Guest post by Ms. Harvey V. Chua, Makati, Manila, Philippines (Note from Judy. I am an amateur photographer and a Facebook fan of Harvey's husband, professional photographer John K. Chua. These wonderful people are involved many charities, including Visually Impaired Photographers. It's difficult to pinpoint one organization or community because they are all over the place spreading love and laughter. When I read the following, I knew I wanted to have it as a guest post, because I know the truth of Harvey's conclusion. This post is for everyone who has tried to help someone and in the end, wondered if their actions and words made any kind of an impression.) Meeting a former Adphoto photographer: while Kathy, John G and I were walking towards Mother Care at the Fort, we chanced upon a former Adphoto employee whom I had not seen since he left, about five years ago. I could not believe how he reacted to seeing me. He hugged me for a long time, and if I had not wriggled my way out of his tight embrace, he would not have let go, and when he did, he was in tears. I was deeply touched. Then he showed me pictures on his iPhone of his four-month old son. All I could say was, "Imagine that - you're now a father! To think that you were a kid when we took you in!" He was a student at La Salle, taking up computer science when he came to do OJT, and after the program, he refused to go back to school, and pleaded with us to hire him as an assistant. We did. When he was with us, he devoured all that John shared about photography. John never withholds when he teaches an apprentice, so this young man learned a lot. But the lessons that I tried to impart - on the business side, on marketing, on developing presentation and negotiation skills were lost on him - like many photographers, he was not interested. He stayed with us a few years, maturing as a photographer. He is now on his own, and I can imagine that whenever he faced business challenges, he probably heard my voice in his head. I suppose those lessons remained dormant while he was with us, like data that is inputted into a computer but simply ignored, but now that he is not only a photographer but also a business person, he discovers that it was there -has always been there - for him to retrieve. No lesson is really ever lost - when the right time comes, it will be used - this is what I love about teaching, and that was the affirmation that I received last night. 🙂
I've lived in Peoria for quite some time, and it's a wonderful community. Always has been. It came into its own under the leadership of Mayor John Keegan, and from that time on has skyrocketed, but carefully. Peoria is a class act. I've used a number of its services and the employees and managment are excellent. More Upper Education Coming to Peoria Residents recently learned that the city of Peoria has entered into exclusive negotiating agreements with Huntington University and The College of St. Scholastica to explore the establishment of their respective programs as part of a university consortium in Peoria. The schools are looking to offer complementary undergraduate and graduate degrees in nursing, occupational therapy, physical therapy, exercise science, and digital media as well as a variety of other programs that are in line with Peoria's 2010 Higher Education Feasibility Study, and Economic Development Implementation Strategy (EDIS). Exciting news. Training in the medical field is needed, and often the waiting list is too long. And another university is coming to Peoria: Trine University. Trine will open a branch campus near Thunderbird Rd and 83rd Ave by 2013. Trine is a private, non-denominational institution that grants associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees in more than 35 programs on campus, online, and at regional education centers. Peoria Now Newsletter Just got the Peoria Now newsletter for November, and it has some good tips for staying safe during the holiday shopping season. Here are the tips:
- Don't carry more than absolutely necessary in a purse.
- Be alert and walk with a purpose. The bad guys seek distracted, inattentive shoppers. If possible, shop with a friend. There is safety in numbers.
- Carry a cell phone and be prepared to call the police in case of an emergency.
- Thieves often scout food courts. Don't leave unattended handbags, gifts, etc.
- Don't leave valuables, packages, and recent purchases in plain sight in the vehicle.
- Pay attention to surroundings and if uncomfortable go back to the store or mall and ask to be escorted to your vehicle by security.
- Park vehicles in a well-lit area. Have keys ready and look over your car as you approach to make sure everything is okay.
Last Thursday I had the honor of being present at the Arizona court of Appeals Division One Investiture of Randall M. Howe. I've known Randy for years as a fellow board member of Arizona Center for Disability Law, and he was president at the time he was given this honor. The ceremony was held at the Disability Empowerment Center. The center itself is remarkable, and well worth visiting. The ceremony was wonderful: emotionally moving, and (for me) educational. After the ceremony, we went to the reception in the Virginia G. Piper Sports and Fitness Center. We were in one-half of the entire gymnasium, which is a work of art. The entire facility is breathtaking. When I think of people like Virginia Piper and Nina Pulliam who gave so generously to support the community in so many different ways, I stand in awe of them. But I digress. Seeing a person of the caliber of Randy Howe sworn in to the Court of Appeals is a moment I will always treasure. We as citizens are blessed to have Randy Howe on the bench.
Guest post by Debbie Lurie My fifteen-year-old son has been on an academic program in Israel since January 29, 2012. He returned home in early June 2012. He completed the second half of tenth grade in Jerusalem on the TRY program. He received accolades for his helpfulness and kindness to those in need. How did he get to this place in his life? In first grade, in Hebrew Day School, where I taught English, both his Hebrew and English teachers came to me on the same day (unknown to each other) and told me that they wondered why such a bright child couldn’t write. Two school districts fought over who would NOT have to test my child, as the school was in one district and we lived in another. We forced testing by one district who stated he had no issues. We forced testing by the other district who stated he needed help with a lisp and help with fine motor skills (including handwriting). The second district indicated they would not help him until third grade, giving us numerous excuses. We went to our community services school, for which we pay taxes, and they claimed they could not help as an outpatient. I know numerous people in our exact position who received many services. We could get none. Our neurologist told us that if we waited until third grade to deal with the lisp, it would be permanent. We paid out-of-pocket for someone to come to our house to work with our son. The expense was worth it. The speech therapist was wonderful and our child has no lisp. We also paid an OT to come to the house to work with him. His scissor and other fine motor skills improved, and his handwriting became just legible, which was a big improvement. After navigating the so-called system, on the advice of my son’s psychiatrist who treated his ADD, we paid a lawyer $10,000 merely to get a 504 for my son. It cost another $10,000 to get irrefutable testing done to obtain the 504. The Hebrew Day School teachers were not agreeable to the suggestions to help my son, so we pulled him from the school after fifth grade. He’d been bullied and treated poorly. It is a shame: I worked at the school and the education was good – as long as the child fit the mold. (I pray I am a different type of teacher, as I try to teach to each child’s learning style.) Some teachers in public school worked with the 504. Many said my son was lazy. He has ADD, Executive Function Disorder, dyspraxia , and dysgraphia. It was no surprise when the district psychiatrist told us he had an anxiety issue! In seventh grade, the district came to us and told us my son needed an IEP! We had told them that $20,000 ago. Even with the IEP, some teachers did not follow the accommodations. “He just has to work harder.” “He has to pay attention.” “If we coddle him now, how will he learn to do the work for himself?” I was aghast when I heard these statements. The problem was that my son is excellent verbally. He can answer most questions and speak an essay. But he cannot write it on paper! He is very social and popular. He is handsome and looks like a very normal child. I believe those reasons are why some teachers would not take the IEP seriously. Those teachers who listened to our suggestions and learned about my son were amazingly successful. Those who forced him to sit and take notes (notes provided was an accommodation) saw failure. One fantastic science teacher would let my son be the one to get items and run errands to offices. He kept my child busy and the payoff was amazing. My son loved the teacher and the class and did quite well. Now he's in high school, and more teachers believe in his disabilities and the IEP. I meet with the guidance counselor and any teacher who does not honor the IEP, or who chastises my son for his disabilities. After one or two meetings, the teachers seem to catch on. In junior high, I twice had him removed from classrooms. In both cases, he improved by at least two letter grades in less than a month. A teacher can make the world of difference. Resource room is only valuable if the teacher is good. Otherwise, it is a waste of time. (In junior high resource, my son could not do homework and had to wait for the teacher to get to him to do anything except sit and read! It was a joke.) In the beginning of this year – tenth grade – we found out he had a visual disability that affected his reading. It is no wonder he hated reading! He is using a computer program to help with that issue and it is helping. (I have no idea why no eye doctor or the school didn’t discover this.) We suggested the software program, Dragon Naturally Speaking to our son numerous times before he agreed to try it. Once he felt it was his choice, he embraced the program. We are grateful it exists. There is more, though I think the above gives a good idea of the difficulties one can face. So much for No Child Left Behind! My child was allowed to fall through the cracks. It is my full-time job to advocate for him. He is doing much better now. I got myself on district and school committees and got to know the principal and other administrators. I made sure I was on committees that could make a difference and where I could explain what we went through, and try to prevent those difficulties for others. Our high school principal is a wonderful man who has many concerns with the current system. He tries his best to do well for the students within the parameters he must work. The TRY group participated in a weeklong Gadna experience (Israeli army training) and my son earned the Most Excellent Soldier award out of 55 participants. One of his crowning moments was being chosen as Rosh (head) of the program’s big barbeque. He had never barbequed prior to this trip! On one call home, he told me he labeled the shelves on his closet. What an incredible step for him. He scored over 100% on all sections of his Hebrew exam and earned A’s and B’s in his secular studies. His one C was in the Israel Core Course, as he did poorly on the midterm. It is interesting to note, that the ICC teacher is the only one who did not tackle concerns as they occurred (missed homework assignments) and felt my son was not motivated! My son is thrilled with his grades! We are proud parents. Disabilities did not keep him from being independent, responsible, and faring for himself. This program stressed that students had to have the ability to be independent as coddling was not an option (and they weren’t coddled). It was not always easy and we dealt with homesickness and his having to buck up at times; however, he shined and has become an incredibly confident and capable young man. He even gained twelve pound of muscle! The educational system is flawed, and every parent must be watchful and advocate for their child. If we listened to the “system,” imagine where our child would be now.