On Friday, May 27, 2016, our son, Tayair Ishmael Blake participated in a Convocation held at the University of Delaware where he received a Certificate of Successful Completion of Career and Life Studies (CLSC).
He along with his fellow classmates were part of the ceremony which also included hundreds of graduating students receiving an undergraduate and graduate degree from the College of Education and Human Development. Oh by the way, there was a gentleman who received his degree at the age of 64 which was also awesome!
If you remember from previous posts, due to Tayair’s early medical history he is classified as Intellectually Disabled, but you also know from his recent presentation at a staff meeting at the Delaware Health and Social Services his motto “Being Disabled Does Not Mean We Are Not Able”. The events of the day is only further proof that anything can be done when you decide not to give up.
Needless to say, his father and I were super excited as was his brother and even the misspelling of his name on the certificate couldn’t put a damper on the day.
There are also more pictures on my Facebook and Instgram pages.
I could write more about the event, however, for this post I am just going to let the pictures and video speak louder than my words!
Being Silly Before Being Serious!
This sums up the day!
For more information on the CLSC Program check out their website
The CLSC program offers specialized coursework in career studies and life skills, as well as other inclusive learning opportunities on campus, including participation in UD undergraduate classes, clubs and activities. An individualized plan is created with each student that includes peer mentoring, staff coaching and support as identified through person-centered planning.
“Oh hey girl…what’s up?”
“Did Natalie go to CLSC today?”
“No, she didn’t have classes today…why…what’s up?”
“Tayair…he left the house this morning at 7:00 am and it’s almost 10 pm. He’s not answering his phone or responding to his text messages. His father left to check the parking lot at his job….”
My mind was racing a mile per minute and the only thoughts in my head were negative which directed me to this question…
Would you chip your kid?
Granted, my son is no longer a kid, he’s 23 years old , but he’s also intellectually disabled, but even if he wasn’t – I still would have been beside myself the night he didn’t come home after being out all day without a call or response to a text message.
Thankfully, the story ended well but it started me wondering, would I have chipped him when he was a kid. I remember BC, before children, I often thought negatively of parents who put those backpack leashes onto their kids but once I had mine, it only took losing Malik for 3 minutes to understand why they did.
One minute he was standing besides me and the next minute he was gone…he had followed a waitress into the kitchen as we were being walked to our table in a very large restaurant. Needless to say, I swallowed my heart that day as well. I almost bought a backpack leash the first time we traveled to Disney World, but chose instead to keep him in an umbrella stroller.
When the boys entered high school and started driving they each had a cell phone so I signed up for the ‘Family Locator”. Having this phone app with Verizon provided me with a sense of security. I could set the alerts to text me when they arrived at school and also when returned home in the afternoon.
I could track their phones when they were driving to the mall or to after school activities. Unfortunately, Malik learned how to deactivate the app on his phone and when they upgraded to the iPhone I lost the capability to track them. #TeamAndroid
However, with so much going on at college campuses, I sometimes wish that they each had an implanted tracking device so that I could just check in now and again to make sure they were where they were supposed to be.
I know in my heart that it would have been helpful to the parents of missing kids. Pet parents who chip their pets are happy when they find a lost or missing pup. I truly think that it is definitely something worth looking into when it comes to the safety of our kids or adults with disabilities.
I understand that there are security and safety measures to take into consideration, as well as plenty of pros and cons on this issue, but once again my question to you is “would you chip your kid?”
Independent Resources, Inc. #LaunchSpace Small Business Program Award Presentation
Hello friends, I hope all is well in your world. Last week I had an opportunity to attend the IRI Small Business Program Award Presentation, as well as the honor of being one of the five judges.
This Dolphin Tank Award’s program was IRI’s first and it was an excellent way in which to feature the hard work and dedication of the participants involved in the LaunchSpace Small Business Program.
Independent Resources, Inc., is a federally funded, private non-profit, non-residential organization providing services to persons with disabilities. IRI is a statewide organization with offices located in Wilmington, Dover and Dagsboro. Each office provides services that consumers consider critical in gaining control over their lives; services they feel will enable them to function in the community of their choosing.
Front Row: Larry Henderson (IRI Executive Director), Latoshia Caldwell (Finalist), Barbara Monaghan (DDC Chair), Emmanuel Jenkins (Runner-up)
Back Row: Cathy Woodhouse (First State CPAs Relationship Manager), Khalil Abdul-Majid (Finalist), Tina Riley (Entrepreneur of the Year), Ken Anderson (DEDO Director), Senator Brian Bushweller (state senator for 17th district), Antionette Blake (Social media and blogger consultant) and Jackie Reyes (Small Business Program Coordinator)
Khalil Abdul-Majid: “Inspired by Touch Massage”
Latoshia Caldwell – Caldwell’s Helping Hands
Emmanuel Jenkins – We Stand 4 Something
Tina Riley – Tina Riley’s Imaginarium
The program began with welcoming remarks from Dr. Tes del Tufo, then each participant presented their individual Business Plans. As a judge, I along with Senator Brian Bushweller, Ken Anderson, Barbara Monaghan, and Cathy Woodhouse were given the arduous task of scoring them in 7 areas.
I must admit that each participant did such an amazing job that it was hard not to rate them all “excellent” in each category. I was truly impressed and definitely inspired by their plans, goals and overall presentations, I walked away thinking that I really needed to step up my game!
Ken Anderson and I presented each with a Certificate of Completion and then the presentation of Accomplishments & Awards was made by Senator Bushwell, Cathy Woodhouse and Barbara Monaghan.
In addition to a cash prize, the winner also received in-kind contributions, including my donation of 3 hours for Social Media and e-marketing training valued at $500.
The program ended with concluding remarks by Mr. Larry Henderson, Executive Director of Independent Resources, Inc. It was yet another opportunity on a Thankful Thursday to be blessed with the ability to volunteer time to such a worthy organization.
New Year ~ New You