At the beginning of my journey to create CHEETA (Children Helping Empower Each other Through Art), I met Representative Kay Khan of Newton, MA. Rep. Khan and I instantly connected through our love of dance (Rep. Khan taught a ballet program in her basement during the summer when she was a teenager). From the start, Rep. Khan has supported me, shared valuable advice, and communicated with me the important work she is pursuing as the co-chair on the Joint Committee for Families, Children, and People with Disabilities.
This summer, Rep. Khan has given me the opportunity to be an intern in her office. As an intern I am responsible for a variety of tasks as well as attending intern seminars. When people find out that I am an intern at the State House, their first question is usually have you met the Governor? Last week, as part of the intern seminar series, I did get to meet Governor Deval Patrick and learn from him. Governor Patrick talked to us about his background and his life when he was our age, he shared inspirational quotes from his grandma, and he allowed us to ask him anything we wanted.
I found our time with Governor Patrick special and inspiring; he was very relatable and spoke to us as the next leaders in our country and not as “teens”. He told us, “hope for the best but work for it”. This really spoke to me as I work to create CHEETA and empower children with disabilities.
The final message that Governor Patrick left us with was in response to the question: what is the biggest challenge facing our [the interns] generation? His response was, “The number one challenge facing you generation is going to have to be decided by your generation and solved by your generation”. I have seen many challenges in the process of creating CHEETA because of my age and I know that even as I get older I will still face challenges. Governor Patrick has given me the hope that I can create CHEETA and be successful because I can shape my challenges, my successes, and my future.
Dance, move, and empower,