Describe him in one word: Impactful
Nathan is 27 years old, has a great sense of humor and has a huge network of friends and family. He works two jobs in the community; one at a local grade school and the other at his church. When he is not working, he loves to cook, bike, drive his golf cart, watch movies and listen to music (he is particularly fond of music from the 80s). He also volunteers for the Heart of Illinois Down Syndrome Association, St. Jude’s and the American Legion. He has an active and full life.
Through his example, he has helped to promote more positive attitudes towards persons with disabilities. His experiences have enabled his mom to be better at her job as a disability advocate. He influenced his sister’s decision to pursue a career in occupational therapy which led to her employment at Easter Seals where she helps other children who have had similar experiences as her brother. He has impacted the decisions of others to pursue careers in special education. His own spirit of acceptance has fostered more inclusive thinking by others.
In general, he wants the same access to opportunities as anyone else wants, he wants health, he wants happiness, he wants to contribute to society in a meaningful way and he wants to have meaningful relationships with others. His mom shares that secretly, she thinks he wants to be a judge on Chopped, one of his favorite shows on the Food Network which he watches relentlessly.
For Nathan’s family, inclusion has meant having similar access as anyone else to the community, to education, to employment, to housing, to health care and to opportunities. For them, being empowered means having the tools, resources and skills needed to pursue interests, dreams, desires and basic rights. His mom shares “Easter Seals helped us to get off to a great start by providing Nathan with the therapies he needed, by educating his parents on how best to meet his needs and by advocating for his needs when he transitioned into school.”
Nathan has impacted the lives of many through his work, his volunteer work, his personality and his challenges. He touches everyone he meets.