Sharon’s Determination Inspires Others

Sharon volunteering in the LMNOP program for infants-three year olds.

Sharon is one of our amazing adult participants. She is 38 years old and regularly attends the Fantastic Friends program and was a volunteer for our LMNOP Tuesday morning group. Sharon also was a self-advocate speaker at our inaugural Brew HAHA event. We are so excited for her, after volunteering in the school system as a weekly guest reader for 8 years, she has recently been hired by the School District to have a five day a week position as a Support Assistant. As her Mom wrote, “Volunteering paid off as the Principal thought of her for the open post.”

Sharon demonstrates her Best of All as a participant in our Fantastic Friends PiYo group. The program meets once a week for an hour in the evenings. Sharon has

In the Fantastic Friends PiYo program, Carly offers Sharon stability.

a unique situation because she also has rheumatoid arthritis, which was diagnosed when she was five.  Her joints are fused, she wears orthotics and has challenges with range of motion, but that doesn’t stop her! It is impressive that Sharon attends PiYo exercise class and works hard to move and follow poses. She knows when she is ready to join in the movement as well as her physical limits and is careful not to over-do any stretches. It is awesome to see how Sharon engages in physical activity which poses challenges for her. Her commitment to attend weekly sessions is admirable. Sharon enjoys the social aspect of PiYo, keeping fit and attending an adults-only-no parents group. Sharon is an inspiration and gives her Best of All!

Sharon and Cate, a volunteer in the PiYo group, work on some stretching.

Sharon’s Mom Doni shares; “She is a trooper and has inspired one cousin to become a special education teacher because she saw exactly how much can be accomplished with a good education.  She inspired her brother when he was applying to colleges.  He wrote about her determination and how much harder she had to work to do what many do with ease.  He received letters from a couple of schools commenting on his essay and his sister.

Sharon takes a break from PiYo to pose for a photo with Janet, the GiGi’s Playhouse volunteer leader and a Certified PiYo-instructor.

She has been out in front on many lines.  One family told me years ago when Sharon was an alter server at church, that it had never occurred to them to have their child with Down syndrome do this, or join Girl Scouts, etc., until Sharon did it.

Things are improving now but are still difficult for young families; however, when Sharon was in school, we had to fight to get her in a regular school.  Everything she did as a kid was an uphill battle because of the ravages of rheumatoid arthritis and because society had not caught on to the concept that her dreams and desires were no different than anyone else’s.  Thank goodness she is a trooper!”

Just this week Sharon came home from work and said that she had been moved from lunch duty for part of her day into the classroom full time where she helps with many things including academics.  The full time aide called Sharon’s Mom to share how professional and hard working Sharon is.  She said that Sharon speaks to the children as if they are peers and encourages them saying, “You can do this.”  Her colleagues have shown her how to use the walkie-talkie and what to say if she needs help.  The full time aide, who has been there for many years, says, “I told her she is one of us.  She is dedicated and amazing.”

Can’t wait until Wednesday’s Fantastic Friends PiYo when we will again be inspired by Sharon!

Sharon on-the-job wearing her employee badge and using her walkie-talkie.

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