Hello everyone. This is Everett Aishiteru and I am part of The Expressive Leaders Program at The Practice Space.This post is about my project to raise awareness of the lives people with disabilities lead, and what misconceptions are made. I hope that after you read this you feel compelled to stand up for someone you know or spread the word, and most of all, advocate for yourself.
My name is Everett and I’m in 8th grade. I live in the Bay Area, with my mom, dad, little brother, and a few pets. When I’m not in school, I usually play games, study for this project, or lay down with my cat. The reason I chose this project is that I myself am disabled, and have lived this life firsthand. It pained me to see people hit with insults, misinformation, and teasing left and right. And they just took it. Seeing the lack of voice in this community, I was inspired to change that, and without this program, I don’t think I’d ever be able to bring it to fruition.
My project is mostly about bringing awareness to the daily life of a student with disabilities. What schoolwork looks like, home life, social life, etc. A lot of things out there describe disabilities as impossible to live with, and we need to help them because they can’t help themselves. Yes living with a disability is hard, but we push through. I myself find pride in the challenges I’ve beat, instead of shame. Something not a lot of people know about, or acknowledge, is the fact that even though someone may have a disability or disabilities, they are still human, and just as capable of living a normal life as you are. The problem is not many people know that, and still wreak havoc on the mental state of these people, whether they know it or not. And the worst part? The adolescent years are when your brain is the most emotionally vulnerable, and that’s where a lot of these problems start.
I had big dreams for this project when I first started it. I wanted to go global, be well known, stuff like that. However, as I started working more on it, I realized that I was biting off more than I could chew. I still have plans to go that way, but I see how difficult it is. During this project, I kept hitting brick walls that my own mind made. At first, I didn’t really reach out to my resources to get the help I needed and was basically setting myself up for failure. But once I reached out, I was surprised at how quickly I progressed. Now, I know this project can go far, and I’m going to make sure of it.
I worked with my English teacher to make a school unit on ableism. Within this unit, we worked on learning stereotypes, famous celebrities with disabilities, and a research project centered around a disability. The research project had us research a disability(ex: ASD, blindness, deafness, Down Syndrome, Bipolar disorder, etc.). We made a google slides presentation and recorded ourselves presenting. Overall I believe it was successful and ended up teaching 100+ students.
As a result of this project, I hope that people will understand that just because someone is different doesn’t mean they can’t lead the same life you do. I want to show that yes, we are all different, but we all have the same potential. To support my project, you don’t need to do much, just spread the word! The effectiveness of this project depends on how many people know about it. The more people, the better. I don’t care if this doesn’t make a giant change in society in the next decade, or even the next century, the point is that it needs to be fixed eventually, and I’d be glad to start that foundation.