I am a husband, father, son, brother, uncle and friend. I believe in sharing my talents and experiences by giving back to the community by giving my time to coaching, church and especially to the disability community. I truly believe that all men and women are created equally.
As I have said many times, I learn more from listening to consumers/self advocates/individuals with disabilities than I could have every imagined. At a recent People First meeting, we were playing a game called the Dreamcatcher. For those who are not aware of what a Dreamcatcher is or how the game is played here is a brief discription.
A Dreamcatcher is a Native American object made to look like a spider web or net. The web is supposed to catch and save the good dreams that people have at night. The game was played using a ball of yarn. The first person tells of something that they would like to see in the futre. The first person holds the end of the string and throws the ball of yarn to another person. This goes on until everybody has had an opportunity to share their dreams. In the end, we had our own "Dreamcatcher".
Near the end of the game, one consumer commented that she was very happy that she is at the age that she is. She is scared for younger people, like my son whome she enjoys spending time with. What concerns her the most is the transition from High School to Employment. Her reasoning was that with so many people currently out of work, how can individuals with disabilities ever be able to earn a competative wage. She also does not see or know where the next group of advocates are going to come from.
Over the next couple of days, I really had to think about this subject. What does the future hold for my son after High School? What types of opportunities will be available to him? Will he be prepared? As his father, I am working on being his advocate, but does he himself want to become one? I guess on Disability Advocacy Day, April 6, I am going to get an idea from him. We are planning on being in Madison to meet our State Legislators.
As I thought more about the subject, the futures of my other two kids came to mind. Will they be prepared for the future? Heck, what is the future going to be like?
I know that my main focus on why I am running for School Board has focused on my kids Elementary Education. I believe that a sound base or infrastructure is key to success later in life. But I realize that it is the end product that determines the success of a School District. I believe that we need to ensure that our students are ready for the challenges that life has ahead of them. Someday, all of these kids that I have watched my kids grow up with are going to be our elected officals, our bankers, our teachers, our military leaders and every other occupation under the sun, I am sure that there are new occupations going to be available that we have not even thought about yet.
We must be proactive when it comes to their education. We need to make sure that every opportunity is afforded to them. Falling behind for Cudahy students is not an option, even in the face of continued budget cuts from both the Federal and State Governments. We must be creative and open mided in our thinking. As I learned at the last School Board meeting, there are many members of our community who have great ideas and who are willing to be a part of the process. We need to make sure that we tap these resources.