As some of you are aware one of the members of our team/my older sister has Down syndrome. When Jessica was in school she attended our local Special Olympics and competed with/against other students with special needs within our own school district as well as the surrounding districts.
This event has always held a special place in not only Jessica’s heart but in our family’s. If there is a Special Olympics local to you, you really should make a point to attend. Even if it’s just for an hour. This event is so fun but also so humbling. There are children and young adults of all ages from different schools and districts competing in various events (such as track, softball throw, long jump, etc) for place ribbons. Even though these young people are competing they are incredibly supportive of one another. You will see students standing on the sidelines cheering on their peers and sometimes kids that they don’t even know. For me as a child I learned a lot by being on the bleachers and cheering my sister on. Watching these kids support each other taught me what being a good and supportive friend was and also taught me about kindness and humbleness.
I attended everyone of Jessica’s Special Olympics since I was very young all the way up to Jessica’s graduation. When Jessica graduated high school she was no longer able to attend the Special Olympics since it is designed for school age children. Numerous years have gone by that we have not been able to watch her participate; as the years have gone by for one reason or another there is no longer a local Special Olympics so our school district and some of the surrounding districts no longer are able to participate.
Within the last few years the Life Skills teacher at our local high school from the Special Olympics back with the “Hawk Olympics” (our mascot is a Hawk) which not only includes the children within the district who have special needs but also the children who are in learning support classes. This event is not just for our district though; she has taken is a step further and included other districts in the day. So essentially; it’s the Special Olympics by a different name.
My younger brother is in learning support classes so he is able to attend the Hawk Olympics as an athlete. This year was Hank’s second year attending and our second year cheering him and his peers on. As the Hawk Olympics approached this year Jessica expressed a desire to want to donate or do something for the students of our school district. We eventually landed on the idea of making the students water bottles. So Jessica and I sat down and worked on making a personalized water bottle for each Hawk student who would be attending. We are both so proud of how they turned out and so proud of our school’s students for all their hard work and team work that they displayed during the Hawk Olympics.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Special Olympics you can check out their website here.
**Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored nor is it affiliated with the Special Olympics organization or the Hawk Olympics. The views expressed in this post are the views of the author.
So as some of you may or may not know, our Etsy shop is owned and run by myself, my mother Lisa, and my father Dennis. But what I’m sure many of you don’t know is that my older sister Jessica has been extremely supportive of our business and has also been eager to get involved herself.
So….meet my big sister Jessica!
She is a 30 year old young woman with Down syndrome.
I want to tell you a little bit about Jessica. She loves old tv shows and movies; specifically Westerns and Andy Griffith and Matlock, I Love Lucy and MASH. She loves to play video games specifically Wii Resort and dancing games (she can out dance all of us!). Jess loves to color, draw, read, and to write; as she’s gotten older these interests have grown and developed into the desire to make things for others.
Jessica loves to make crafts for her friends and her family and has recently shown an interest in expanding her DIY skills to be a part of the family business. We have begun the process of researching out ideas that she would be able to do to contribute to our little business and she is very excited to share all of her crafts with our customers and you guys!
Anything that is made by Jessica will come with a handwritten thank you note from her. She puts lots of love, care, and attention to detail in everything that she creates. Aside from wanting to be a more active member of our family business she has also developed a very deep interest in gardening and cooking (two interests I believe she inherited from our parents and our Poppop). Santa gave her her very own cookbook for Christmas and she’s already been receiving planting catalogs in the mail. Her goal for this summer is to build her very own driveway farm stand where she can sell some of her vegetables and flowers to the neighbors and family.
We have so many exciting things in store for Jessica this year; she is such an important member of our family and you’ll be seeing her pop up frequently throughout our blog posts as well as our shop.
Here are some pictures of Jessica with some of her creations!
Some of you may know that a member of our team (and my big sister) has Down syndrome and while she has higher functioning Down syndrome there still are things that she may struggle with on an everyday basis compared to others. I work with Murry to help her learn how to do the simpler things that a “typical” 30 year old woman does.
One of the topics we have been focusing on recently is chores around the house. I have discovered that like many other people with developmental disabilities it is hard for Murry to recall how to do a task if there’s been a significant amount of time since she last did the task. One of the areas where we particularly have struggled with this has been doing laundry; she usually does her laundry one day a week and by the next week would have to be retaught portions of the task because she’d forget.
Because I know this is something that affects many people who have developmental disabilities or delays and because I believe that everyone deserves to feel as normal as they possibly can, I have been coming up with some guides to help Murry and people like her tackle everyday tasks a little easier.
So now it’s time to introduce my very first guide!
I firstly want to explain the guide. As I said above I initially made this as a helping hand for my sister so that she can do her laundry on her own without her having to ask for help each time or needing reminders. But I have also discovered that parents who are teaching their young children how to do chores and do laundry have found this guide equally beneficial.
The majority of people find it easier to learn, relate things, and understand when different colors and fonts are involved so I have organized the guide by varying fonts and colors. So as you can see from the photos that the word whites is written in a white font, colors in multi-color font, and so forth. The last page of the guide includes a few stickers/labels that can be used to identify what goes where. So we have a label for soap, softener, dryer sheets, and smaller color-coded labels that reflect the water temperature settings.
Murry has gotten great use out of this guide and I hope that you do too. If you would like use to use different colors or to put someone’s name on it (Murry’s Laundry Chart for example) I would be more than happy to do so and without any extra cost. To purchase the guide and to look at it a little more closely follow this link.
This is a downloadable PDF file so when you purchase and download it you won’t necessarily have stickers but if you go to any local dollar store or convenient store you can by a small pack of printable labels that should easily do the trick when you print them. You can also simply tape the labels onto their respective items.
Let us know what you think of the guide in the comments below and if you have any questions about it feel free to leave it in the comments or to contact us on Etsy!