Class of 2013
Action Group Project: Transportation
Favorite Topic: Legislative Weekend
What you were doing before starting Leadership?
I graduated Leadership in 2013, and when I started, I was still in high school. Before Leadership I was doing a bunch of volunteer work for a couple of organizations – Community Bridges and Partners in Health.
How did you hear about Leadership?
I heard about it through Community Bridges. One of the Coordinators nominated me.
What made you apply?
I heard it was a great program, and always wanted to open up my learning and get as many experiences as I could, to better understand the disability process and services.
What were you hoping to learn from Leadership?
Know the process for applying for services, what services were available, and better know the legislative process.
What else did you do while you were participating in Leadership?
I was still in high school at the beginning of Leadership. I also spent time volunteering with a few organizations, and I joined a special education advisory committee because of someone I met through Leadership.
What was your favorite part of Leadership?
The Legislative Weekend. We met with legislators. I got to talk with them and learned how laws come into effect, the most effective way to contact them, and about current bills that were being voted on. It was really informative, giving you a boost of knowledge about what is happening legislatively, because looking at legislation, it can make you overwhelmed, and having that weekend made it not so scary.
What are you currently doing?
I am working part-time at Walmart, full-time at an animal hospital here in town, and I am in college to become a veterinary technician, which is an Associates Degree. I’m still on the Council for Community Bridges and Partners in Health. I’m still on the special education advisory committee, and I do speeches and talks around the state about disabilities, and how you can to further your life while having a disability and making it so that it isn’t a limitation that stops you from doing what you want to do.
How does Leadership impact you today?
It gave me the skills to use my voice effectively – turning anger into action. Instead of being angry about something and not being able to do anything effectively, I now have the skills and knowledge to make positive change happen.
What are your goals for the future?
One of my goals is to get my Associates Degree to become a Veterinary Technician, get my teaching license for CPR/First Aid to become an Instructor, and advance in the veterinary field.
What do you wish you knew about Leadership before starting?
Knowing about it sooner. I started when I was 20, but it still would have been useful sooner. It was a great experience.
Why should other people participate in Leadership?
It opens your eyes to different things, you get the experience of people who have fought battles that you weren’t around for, and you get to speak to people who have done the fight, so that when you’re fighting your own fight – for services or other things – so you can have the knowledge under your belt and the skills to be successful.
You can view clips from John's interview here.