This week, dance4empowerment reached two great achievements. First, the @dance4empower Twitter account that shares inspiring content on the field of disabilities and inclusion throughout the world reached its first-year anniversary. Since the creation of the Twitter account, over 230 people have followed us and many more have “favorited”, “retweeted”, and shared our content. The next step is to create a Facebook account to share more content, pictures, and videos with everyone who follows us on Twitter and also those who don’t have Twitter accounts.
Our second milestone this week was getting our 3,oooth viewer on the dance4empowerment WordPress blog. This is particularly exciting because the blog was the first form of social media I ever used to share the work I am doing, I am humbled by the number of people who have read and followed me throughout my journey.
One significant chapter of my journey that recently came to a close was high school and my senior project called Ma’avar. Gann Academy offered me so many opportunities to further my passion for dance and the inclusion of people with disabilities. I am thankful for the time I was given to perform an Independent Research and Design project on the genetics of Down’s syndrome and the week I spent learning from the pioneers of inclusion in Israel. Although Ma’avar technically came to a close last week, I will continue my work into the summer and spend more time interning at the MA State House and for the Ruderman Family Foundation.
I am learning so much from both of my internships and having incredible experiences. In my internship at the Ruderman Family Foundation, I am learning important lessons on social media and SEO ratings. I am grateful to Jay Ruderman, President of the RFF, for the opportunity to intern for his family’s inspiring Foundation. I have been interning for the RFF for over a year now and am honored to work with such a talented, thoughtful, and impressive group of people.
Additionally, I am glad to continue as an intern in Representative Kay Khan’s office in the MA State House. Rep. Khan is the House Chair on the Joint Committee for Children, Families, and Persons with Disabilities. She shares my passion for dance and is a leader in making Massachusetts a more inclusive city for people with disabilities. I was honored to have her join me at my graduation and look forward to working in her office throughout the summer. One of the many opportunities given to State House interns is a series of seminars hosted twice daily. A variety of speakers come to share their experiences working in the State House, including House Representatives, Senators, and even the Governor. Last week I attended a seminar by the Speaker of the House, Speaker DeLeo. He shared his experiences with us and, most inspirational, was his response to a question about his greatest success during his career at the State House. After some thought, he decided that the accomplishment he was most proud of was the impact that he had on a specific mother of two children with autism. When he initially met this woman, they discussed legislation that would improve the lives of people with autism and other disabilities as they aged out of the school system. This legislation was eventually passed and, when he ran into this woman again, she thanked him for all the work that he did to make the lives of her children better. To Speaker DeLeo, seeing the impact he could have on this woman and her two children was extremely special to him and truly inspirational to me. It taught me that, in the end, it doesn’t matter how many people follow the dance4empowerment Twitter account or read our blog, but how every step I take to further dance4empowerment can affect the students who will participate in the program. I hope to take his words with me in everything I do and I feel fortunate to know that I have already made an impact on people along the way.
Dance, move, and empower,