FeelingUP not down

In most headlines, bad news seems to prevail. But in reality good news surrounds us. We just have to see through the darkness.  

In Stories to Inspire, American Life League’s Culture of Life Studies Program shares stories of hope from around the web. These may be about people who treat others with great respect, new inventions which help reveal the inherent dignity of disabled persons, or everyday heroes who stand up for the weak and marginalized.

Sometimes we feel like we are the only ones out there building a culture of life. We bring you these stories to show you that you are not alone. Share with your students, coworkers, neighbors, and friends. Join us as we celebrate the joys of everyday life and the people who bring these joys to us, and may you be inspired to build the culture of life in your daily interactions.

Be inspired by these wonderful people working to make a difference for people with disabilities.

An adventurous entrepreneur

Blake Pyron recently started his own snow cone business at the age of 20, making him the youngest entrepreneur in his town.

But that’s not all. Blake has Down syndrome. Like many parents of children with Down syndrome, Blake’s parents were told that their son would probably never lead a normal life. Blake’s parents wanted more for their son; they wanted Blake to live his dreams and they weren’t going to allow his disability to stand in his way. So when the barbeque restaurant where he worked closed, Blake’s family worked hard to find a job for Blake where he could interact with customers, which was no easy task in their small town. On Mother’s Day weekend, Blake’s Snow Shack opened its doors for business.

Society tells us that people with developmental disabilities should be aborted because they are not “perfect” and they may never benefit society. Blake and all other people with disabilities prove society wrong every day of their lives.

Down syndrome doesn’t get this kid down

When Deb and Frank Antonelli’s son Frankie was born with Down syndrome, they were depressed and scared. Finally Deb realized that she could either wallow in self pity or work to help Frankie rise above his limitations. She decided that she wanted Frankie to have all the opportunities that his brothers have. She didn’t want him sitting on the couch all day watching TV.

The Antonelli family is an inspiration because they refused to let Down syndrome define their son. It was an uphill battle to get Frankie the support he deserves in school, but now Frankie is a junior in high school, already applying to a college program for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

No man is an island. Human beings need each other’s help in order to grow. But with the love and dedication of a family, children of all abilities can thrive.

Free to be me

In 2009, ballet instructor Colleen Perry read an article about the Boston Ballet’s program for kids with Down syndrome. After reading the article, she felt an inner calling to start a similar program in Los Angeles. That’s when the Free 2 Be Me Dance program was born. Even though she had never worked with any children with Down syndrome before, Colleen wasn’t afraid to dive right in. Since 2010, the program has flourished and given children a chance to learn basic rhythms, coordination, and self expression.

Responding to others’ comments

When we overhear conversations between strangers which lower the dignity of others, do we come to their defense? It’s a tough call. How do we know what to do or what to say?

This dad was out shopping when he heard another father explaining to his sons that Down syndrome is “an illness of not knowing anything.” He was so shocked that he couldn’t respond. Because he has a son with Down syndrome, he felt like he let his own son down. His video response shows us what happens when we let opportunities like this slip by.

The next time you hear or see someone disrespecting the dignity of another person, remember that you might be the only pro-life witness in that situation. Don’t hesitate to speak in defense of someone. Our silence can hurt as much as unkind words or actions.

When at first you don’t succeed

When Maria Dellapina tried to get a pair of glasses that properly fit her daughter with Down syndrome, she came up against a roadblock. Eyeglass manufacturers thought there wasn’t a need. So she decided to invent some herself.

An optician by trade, Dellapina used her expertise in eyewear to create glasses that would fit the unique facial features of children and adults with Down syndrome or other special needs. Her company, Specs4us, has been creating these special frames since 2004.

Dellapina saw a need and she filled it using her own unique talents and gifts. Just think of what you could do with your talents to help reinforce the dignity of each human person. All it takes is courage, trust in God, and a little bit of elbow grease.

Know more Stories to Inspire? Send us your inspirational stories through our contact page or via clsp@all.org.

American Life League’s Culture of Life Studies Program emphasizes the culture of life as an integral part of every academic discipline. CLSP is dedicated to helping students become effective communicators of the pro-life message.