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

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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!

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