November 8, 2012
I would like to thank this organization for seeing my disabled status. I've always viewed my recovery from a three-month coma as beneficial. Many state & national organizations that promote the abilities of the disabled, do such while using terms that are disrespectful & criminal because they destroy human potential. I approached Mrs. McBride of the El Dorado Boys & Girls Club & told her I would like to give a demonstration program on the challenges I face, now, as aresult of not wearing a helmet at age 12 in 1977. The program is entitled "Challenged Conquistadors, Inc." where we do two things: promote a positive/beneficial perspective for those surviving cognitive challenges/brain injuries (which is our nations #1 disability among children) since injury is negatively defined like disabled, retarded, etc., which create a legal disability environment & we strongly promote the benefits of wearing a helmet, since not wearing one cost me the opportunity of my dreams to be in the Olympics & the Air Force. Mrs. McBride loved the idea, this was in 2010. As a result of starting here, I've been allowed to do positive presentations regarding the power of a positive perspective regarding self-esteem/self-concept at head starts, boy scouts, civic clubs, churches, schools, colleges, libraries, Wal Marts-bike area, stressing importance of helmets by sharing personal recovery & challenges imposed, etc. I started this effort in 1978, but due to the image of those with brain injuries, few listened to me. However, when I joined the Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) team at Southern Arkansas University (SAU) in 1995, Dr. Rankin, Ph.D., believed in my recovery & my competence. This allowed our team to win regional finalists in 1995 & regional champions in 1996. Both years my presentations got standing ovations from the corporate judges. During 1995 while at SAU, my program was recognized as lead presenter for the 1995 Kappa Delta Pi International Honors Society, where H. Gardner of Harvard spoke on our multiple intelligences. I addressed the linguistic intelligence (word smart). The SAU Professor Emertius Ida Flemister wrote an article about our (CC & SAU) work and referenced it to H. Gardners book The Unschooled Mind. I realize this is back ground information, but it shows that from 1997-2009, I or we were not listened too & how many lives could have been saved by wearing a helmet. Web Pages: 1) www.headtohead.org/?art=255; 2) volunteer.uark.edu/org/10544471819.html; 3) www.youtube.com/watch?v=inmBE1sus90; 4) http://www.positive-personal-growth.com/challenged-conquistador-inc.html
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