Tuesday, March 27, 2012

United Cerebral Palsy 2012 Attitude Dinner- teaches that a positive attitude means everything!

Logo for the Annual Attitude Dinner.  Love it!

For the last two years since working for the Arc of Indiana as the host of  "A View from My Window", I have had the pleasure of knowing the two rockstar ladies of the United Cerebral Palsy Association of Greater Indiana.  First, the amazing Executive Director Donna Roberts whom I interviewed on my show about what UCPAGI does, and second, Brandi Linn,  the incredible Development Director for the organization.  These two ladies are the driving force behind the organization that looks at people with disabilities and focuses on what they are ABLE to do!

They are cheerleaders beyond compare for people with disabilities - and not because that's what it says to do in their job descriptions, but because they both have a genuine heartfelt desire to see others succeed.  They are a team that helps reach that persons' ultimate goal: NOT to be defined by cerebral palsy!  In fact, every member of the UCPAGI team which forms the Board of Directors and Development Committee, have the same goal.

I look forward to the Attitude Dinner every year.  This night beautifully showcases every conceivable ability that people with disabilities possess and then giving them utter joy by recognizing the courage, effort and lessons they teach all people about how a persons' attitude, a positive attitude, can help them achieve goals and do what others may see as impossible!!  The Awards Ceremony is the best part,  LOTS of happy faces!! :)

I received the 2012 Character Award!
If that is not incredible enough, another feature of the dinner is the always anticipated essay contest, where elementary and middle school students in grades 3-8 share their refreshing perspectives on who people with disabilities really are.  These young writers have been able to look beyond the disabilities of others, based on their own experiences.  It always warms my heart to read the insightful, thought-provoking writings of these students!  If I was in school as a child now, I would be so grateful to have any one of these students in my class!  Thank you to the teachers and parents for teaching these bright young stars to look beyond what's different on the outside and see that it's what's on the inside that counts!

It was such an honor to receive the 2012 W. Thomas Schemmel Character Award as host of  "A View from My Window".  What a wonderful night!  The excitement was just like I was getting a Grammy!! Thank you so much!!

One aspect this year was different than years past.  Brandi Linn faced a serious health crisis when it was found that she had developed two brain aneurisms and was leaking spinal fluid.  After having brain surgery, her comeback was remarkable.  As Colin Vaughan described the account of her recovery in detail, there wasn't a dry eye in the house.  We are so happy to have our Brandi Linn back on her feet and healthy again!

With one Attitude Dinner in the books for this year, next year is another chance to be inspired by people helping people. What is the primary motivation for helping others? Attitude, Attitude, ATTITUDE is everything!

Michelle Fischer is host of A View from my Window,  an internet podcast produced by the Arc of Indiana

I wouldn't be the anchor I am without the wonderful staff of  the Arc of Indiana!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Ken Oguss- Inspiring others through the art of storytelling

Ken Oguss grew up in a family of storytellers. Its just what they did.  Everyday happenings would be turned into a story.  Storytelling was something that his mother told his older sister to teach him, allowing his imagination to be at its full potential!  Now, he uses that imagination that was allowed to grow during his childhood, and brings it to every aspect of what he does. Whether it was his job as a librarian, the host of Riley Children's Hospital's The Hello Show, or his new project which involves producing a series of Employment videos for the Arc of Indiana.  The focus is on finding meaningful employment for people with disabilities and he artfully and gracefully uses what gives him so much joy- the power of story!

What makes Ken so excited about storytelling?  He tells me:  "There are so many methods to telling a story....I get to be a film maker, an audio recorder, a photographer, a musician, a painter and an author".  These are the things that make Ken a master of the storytelling world and he uses these different tools to make the stories he tells come alive!

"Everyone has a story", he tells me, and Ken is just the person you want to tell your story to.  He really takes time to understand the kind of person you are, so he captures the essence of what makes you, YOU!

Capturing the essence of a person involves putting yourself in someone else's shoes and that is what Ken has done from the very start of getting this video project off the ground.  Even though some things are new, he's accepting the challenge because his desire is to show that people with disabilities are people that can offer many things to the community when they find meaningful employment.  That's something all of us desire, whether we have a disability or not.

Ken Oguss inspires others through storytelling, but who really gets inspired is the person who's story is being told, because the storyteller captures the unique art of storytelling with YOU in mind!

Learn more about Ken, the world of Digital Storytelling, and The Arc of Indiana's Video Project by checking out the links below!

http://web.me.com/kenoguss/Site/Storytelling.html -Get to know Ken Oguss!http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_storytelling- Learn about the world of Digital Storytelling!
http://www.arcind.org/news/?naid=88- Learn how your story can be featured in The Arc of Indiana's Video Project!

Michelle Fischer is host of A View fom my Window, an audiocast produced by The Arc of Indiana

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Disability Awareness Month reminds us to look at the Abilities of others!

Ah!  Disability Awareness Month is here!  It not only gives me a chance to tell my story, but it also gives people with disabilities from every state a chance to tell their story, and most importantly, turn the meaning of the word Disability into a word with a positive meaning.

The purpose is to show that people with disabilities aren't people who lack ability, but they abound with ability!  The amount of ability is in the eye of the beholder! 

What better way to show that ability than to live, work and play in the community, which is this year's theme!  Those who choose to recognize and support a person's abilities, show real courage and strength, especially when the trend has been the opposite. 

People with disabilities want to be the same as everyone else and being in the community helps them achieve that goal! 

This should be the goal of all of us EVERYDAY, not just when the calendar says: Disability Awareness Month, but striving everyday to see the ABILITIES of others- disabled or not.

Michelle Fischer is the host of "A View From My Window", an internet podcast, produced by the    Arc of Indiana.