Stories to Inspire: Kids Living Their Dreams
By The CLSP Team
In most news sources, bad news seems to prevail. But in reality, good news surrounds us. We just have to see through the darkness.
In Stories to Inspire, American Life League’s Culture of Life Studies Program shares stories of hope from around the web. These may be about people who treat others with great respect, new inventions which help reveal the inherent dignity of disabled persons, or everyday heroes who stand up for the weak and marginalized. We invite you to read these stories of inspiration and give thanks for the myriad blessings we all have in life.
Earlier this year, a first grader from Chesapeake, Virginia, beat 300,000 other first graders to win a national handwriting competition. What makes Anaya Middleton so special? She was born without hands. Anaya holds her pencil with her arms and must stand in order to achieve a good angle for writing, but she has overcome her limitations to excel where others thought she might be deficient.
Anaya has turned her disability into a strength. The next time you encounter something you cannot do, remember the persistence of Anaya Middleton. She is a perfect example of someone who doesn’t give up, no matter what the odds.
An adventurous entrepreneur
Blake Pyron recently started his own snow cone business at the age of 20, making him the youngest entrepreneur in his town.
But that’s not all. Blake has Down syndrome. Like many parents of children with Down syndrome, Blake’s parents were told that their son would probably never lead a normal life. Blake’s parents wanted more for their son; they wanted Blake to live his dreams and they weren’t going to allow his disability to stand in his way. So when the barbeque restaurant where he worked closed, Blake’s family worked hard to find a job for Blake where he could interact with customers, which was no easy task in their small town. On Mother’s Day weekend, Blake’s Snow Shack opened its doors for business.
Society tells us that people with developmental disabilities should be aborted because they are not “perfect” and they may never benefit society. Blake and all other people with disabilities prove society wrong every day of their lives.
Baseball dreams come true
Like many young baseball enthusiasts, Landis Sims has always dreamed of playing baseball with the major leagues. The fact that Landis was born without all four limbs doesn’t stop him one bit from getting on the field. His career goal is to be the first New York Yankee without all of his limbs.
Earlier this spring, Landis got his chance. The Yankees signed Landis on with a one-day contract, helping a boy with determination to realize his dream. Landis played with the professionals for one day, using a special prosthetic to bat. Landis is a reminder to all of us that any dream is attainable, no matter how big or seemingly impossible.
Down syndrome doesn’t get this kid down
When Deb and Frank Antonelli’s son Frankie was born with Down syndrome, they were depressed and scared. Finally Deb realized that she could either wallow in self pity or work to help Frankie rise above his limitations. She decided that she wanted Frankie to have all the opportunities that his brothers have. She didn’t want him sitting on the couch all day watching TV.
The Antonelli family is an inspiration because they refused to let Down syndrome define their son. It was an uphill battle to get Frankie the support he deserves in school, but now Frankie is a junior in high school, already applying to a college program for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
No man is an island. Human beings need each other’s help in order to grow. But with the love and dedication of a family, children of all abilities can thrive.
Free 2 Be Me Dance gives kids a chance
In 2009, ballet instructor Colleen Perry read an article about the Boston Ballet’s program for kids with Down syndrome. After reading the article, she felt an inner calling to start a similar program in Los Angeles. That’s when the Free 2 Be Me Dance program was born. Even though she had never worked with any children with Down syndrome before, Colleen wasn’t afraid to dive right in. Since 2010, the program has flourished and given children a chance to learn basic rhythms, coordination, and self expression.
As all of these stories show, overcoming disabilities can often be difficult. It takes a lifetime of dedication and support from friends and family, but it can be done. These inspirational stories provide the perfect examples of what love and determination can do.
American Life League’s Culture of Life Studies Program stresses the culture of life as an integral part of every academic discipline. CLSP is dedicated to helping students become effective communicators of the pro-life message. Sign up for our e-mail newsletter to see how we can help you foster a culture of life at home and in school.