to harm it. Usagi is depicted as carefree and cheerful when at ease but quickly serious and strategic-minded when fighting.

Even though the Participants can’t be together at The Arc, they are still learning growing and being part of the community in virtual ways.
On Easter Sunday, I wore my rainbow-colored Easter Bunny ears and light blue Arc T-shirt to post my picture on my Facebook page. I hope that the picture would bring happiness into people’s lives during this time in the world. Also, my mom and I watched the Easter TV special, It’s the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown! by Charles M. Schultz. Being a big Peanuts comic strip fan, this is my favorite Easter TV special to watch. While most of the Peanuts gang is busy getting ready for Easter, Linus futilely tries to convince them that it’s all a waste of time, and that the “Easter Beagle” will take care of everything. Only Charlie Brown’s sister, Sally, believes him, although she remains skeptical after their Great Pumpkin misadventure on Halloween.

Peppermint Patty and Marcie attempt to color Easter eggs, but as it is Marcie’s first time, she does not know how. Their first attempt fails as Marcie fries the eggs on a griddle. The second attempt fails when she tries cooking more eggs on a waffle iron (for 4 of the eggs), then in a toaster (for 1 of them), and baking the rest of them (the same egg she tries toasting and the remaining 7) in the oven. In the third and final attempt, Peppermint Patty spends the last of her money on another carton of eggs, and in so doing explains to Marcie that the eggs are to be boiled, but instead of putting them in shells-and-all, Marcie puts the eggs into the pot of water (without the shells) resulting in egg soup. At the end of that attempt, Peppermint Patty is out of money and she and Marcie end up with no colored eggs (and cannot make any more attempts).

Woodstock wakes up shivering in his nest after a cold spring rain. He goes for help to Snoopy, who buys him a birdhouse. At first Woodstock hates it, but soon makes it over into a bachelor pad, complete with television, contemporary artwork, a sunken bed, modern furniture, and a quadrophonic stereo system. Curious to see more of the inside, Snoopy gets his nose stuck in the entry hole and accidentally shatters the birdhouse, and so he buys Woodstock another house.

Much to Schroeder’s chagrin, Lucy believes that Easter is the “gift-getting season,” so she decides to have her own private Easter egg hunt, painting and then hiding the eggs herself to find them on Easter morning. But unbeknownst to her, Snoopy follows close behind and snatches up each one of the eggs. Easter morning arrives, and so does the Easter Beagle, tossing eggs to everyone including Woodstock in his new birdhouse, to Lucy (whose hand Snoopy furtively shakes,) and even Peppermint Patty and Marcie. But by the time he gets to Charlie Brown, Snoopy has run out of eggs, and he gives Charlie Brown an embarrassed smile.

Peppermint Patty instructs Marcie to put salt on her egg and eat it (after telling Marcie that you eat the eggs after you have received them), which she does without removing the shell. After the Easter Beagle’s visit, Sally becomes a believer, but Lucy quickly realizes that the Easter Beagle gave her one of her own eggs; she is still brooding about it ten weeks later, and Linus suggests that she go and talk about it with Snoopy. She visits Snoopy’s doghouse to pick a fight, but Snoopy takes the fight out of her with a disarming kiss on the cheek.

On Friday, April 24th, Saturday, April 25th and Sunday, April 26th, my mom and I watched the Fiesta Flambeau, The Texas Cavaliers River Parade and the Battle of Flowers Parade on the San Antonio television channel KSAT 12. I remember that last year, the other Arc Participants and I and Staff Members decided that on Friday, April 26th, 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 2019 new Fiesta Medals (that I got from The Arc, McDonald’s, University Hospital and H-E-B) and my Fiesta mini purple bejeweled (by my mom) sombrero headband. I have seven Arc Fiesta medals so far, and I hope to collect more in the future.

So that was my month of April at home. My thanks, thoughts and prayers go to the first responders and virus victims and survivors around the world. I hope that everyone that reads Blog, remember to wash their hands, wear masks whenever you are outside and stay inside whenever you can. Please remember that even though we are separated, we are not alone. We are a big, bright and beautiful world and one day, we will shine once again.

One day, we will triumph over these heartbreaks and calamities and come back together as one world again in celebration. I wish for a rapid recovery and safety for everyone and remember that fear cannot be trusted, but love can be always trusted.

I will see you in my next Blog!

– Tameka 

Having a Marvelous Mardi Gras While Learning about Leprechauns and Finding the Magic in the World of Books!

by jbragg | No Comments

I dedicate this month’s Blog to the loving memory of Selena Quintanilla-Pérez also known simply as Selena (April 16th, 1971 ~
March 31st, 1995.) Selena was a Mexican-American singer, songwriter, spokesperson, model, actress, and fashion designer.
I have always had felt a strong connection to Selena. I look up to Selena’s wisdom, kindness and passion for life and music.
Selena’s beauty in mind and spirit and musical talent, it is easy to see why she earned the
moniker of “The Queen of Tejano Music.”

“Having a Marvelous Mardi Gras While Learning about Leprechauns and Finding the Magic in the World of Books!”
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. Before I start this month’s Blog, I would like to thank everyone for taking the time to read my Blog during this terrible time in our society. I have all of you in my thoughts and prayers. I hope that you and your family members and love ones are safe and healthy during this terrible pandemic. The Arc would like to thank the Enterprise Holdings Company for their donation of $7,000 for the Adult Life Enrichment Program on Tuesday, March 10th.

On Tuesday, February 25th, we wore gold, purple, and green necklaces to celebrate this year’s Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans, Louisiana, also on Tuesday, February 25th.
The other Participants and I learned that the Mardi Gras is French for “Fat Tuesday,” referring to the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season, which begins on Ash Wednesday. Festivities begin at the beginning of February, leading up to Mardi Gras day, and consist of parades, dancing in the street, costumes and masked balls. The modern Carnival tradition developed in Europe in the middle ages, and is celebrated mainly in Roman Catholic communities in Europe, North and South America, today. Some of the most famous celebrations are held in Nice, France, Cologne, Germany, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Mardi Gras has always been one of my favorite holidays, mainly because you get to wear the color purple (With the help of YouTube) 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!

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 2nd, the other Arc Participants and I and the Staff Members celebrated what would have been the 116th 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.

The other Participants and I learned that the NEA’s Read Across America is an annual reading motivation and awareness program that calls for every child in every community to celebrate reading on March 2nd, the birthday of beloved children’s author Dr. Seuss. The National Education Association is excited to bring you Read Across America year-round to help you motivate kids to read, bring the joys of reading to students of all ages, and make all children feel valued and welcome.https://www.readacrossamerica.org

Since I was a little girl, my favorite Dr. Seuss book has always been Horton Hears a Who! This book teaches the lesson that “a person is a person no matter how small.” Also, as a writer, I look up to Dr. Seuss. His books are continuing to educate children into the future.
Since I was a little girl, my favorite Dr. Seuss book has always been Horton Hears a Who! This book teaches the lesson that “a person is a person no matter how small.” Also, as a writer, I look up to Dr. Seuss. His books are continuing to educate children into the future.

During the month of March, some of The Arc Classrooms decided to decorate their doors for the upcoming Saint Patrick’s Day holiday. The Arc Participants and Staff Members had a magical month putting up dazzling decorations. My Staff Members and I came up with the idea of our classroom door theme, “Press Club is Shamrockin’ into Spring.” My classroom is named “The Press Club” (we’re responsible for making the informational flyers that are passed out and sent home with the Participants. Updating the bulletin boards around The Arc. Also, keeping the other classrooms informed about the activities that go on during the week.)

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 6th, 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.

For the upcoming Saint Patrick’s Day holiday, I use my communication device to read, (with the help of YouTube) 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.) Jack and the Leprechaun by
Ivan Robertson and Pete the Cat: The Great Leprechaun Chase by James Dean to my fellow Participants.

I wore my new “Irish Unicorn” (featuring a green unicorn) Saint Patrick’s Day shirt, (I love this shirt! I love unicorns and I love celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, so it’s the perfect shirt for me.) I also wore 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 shamrock garland and shamrock shaped lights with a pair of shamrock sunglasses.

I love celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day because it’s officially two weeks before my birthday!
So, that was the magical and mystical month of March for The Arc Participants.
Before I finish this month’s Blog, I would like to share a message with you from Mr. Michael Bennett, President and CEO of The Arc of San Antonio: “The Arc of San Antonio, Inc., is continuously monitoring the evolving situation regarding the Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19.) Since 1954, we’ve always been committed to the safety, health, and well-being of our program participants and clients, our staff and the special needs community at large. With that in mind, here’s a brief update on current operations:

Following the recommendations of the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District, Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC,) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC,) we closed the Adult Life Enrichment (ALE) day program at our campuses on West Avenue and the Pam Stephens Center on Wurzbach Road effective close of business on Tuesday, March 17th. In addition, we are monitoring San Antonio City, Bexar County and Texas State governmental announcements for guidance as well.

Our Community Living and Support Services (CLASS,) Community Services Case Management (CSCM,) and Family Support Services (FSS) continue to serve their clients in whatever manner is most appropriate. Our leadership team is onsite at our main offices; however, our two locations are closed to the public at this time.

We are working on a web page to update individuals and families on the latest safety information, in-house developed and other resources/recommended activities for home use, and referrals to a plethora of other organizations with online tailored materials for special needs individuals and caregivers. (https://www.arc-sa.org/covid-19response/)  To support us during these challenging times, you can make a gift at https://www.arc-sa.org/donatetoday If you donate through your employer and use the Benevity platform, Benevity is currently matching up to $300,000 in gifts.

Know also that The Arc of the United States, our federated headquarters in Washington, D.C., is actively advocating in Congress for legislation to assist our families during these uncertain times. Everyone should take the opportunity to contact their elected representatives at the local, state and federal level and explain how this pandemic is affecting your lives and ability to care for your family members.
The Arc will continue to deliver quality services. Agency-wide goals and individual family/client goals are our first priority. Keep in mind that when we reopen our day program, we have openings for additional Participants to join; spread the word to others you know who may be interested.

Please feel free to contact The Arc of San Antonio at (210) 490-4300 between 8:30 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. (Monday through Friday) with any additional questions or concerns.
“Thank you and please remember the basics: wash your hands, cover your cough, and clean common areas. We want to see everyone back as soon as it’s safe, so please do your part! Sincerely, Mike Bennett, MPA. President and CEO of The Arc of San Antonio.”

For my birthday wishes this year, I wish for good health, safety and happiness to help the world get through this dark and extremely frightful time in our history. I know that the world is in a vast storm of fear and uncertainty. But I want everyone to remember that after every storm, there is a beautiful rainbow; a symbol of love, peace and security. My birthday wishes are that everyone in the world receives a rainbow in their life, after this horrendous storm. Even though I can’t celebrate my birthday with my friends and Staff Members, this year, I am very glad to celebrate with everyone that reads my monthly Blog.
I wish for a rapid recovery and safety for everyone and remember that fear cannot be trusted, but love can be always trusted.

And, I will see you in my next Blog!

Phenomenal February Festivities and Flourishing New Friendships

by jbragg | No Comments

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. 

The Arc would like to thank the Freeman Education Foundation for their donation of $6,849.67 on Wednesday, February 12th. Also, The Arc would like to thank The May and Stanley Smith Charitable for their donation of Trust $100,000 on Tuesday, February 18th for the Family Support Services Program and the Adult Life Enrichment Program.

On Friday, January 23rd, some of the other Arc Participants and I celebrated the fact that the year of 2020 is The Year of the Rat in the Chinese zodiac. I read the books, Ten Mice for Tet by Pegi Deitz Shea and Cynthia Weill, Ruby’s Chinese New Year by Vickie Lee, 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 Rat Good Luck Charms and other arts and crafts to celebrate the start of the Chinese New Year that started on Sunday, January 25th.

On Sunday, January 25th, my mom and I went to a local Tim’s Oriental & Seafood Market Store to watch a Chinese New Year Lion Dance. I had a chance to take a picture with a blue luck lion. It was amazing to watch the dance performance. There were dancers of all ages.  Ever since I was a little girl, I loved all kinds of mythologies, especially Chinese mythology. Reading and learning about mighty and wise dragons allowed my mind to soar to new heights and fall in love with writing fantasy stories. I even have a good luck dragon lantern hanging in my bedroom doorway. 

The Rat is the first 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. The Rat is the first of all zodiac animals. According to one myth, the Jade Emperor said the order would be decided by the order in which they arrived to his party. The Rat tricked the Ox into giving him a ride. Then, just as they arrived at the finish line, Rat jumped down and landed ahead of Ox, becoming first.

The zodiac sign of the rat represents qualities like intelligent, flexible and vigorous. People born in the Year of the Rat are also believed to be blessed with such qualities. In some Chinese Kung Fu novels, the rat was also personalized in characters with chivalrous spirits. There are also a lot of poems, proverbs, fairy tales themed around the animal, and it has been depicted by artists in traditional Chinese paintings and statues. We had a great time celebrating the Year of the Rat.

On Friday, January 31st, The Arc Staff Members, the other Arc Participants and I wore our favorite NFL jerseys to celebrate Super Bowl LIV. I got a great surprise! It was “Celebrate the Super Bowl” Day at The Arc and everyone was wearing their favorite NFL football team shirts or jerseys. I was wearing my “I bleed blue, black and silver” Carolina Panthers shirt for my home state. To my surprise, Mr. Michael B. (The Arc’s President and C.E.O.) was also wearing a Carolina Panthers T-shirt. We took a picture together as a Carolina Panther cheerleader and a lineman for the Panthers. Everyone and I had a fantastic football themed day! My favorite part of watching this year’s Super Bowl was watching two of favorite singers, Shakira and Jennifer Lopez’s performances.

Also, on Friday, January 31st, 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 by Judy Cox, 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.

In honor of the month of February being Black History Month, I read the book,

A Voice named Aretha by Katheryn Russell-Brown. A Voice named Aretha read-aloud for children is a nonfiction book about Aretha Franklin, her stunning voice and rise from the church choir to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.  It’s a great kids’ book for Black History Month, Women’s History Month, Music History, or anytime you want to read an inspiring true story about talent, intelligence and perseverance.

On Thursday, February 6th, 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.” I read the books, The Three Little Javelinas and Cindy Ellen, A Wild Western Cinderella by Susan Lowell to my fellow Participants. I wore my mini cowgirl hat and bought my stuffed animal character named Pinkie Pie of my favorite TV show named My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic that a generous rodeo employee gave me last year.

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. My mom and I had a wondrous evening at the rodeo.

On Friday, 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 hearts and decorated my wheelchair with red Valentine’s Day decorations. Arc Participants, Nick M. and Tanya D. were chosen to be this year’s Valentine’s Day Dance King and Queen of Hearts. Also, Arc Participants, Robert S. and Jennifer P. were chosen to be this year’s Valentine’s Day Dance Prince and Princess of Hearts. 

During the month of February, The Arc Classrooms decided to decorate their doors for the Valentine’s Day holiday. Our class door decoration was named, “Room 7 Loves You a Latté!” (featuring a giant Starbucks coffee cup.)

I want to give a special acknowledgment to The Arc Staff Members, Diana L. and Lucy Y. (Life Enrichment Instructors) for making such wonderful and beautiful sashes for the King and Queen and Prince and Princess of Hearts. Also, special thanks goes to the Press Club Participants, who helped to decorate The Arc’s Gym and Mrs. Melissa F., the Director of Adult Life Enrichment program for helping with getting decoration supplies and helping to ensure that the dance was a fun success.

On Wednesday, February 19th, I got a visit from Ms. Daisy Bee (the clown that came to entertain The Arc on Thursday, January 9th. It is so nice to have a friendship with her. Ms. Daisy Bee said that I have been a ray of sunshine in her life, but truthfully, I think that we have been rays of sunshine in each other lives. It’s great to make new friendships! 

 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.

 – Tameka

 

The Arc’s Jubilant January Surprises to Greet the New Year of 2020!

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“The Arc’s Jubilant January Surprises to Greet the New Year of 2020!”

Happy New Year, 2020, everyone and welcome to a new decade of fun! Hi, it’s me, Tameka. I hope that everyone had a nifty New Year’s Eve celebration!

Although the holiday season has passed, The Arc would like to thank those who made the holidays at both locations much brighter!  The Arc thanks Accenture, AstraZeneca, Ridout, Barrett and Co. PC, USAA, MassMutual South Texas, and Zachry Construction Corporation.

The Arc would also like to thank Mr. George and Ms. Barbara Williams for pledging a $10,000 gift for the Family Support Services Program on Wednesday, January 8th.

 My mom and I watched The Twilight Zone marathon on the Syfy Channel. This is my favorite New Year’s Eve tradition to share with my mom. I wore my “Happy New Year’s” purple star headband and purple feather boa and New Year glasses.

 My favorite episode is named, “A Most Unusual Camera.” The episode is about two thieves, husband and wife Chester (Fred Clark) and Paula Diedrich (Jean Carson), have just robbed a curio shop, and among the things they have stolen is a strange camera. Through accident, the pair discover that it produces self-developing photos of the future, about five minutes ahead. After Paula’s jail-escapee brother Woodward (Adam Williams) shows up, Chester uses the camera to take pictures of the blank winner’s board before races at the local racetrack and then use the camera’s “predictions” in making bets. The trio win $9,500 on the first race. They bet and win on five other races and leave with a considerable load of cash. 

Back at their hotel, a French waiter named Pierre (Marcel Hillaire) takes notice of their camera and its French inscription dix à la propriétaire, meaning ten to an owner. When the waiter exits, Paula, Chester and Woodward discuss the use of the camera’s last two pictures and fail to come to any agreement. While tugging over the camera, a picture of Paula—screaming and recoiling in horror—is accidentally taken. In further struggle, Chester and Woodward begin to fight, and they fall out of an open window to their deaths. Paula screams—as in the picture—but recovers immediately when she realizes that all the money and loot is now hers. 

She takes a picture (the last picture) of Chester and Woodward’s bodies in the courtyard below the window, and begins collecting the day’s winnings, planning to check out of the hotel. Before Paula can leave, Pierre returns and robs her, telling her that he knows about their crimes and will turn her in to the police if she calls them for help. He notes that her last picture shows “more than two” bodies in the courtyard. Panicked, Paula runs to look out the window, trips over a cord on the floor, and falls to her demise leaving only one of her high heels behind in the room.

Pierre then counts the corpses in the picture. “Yes, there are more than two bodies down there. Just like the picture shows. One, two, three … four?” In shock upon his realization, he falls out of the window as well, leaving only the camera lying on the floor in the now empty hotel suite.

The closing narration by the host, Rod Sterling is “Object known as a camera, vintage uncertain, origin unknown. But for the greedy, the avaricious, the fleet of foot, who can run a four-minute mile so long as they’re chasing a fast buck, it makes believe that it’s an ally, but it isn’t at all. It’s a beckoning come-on for a quick walk around the block— in The Twilight Zone.” This episode makes me laugh every time that I see it!

On Thursday, January 2nd, some of the other Arc Participants and I also made New Year’s Arts and

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 2nd, some of the other Arc Participants and I also made New Year’s Arts and Crafts such as, 2020 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 Thursday, January 9th, Arc Participant, Emily and her fellow Participants (and a group of Participants from the Wurzbach Road Arc location) were treated to a visit from a clown named Ms. Daisy Bee and a magician named Mr. Alberto (from Daisy Bee and Friends; an entertainment group for parties and occasions) to celebrate Emily’s upcoming birthday. I really enjoyed the performances by Ms. Daisy Bee and Mr. Alberto. I even got to interview Ms. Daisy Bee for the January 2020 (114th) edition of The Arc’s monthly in-house newsletter.                                                                                                                                      

Ms. Daisy Bee said, “Mr. Alberto and I have been performing together for over fifteen years. My specialty is entertaining the young and the young at heart. I would love to be of service to you for your special occasion. Please call me on availability for your next event. I have been entertaining professionally for twenty–seven years and Alberto has been doing magic tricks since he was in middle school.” In three performances, Ms. Daisy Bee made a balloon animal or creation, such as a helicopter for each Participant, while telling jokes and funny stories. Afterwards, Mr. Alberto, the magician, performed magnificent magic tricks. The best part of Ms. Daisy Bee’s act, was when Ms. Daisy Bee made me a red heart flower balloon creation. Mr. Alberto even asked some of The Arc Participants to be his assistant during the tricks. I liked Mr. Alberto’s magic tricks, even though 

I knew how some of them were preformed. I honestly recommend Ms. Daisy Bee and Friends for your next occasion.

If you would like to have Ms. Daisy Bee and Friends to perform at your next occasion, here is her contact information: 

Daisy Bee and Friends

Phone: (210) 410-5205

Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/DaisyBeeandFriends

 The other Participants and I and Staff Members are greatly thankful to Ms. Daisy Bee and Mr. Alberto for coming to The Arc and helping Emily and her friends celebrate her birthday with laughter and magic.

My special thanks goes to Arc Staff Members, Sarah K., (Development and Communications Coordinator) Diana L., Gilbert P. and Lucy Y. 

(Life Enrichment Instructors) for being such wonderful photographers.

On Tuesday January 21st, 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, we 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 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 Martin & Anne: The Kindred Spirits of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and Anne Frank by Nancy Churning.

 So, that was the joyous month of January at The Arc!

 Thank you for taking the time to read my blog.  This is my thirteenth year of being a Participant at The Arc and my ninth year of being The Arc’s blogger. My hope for this year is to have very fun experiences with all of my friends and then share them with all that read my blog.

-Tameka

The Arc Jingles All of the Way Through the Holidays with USAA and Season’s Greetings from Santa!

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“The Arc Jingles All of the Way Through the Holidays with USAA and Season’s Greetings from 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. My mom decorated my electric wheelchair with holiday decorations that I picked out and I wear a holiday season headband (that I call ears) every day. But my favorite holiday tradition is to paint my fingernails like merry little Christmas trees and wearing holiday shirts. 

I love being the Newsletter Editor-in-Chief and Blogger at this time of year because I get to show everyone who reads the Newsletter and my Blog all of our holiday Arc family traditions that we have! This month, I read some of my favorite holiday books to my fellow Arc Participants with the website YouTube and my communication device, How to Trick a Christmas Elf by Sue Fliess, Merry Christmas, Curious George by Catherine Hapka and Santa Claus vs. The Easter Bunny by Fred Blunt.

The Arc would like to thank The Kronkosky Foundation for their donation of $100,000 on Thursday, December 12th, from in honor of Ms. Bessie Mae Kronkosky’s (deceased) birthday on Friday, December 13th. The Baptist Health Foundation for their donation of $75,000 on Thursday, December 12th, for the Adult Living Enrichment Program. Mr. Robert and Mr. Dain Franks for their donation of $10,000 for the Family Support Services Program on Wednesday, December 18th. The Finn Family Foundation for their donation of $10,000 for the Family Support Services Program on Wednesday, December 18th for the general operating of The Arc.  Also, on Monday, December 9th, Mr. Cory from H-E-B serendipitously dropped by with a donation of two televisions for the Adult Life Enrichment Program. H-E-B is an inspiring leader in our community, championing employment for those with different abilities, and we are proud to call them friends. 

The Arc of San Antonio is so incredibly thankful for everyone who makes donations to us. You keep The Arc such a wonderful place to be with friends and learn about new things. The Arc just isn’t day habitation centers, it feels like a home with a family that takes care and loves each other every day.

On Tuesday, December 3rd, one of my favorite Arc traditions happened. With the help of some of the Staff Members, my fellow Participants

decorated The Arc’s Christmas tree. I love watching my friends’ faces light up with joy as they put ornaments on our tree. This always makes me feel like the holiday season has officially started (Well, that and hearing Mariah Carey’s 

“All I want for Christmas is You” or the Jackson 5’s “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” on the radio.)

On Thursday, December 12th, The Arc of San Antonio and the USAA Insurance Company had a holiday party where each Participant received their gift from a USAA employee. This year, I ask for a Disney Store Princess Rapunzel Light Up Royal Scepter.

I wore my reindeer antlers that are wrapped up with Christmas bells, 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 and played a game of basketball with the other Participants.

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

On Friday, December 13th, The Arc Participants had a Holiday Classroom Gingerbread Creations Contest. I love watching everyone’s creativity come to life and then being able to write about it in the monthly Newsletter.

The First Place Certificate for the most Scrumptiously Smart and Deliciously Delightful gingerbread creation was awarded to LEAP Classroom 2. 

Their decoration theme was, “Santa’s Peppermint Palace.”

The Second Place Certificate for the most Majestically Merry and Magical and Spellbindingly Seasonal gingerbread creation was awarded to Classroom 4. Their decoration theme was, “The Candy Corner Cottage.”

The Third Place Certificate for the most Fantastically Funny and Amazingly Amusing gingerbread creation awarded to Leap Classroom 8.        

Their decoration theme was, “The Cabin Fever Festival.”

The Fourth Place Certificate for the most Jovially Jolly or Creatively Cheerful gingerbread creation was awarded to Classroom 10 (V.I.P.S.)

Their decoration theme was, “The Merry Christmas Motel.”

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

Also, on Friday, December 13th, The Arc Participants had a Holiday Classroom Door Decorating Contest.

The First Place Certificate for the most Outstandingly Ornate or Glitteringly Glamourous Holiday Classroom was awarded to Classroom 12. Their class door decoration theme was “Let it Snow!”

The Second Place Certificate for the most Seasonally Splendiferous or Lustrously Luxurious was awarded to Classroom 1. Their class door decorations theme was the “Mini Santas Convention.”

My favorite door adornment belongs to Classrooms 2 and 3; their doors were decorated together as a gingerbread house. Their class door decorations theme was named “Hansel and Gretel’s Holiday Hacienda.” 

The Third Place Certificate was awarded to Classroom 9. Their class door decoration theme was “The Arc’s Dancing Elves.” This door was decorated with pictures of the Class’ Participants and cut-outs of dancing elf bodies and Christmas lights. 

I’m very proud to say that the Fourth Place Certificate was awarded to my Classroom for the most Vividly Vibrant or Uncommonly Unique Classroom Holiday Door Decorations. Our class door decoration theme was a snow woman named, “Ms. Betty Blizzard of Snowdrift Valley.”

Our special thanks goes to The Arc Staff Members, Laura L. (CLASS Case Manager) and Jane S. (CLASS Case Manager) for being such amazing Classroom Holiday Door and Gingerbread Creation judges.

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

To finish out the month, on Friday, December 20th, we wore our favorite seasonal sweaters and shirts to celebrate the holiday season. I wore my new red and plaid holiday tuxedo shirt 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 each and every one of you. You have to share in my triumphs and my greatest sorrows of this year. I am so happy that you were with me on my journey throughout the year at The Arc. 

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 2020!         

– Tameka

The Arc Can Tell You the Way to be Thankful for Friends, Family and Fantastic Thanksgiving Fun!

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Hello, everyone! I hope that everyone had 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.

I wore my pilgrim hat headband and new Thanksgiving turkey that I love so much. My mom painted my fingernails with golden brown with orange glitter polka dots. My classroom is named “The Press Club” (we’re responsible for making the informational flyers that are passed out and sent home with the Participants. Updating the bulletin boards around The Arc. Also, keeping the other classrooms informed about the activities that go on during the week.)

This month, I read Thanksgiving books to my fellow Arc Participants. I used my communicator, (with the help of YouTube) to read the books, The Great Turkey Race by Steve Metzger, (Three turkey friends on the farm are competing to be “the chosen one”…until they realize what getting chosen for Thanksgiving means) The Amazing Turkey Rescue also by Steve Metzger, (The Amazing Turkey Rescue follows three courageous Turkeys as they seek to rescue their friend, a chicken, from a fox who is hungry) and Olaf Gives Thanks: a Disney Frozen Thanksgiving Book by Colin Hosten, I chose this book in honor of Thanksgiving Day and the fact that the sequel (named Frozen II) to one of my favorite Disney animated films of all time, Frozen (2013) was coming out on Friday, November 22nd.

On Friday, November 8th, some of the other Arc Participants and I made arts and crafts and wore T-shirts inspired by the children’s television, Sesame Street, to celebrate its fifty-year-old anniversary. I wore my favorite light blue T-shirt that has Sesame Street characters, Elmo, Grover, Big Bird, The Count, and Cookie Monster. My T-shirt says, “On the Street, since 1969.” The other Participants and I learned that Sesame Street is recognized as the first television show for a child that has a mixture of education and entertainment. Sesame Street also provided the first daily introduction to Jim Henson’s Muppets. In 2009, the series celebrated its fortieth anniversary, making it one of the longest-running shows in television history. Sesame Street premiered on November 10th, 1969 and the original series has been televised in one hundred and twenty countries, and more than twenty international versions have been produced. The producers were reportedly “frantic with a naming dilemma for a title.” The producers finally settled on the name that they least disliked: Sesame Street, inspired by a magical phrase from Arabian Nights story, Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves

I have always loved Sesame Street from the time that I was a tiny girl. Sesame Street has thought me so many things. Also, during my many surgeries, Sesame Street helped me forget about the pain that I was experiencing. My favorite characters on Sesame Street are Elmo and Abby Cadabby. I even took a Christmas picture with them at Seaworld’s Sesame Street’s Bay of Play Playground. Taking the picture with Elmo and Abby is one of my favorite Christmas memories. My mother and I would always attend the Sesame Street Live performances when it would come into our city. 

I even wanted to live with Big Bird when I was six years old. Even now that I’m older, I’m still learning things from Sesame Street. The other Participants are I also learned that Sesame Street has been translated and adapted into a number of international co-productions in other places such as Japan, Egypt, France, Russia, Norway, Germany, and many other countries. All of the other Arc Participants and I especially like learning about the place where the air is sweet and has sunny days, sweeping the clouds away. 

On Friday, November 15th, we had a Classroom Thanksgiving Door Decorating Contest.

The First Place Certificate for the most Flutteringly Funny and Comically Creative Classroom Thanksgiving Door Decorations was Classroom 12. Their decoration theme was, “Happy Turkey Beef Day!” It was a giant turkey holding a cheeseburger with a sign saying: “Happy Turkey Beef Day!” This was my favorite decoration; it made me laugh the most.

The Second Place Certificate for the most Triumphantly Traditional Classroom Thanksgiving Door Decorations was awarded to LEAP Classroom 2. 

Their decoration theme was, “Sweet as Pie.”

The Third Place Certificate for the most Deliciously Delightful Classroom Thanksgiving Door Decorations was awarded to my Classroom 7. Our decoration theme was, “All Hands on Deck for a Happy Thanksgiving!” We also had a giant turkey that was covered with glitter along with handprints of my classmates to look like mini turkeys with multi-colored feathers. I’m so proud of my fellow classmates and our Classroom Staff Members. They put lots of hard work into decorating our classroom door and bringing our scarecrow to life, so to speak.

The Honorable Mention Certificate for the most Radiantly Remarkable Classroom Thanksgiving Door Decorations was awarded to Classroom 1. 

Their decoration theme was, “Picking Thanksgiving Thoughts.”

Also, on Friday, November 15th, we had a Classroom Scarecrow Creation Contest. I read, The Scarecrows’ Wedding by Julia Donaldson. The Scarecrows’ Wedding tells the story of Betty O’Barley and Harry O’Hay, two scarecrows who are planning for the best wedding the barnyard has ever seen!

Each Classroom went on an outing to a local Goodwill Store to buy supplies for their scarecrows using gift cards purchased with a grant given to The Arc by the Junior League in December 2018. The Arc is massively grateful to the Junior League for helping to further the Participants amusing activities.

The First Place Certificates for the most Creatively Colorful, Festively Funny or Seasonally Silly Classroom Scarecrow Creations was Classrooms 4 and 12. Their decoration theme was, “Mr. and Mrs. Hayfield.” 

The Second Place Certificate for the most Tremendously Terrific Thanksgiving Classroom Scarecrow Creations was awarded to LEAP Classroom 2. Their decoration theme was, “Cousin Itt’s Formal Hair Wear.” This was my favorite scarecrow! It was based on the Addams Family character, Cousin Itt, made out of glittering gold tinsel.

The Third Place Certificate for the most Fabulously Fall or Awesomely Autumn Classroom Scarecrow Creations was awarded to my classroom, number 7. Our decoration theme was, “Hi! My name is Ima Scarecrow!” 

The Honorable Mention Certificate for the most Immensely Ingenious and Unquestionably Unique Classroom Scarecrow Creations was awarded to Classroom 10 (V.I.P.S.) Their decoration theme was, “Tiny is Mighty!”

Special thanks goes to Staff Members, Heather L., (Director of Family Support Services) Laura L., and Elisha L. (CLASS – Community Living Assistance Support Services) Case Managers for being such wonderful Scarecrow and Thanksgiving Classroom Door Decorations contest judges for 2019.

The other Arc Participants and I looked forward to celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday by having a pie social gathering that we had on Wednesday, November 20th and a pre-Thanksgiving Dance on Friday, November 22nd with our friends. My classmate and I chose the music for this event. The other Arc Participants and I and Staff Members would like to thank everyone that donated pies to our annual Pie Social. Thanks to you everyone at both locations of The Arc had a delicious day!

The Arc would also like to thank the Valero Benefit for Children for their donation of $40,000 for the Family Support Services on Friday, November 15th.

The Arc would like to thank the Harvey Najim Foundation for their donation of $55,000 for the Family Support Services Program on Tuesday, November 5th.

The Arc would like to thank the Eagles Flight Advocacy & Outreach for supporting The Arc this Thanksgiving! They have provided Arc families on the CLASS – Community Living Assistance Support Services and the CSCM Community Services Case Management programs with twenty-three Thanksgiving meals on Thursday, November 21st.

The Arc would like to thank the H-E-B Company for sending all of our staff home on the weekend of Saturday, November 23rd with a free turkey. We are so grateful for your support!.

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

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

See you in my next blog!

Tameka

The Arc’s Spook-tacularly Julibant October Activities as Princess Jasmine

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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 after November 1st to send out and post the October Newsletter and monthly Blog so I can include everything. I asked my mom to paint my fingernails with bright orange nail polish with black glitter polish on top in anticipation.

This year, I chose to be Princess Jasmine from the Disney 1992 animated film, Aladdin. Before there was Princess Tiana from Disney’s 2009 animated movie, The Princess and the Frog, Jasmine was the only princess of color. Jasmine is beautiful confident and very wise. Jasmine is all of the things that I strive to be every day.

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 / Pixar’s movie, Brave, (2012) Princess Elena from a production of the Disney Television Animation show named Elena of Avalor and most recently Princess Rapunzel from Walt Disney’s computer animated 2010 movie, Tangled. Because of my Cerebral Palsy, my mom has to make all of my Halloween costumes.

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, Moldilocks and the Three Scares! by Lynne Marie (In this version of the famous fairy tale, Moldilocks is a lonely zombie girl, and when the three scares find her in their home, they love it.) Also, 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,) Fright Club by Ethan Long and of course one of my favorite Halloween books: The Hallo-Wiener by Dav Pilkey. I like picking books that make you laugh and think.

On Friday, October 18th, The Arc had our annual Pumpkin Decorating Contest.

The First Place Certificate for the most Radiantly Roguish and Dreadfully Delightful pumpkin winners were Classroom 4. Their decoration theme was, “A Picturesque Pumpkin Portrait of Fall.”

The Second Place Certificate for the most Creepily Cryptic or Bewitchingly Beautiful pumpkin winners were LEAP Classroom 1. Their decoration theme was, “Sights of the Silver Leaves of Autumn.”

The Third Place Certificate for the most Fiendishly Funny or Ghoulishly Giddy pumpkin winners were Classroom 9. Their decoration theme was, “It’s What is on the Inside that Counts.”

The Honorable Mention Certificate for the most Monstrously Mischievous and Atrociously Astonishing pumpkin winners were Classroom 11. Their decoration theme was, “Meet Melvin McPumpkin!” All of The Arc Participants and Staff Members were very proud of their pumpkin decoration creations.

Also, on Friday, October 18th, The Arc Participants had our annual Halloween Classroom Door Decorating Contest. The First Place Certificate for the most Monsterific Masterpiece Halloween Class Door Decoration was Classroom 12. Their decoration theme was, “Welcome to The Marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Frankenstein.” I’m very proud to say that the Second Place Certificate for the most Enchantingly Entertaining Halloween Class Door Decoration was awarded to my class, Classroom 7 (Press Club.) Our decoration theme was, “Have a Spiderlicous Pumptober.” Our classroom door was decorated with glittery foam pumpkins and spiders, designed by myself and my classmates. The Third Place Certificate for the most Delightfully Deranged and Ferociously Funny Halloween Class Door Decoration was awarded to Classroom 5. Their decoration theme was, “A Show of Hands for a Happy Halloween!” The Honorable Mention Certificate was for the most Unspeakably Unique and Abysmally Awesome Halloween Class Door Decoration was awarded to Classroom 9. Their decoration theme was, “Our Mummies Love Us!”

Special thanks goes to Staff Members, Allison C., (Director of Community Services Case Management) Lauren S., (Community Services Case Manager) Tina C., (Family Support Services Coordinator) Liz P., (Administrative Assistant for the Community Living Assistance Support Services program) and Karen R., (Community Services Case Manager) for being such awesome Halloween Classroom Door and Pumpkin judges for 2019.

On Wednesday, October 23rd, the CSCM—Community Services Case Management, CLASS—Community Living Assistance Support Services Case Managers and Administrative Staff Members that work in the upstairs offices had a Halloween Office Decoration Contest. Some of the Press Club Participants were the Halloween Office Decoration Judges.
Arc Press Club Participants, Samantha M. and John G and myself are very happy to say that the First Place Certificate was awarded to the CLASS Case Managers in CLASS Office A. Jane S., Kim F., Clarissa L., Sheila B., Elita S., and Kristina L. Their Halloween decoration theme was named, “Beware of Pennywise’s Creepy Carnival!”
The Second Place Certificate was awarded to Heather L., (Director of Family Support Services) Tina C. (Family Support Services Coordinator) and Edna T. (Family Support Services Coordinator.) Their decoration theme was named, “It’s just a Bunch of Hocus Pocus.”

The Third Place Certificate was awarded to Sarah K. (Development and Communication Coordinator) for the decoration theme was named, “Remember me, Coco?” inspired by Disney / Pixar’s 2017 animated movie, Coco.
The Honorable Mention Certificate was awarded to the CLASS Case Managers in CLASS Office B.
Laura L., Liz P. and Angie D. Their decoration theme was named, “The Purple People Eatery.”
All of the CSCM and CLASS Case Managers and Administrative Staff Members had a great time celebrating the Halloween season and decorating their work areas.

The best thing about this year’s Halloween is that I had the chance to celebrate it with my classmates on an outing to the America’s Incredible Pizza Restaurant. I wore my new light up candy corn headband and light up jack-o-lantern necklace. My favorite arcade game to play at America’s Incredible Pizza is named “The Cyclone.” The goal of the game is to stop a little spinning light on a certain number to win a certain number of prize tickets. I love celebrating Halloween with my friends.

Later on, when I was at home with my mom, we carved out our own pumpkin and 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.

On Sunday, October 27th, my mom and I went to this year’s “Dreams Come True” Halloween Party with my mom (for people with disabilities) and Costume Contest at the Perfect Score Sport Bar. I was so happy to have the chance to see all of my friends that attended The Arc in past years.

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 Thursday, 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!

Also, on Thursday, October 31st, The Arc’s Staff Members put together a “Haunted House” named, “The Arc’s Creepy Carnevil” for the Participants to go through to have a fang-tastic 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 members had a frighteningly fun and spellbindingly safe Halloween!

See you in my next Blog!

Fantastic Football Fashions, a Good Friday the 13th and Fabulous Fall Festivities!

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“Fantastic Football Fashions, a Good Friday the 13th and Fabulous Fall Festivities!”

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

On Wednesday, September 4th, The Arc Participants and Staff Members had a Fall / Autumn season Inspired Classroom Door Decorating Contest. 

Special thanks goes to Arc Staff Members, Arc Staff Members, Ginette R., (Associate Director of Day Services at the West Avenue location) 

Melissa F. (Director of Adult Life Enrichment Program) and Mary M. (Arc Volunteer) for being such wonderful Fall / Autumn Classroom Door Decorations contest judges of  2019.

On Thursday, September 5th, some of The Arc Staff Members, the other Arc Participants and I wore our favorite NFL jerseys to celebrate the start of the 2019 NFL’s one-hundredth football season and The Arc’s upcoming 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 Dino-Football by Lisa Wheeler.

On Friday September 13th, I just might have had the first good Friday, the 13th in history! After being dropped off at The Arc this morning, I had to drive my electric wheelchair quietly through a parent / guardian information meeting in the gym. As I am driving towards my classroom, my blog appears on the big screen while they are talking about me! I was so in shock that all I could do is smile and wave. I love The Arc!

 Howard Energy Partners, in their commitment to strengthening the San Antonio community, held their Annual United Way kickoff on Monday, 

September 16th, and invited Ms. Andie M. (The Arc’s Director of Development) to come speak about The Arc and our services. A group of employees came to tour The Arc’s West Avenue location on Tuesday, September 17th. More information about their giving here: https://www.howardenergypartners.com/community 

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

In the month of September, some of the other Arc Participants and I celebrated the beginning of the fall season on Monday, September 23rd. I read the books, I read the books, Mouse’s First Fall by Lauren Thompson, Clifford’s First Autumn by Norman Bridwell and The Scarecrow’s Wedding by Julia Donaldson. 

Also, during the month of September, some of the other Arc Participants and I celebrated the beginning of the National Hispanic Heritage Month (Sunday, September 15th to Tuesday, October 15th,) I read the books, Viva Frida by Yuyi Morales, (a story about Frida Kahlo, one of the world’s most famous and unusual artists is revered around the world. Her life was filled with laughter, love, and tragedy, all of History by Naibe Reynoso.  Living in San Antonio, I thought that it was very important to read these books to my friends. For more information about National Hispanic Heritage Month, please feel free to visit: https://www.hispanicheritagemonth.gov

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.

– Tameka H. 

Lights! Camera! Talent Show! The Astonishing August Acts at The Arc!

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I dedicate this month’s August 2019 blog to the memory of one of my favorite female singers, Aaliyah. (January 16th, 1979 to August 25th, 2001) and my seventeen-year-old dog named Jordan. Heaven’s newest angel.

At their best, they were loved. 

“Lights! Camera! Talent Show! The Astonishing August Acts at The Arc!”

Hi, everybody! 

As a great way to end the summer season, the other Arc Participants were taken on class outings to Morgan’s Wonderland’s new water park named Morgan’s Inspiration Island.  The more than three acre attraction enables family members, regardless of age or ability, to cool off and beat the summer heat by splashing and playing together.

I had a good feeling in my heart in seeing all of my friends enjoying themselves at Morgan’s Inspiration Island!

The Arc love Morgan’s Wonderland and the free access they provide to us Participants. So, The Arc had a fundraiser to cover the admission fees for the amazing Arc Staff Members.

A special thanks to our friends in the Alhambra Alamo Caravan, number 269 for donating $700 for The Arc Staff Members fundraiser on Friday, August 9th.

On Friday, August 23rd, we had our Sixteenth Annual Talent Show, hosted by The Arc’s Staff Members,

Veronica V. and John T. I love when it’s time for our Talent Show at The Arc of San Antonio!  Along with a certificate of completion, each Participant received a mini “Oscar-like”  award statue, donated by a generous benefactor. 

The other Arc Participants and I would to say thank you to Arc Staff Members, Julie L., Linda G., Mellisa K. and 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 Academy Awards inspired theme, “The Arc’s Red Carpet Soirée!”   

The other Participants and I would like to thank The Arc Staff Members, Tina C. (Family Support Services Coordinator,) Lauren S. (CSCM Case Manager) and Allison C. (Director of Community Services Case Management) for being such wonderful Talent Show judges. 

I wore my new black “Beat it” 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 dark purple with gold stars to match my hat. My mom decorated my new fuchsia-colored 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, so 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 create the Talent Show program that are 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 end of your summer!

– Tameka H.

July’s Firework Festivities and Parading with a Purpose at The Arc!

by jbragg | No Comments

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

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

I used my communicator, (with the help of YouTube) to read the books, 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.

I wore my red and white striped shirt and my 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 3rd, some of the Participants and Staff Members wore their red, white and blue clothing to celebrate America’s Independence Day and the fiftieth anniversary of the moon landing in 1969. 

The other Participants and I learned that on July 20th, 1969, America’s most famous astronauts touched down on the moon after making the three-day trip from the Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, Florida. Astronauts, Neil Armstrong, Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin and Michael Collins crewed the mission. It was there that Armstrong, the first human to walk on the moon, uttered his famous phrase: “That’s one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Also, we celebrated the U.S. women’s national soccer team win at the 2019 Women’s World Cup on Sunday, July 7th. The championship match victory in Lyon, France marks both the fourth world title and back-to-back wins for the U.S. women after taking home the trophy in 1991, 1999 and 2015.

We had a wonderful time remembering America’s many accomplishments.

On Thursday, July 4th, my mom and I ate pizza and watched the forty-third 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 Monday, July 22nd, the other Participants in wheelchairs and walkers decided to decorate our chairs and walkers with the help of the Staff Members to have The Arc’s seventh annual “Rolling in Style” Parade to celebrate the fact that the month of July was the National Wheelchair Beautification Month. 

We learned that the National Wheelchair Beautification Month was founded by Mr. Horace Knowles. 

We also learned that the Target Store Corporation is selling Halloween costumes adapted for children with disabilities so every child can participate in the holiday. The retailer unveiled the four inclusive costumes, including two wheelchair cover options, through its Hyde and Eek! Boutique. One of the options offers children in wheelchairs the chance to transform it into a purple princess carriage, while the other covering sees wheelchairs of all sizes turned into a pirate ship, complete with its own pirate flag.

The designs are part of a larger range designed for kids with disabilities.  There are also new options for children with sensory processing difficulties. The plush shark and unicorn costumes include “flat seams and no tags for an ultra-comfy feel,” according to the website. They also feature detachable sections and hidden openings, designed to be less irritating for children with sensory sensitivities. The costumes are currently available for pre-order on Target’s website: www.target.com/b/hyde-and-eek-boutique 

I was so happy when I saw this story on the internet! Growing up with Cerebral Palsy, my mom had to make most of my Halloween costumes. One year, my mom made me a mummy mask to the body cast that I was in after my surgeries. Now, parents who have children with disabilities have a little more help at Halloween time. 

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

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 Sixteenth Annual Summer Talent Show on Friday, August 23rd 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!         


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