Posts Tagged ‘Bethany Brianne Hall’

Successful people keep their eye on the goal. If they encounter obstacles, instead of focusing on the obstacle, they find a way around it by keeping their goal in mind. It is a mindset of courage which makes it easier to pursue success. (Dr. Anil Kumar Sinha)

Meet Diane Grover, mother of five, a beautiful person inside and out. Diane founded the International Down Syndrome Coalition. She also started the Grand Strand Down Syndrome Society. Now she has created Dreamers Merchants.

This is no ordinary business.

Most employers look at appearances when hiring, even if that bias is subconscious. Somewhere between 17% and 20% of people with disabilities are employed. Diane’s mission is to change that statistic. She does more than hire—she gives these individuals a living wage and recognizes their dignity. In Diane’s blog, Cheerful Persistence, September 2015, she celebrates the definition of dignity.

I applaud people who realize that dignity is innate. It is not the exclusive property of the genius, the wealthy, the gifted, the privileged… In fact, sometimes the educated individual teaches biased info. My friend, Bethany Brianne Hall, helped to clarify some of that misinformation with one of her college professors.

“Genetics and Statistics show that all people with Down syndrome will not attend college. It is nearly impossible for them,” he stated in the context of his lecture.

Bethany did not sit still and fume. She responded with statistics. After class. Bethany was fortunate. Her prof heard her out.

“Do you know who Angela Bachiller is?” she asked. Knowing the question was rhetorical, Bethany continued. “She was the world’s first person with Down syndrome to hold public office. She lives in Spain. Tim Harris owns his own restaurant. And Sujeet Desai, a musician, went to college. He earned a 4.3 average. These are only a few examples.” Bethany suggested that he update his statistics. Perhaps if she had appeared confrontational in front of the other students he may have been defensive. It is hard to say in hindsight.

Then she shared her experience on Facebook. I smiled the width of my face. Perhaps wider. The links in the previous paragraph lead to these persons’ stories. Desai mesmerizes an audience with his music. Tim dances his way to his restaurant. Angela Bachiller’s photo shows a woman either patronized or ignored in public settings. Wrong! She is a public leader and servant.

I smile again now. Diane Grove is destroying the myth that the handicapped are poor workers and less-than individuals.

Di’s youngest daughter, Mary Ellen, has Down syndrome. She calls herself ME. Me! The same pronoun we all use to refer to our inner selves. And that self is incredibly beautiful—no matter how many chromosomes it carries.

Seven of Diane’s Dreamers Merchants stores opened on October 5. There are now eight stores. Freshly ground coffee can be ordered online. A great gift.

“Maybe, just maybe,” Diane says, “the world is hearing us.”

dreamers coffee10072015_0000

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To find someone who will love you for no reason, and to shower that person with reasons, that is the ultimate happiness. (Robert Brault)

Several years ago Jay and I were at the Y kiddie pool with Ella when the children from the special-needs class had their outdoor time.

“Ella looks like she could be Payton’s little sister,” one of the teachers commented.

The resemblance was amazing: blonde, blue-eyed girls, both with loveable auras. I found myself watching Ella’s look-alike and telling her she was incredible, but not to drink the pool water. A grandmother’s kind of response.

Recently I met the beautiful lady who calls herself Payton’s sister. She isn’t. Sisters aren’t always this close. Bethany has babysat for Payton since she was considered legally old enough to be a responsible child. Their meeting was a coincidence, or as one of my friends calls it, a God-incidence.

Bethany’s mother delivered frozen food to people who had difficulty picking it up. She knew Payton’s family because she had worked as an assistant at her school, but had been laid off during a financial cutback. Bethany had just happened to be tagging along when her mother made the delivery.  Bethany’s mother treated each child in the school as a valuable individual. Therefore, Bethany learned respect for all persons naturally.  Three-year-old Payton could easily reach her with the beauty of her spirit. A relationship developed.

Bethany could love Payton for no reason and shower her with reasons.

Payton does not speak. When she was six years old she was tested for autism. She has both autism and Down syndrome. These limitations do not stop her from being a good friend and an A-plus example of unconditional love.

Bethany has chosen to act as Payton’s legal guardian. Will this be difficult at times? Maybe, maybe not. No worthwhile choice is without risk.

Recently I spoke to someone who doesn’t know Ella. I told her about our granddaughter’s open heart surgery. The woman nodded, with me until I mentioned Down syndrome. Then came the stepped-back oh-I’m-sorry look. Neither Ella nor Payton are their tripled chromosome any more than my essence is summed up in my height, weight, or allergic status.

Meet Bethany and Payton. And find blessings.

collage made by Bethany in honor of National Down Syndrome Day

Bethany and Payton collage

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