“Even upon the water of trial and tribulation, by building the ships of kinship, fellowship, leadership and mentorship, we become unsinkable.” – Brian S Woods, The Codex Bellum III: The Observer Effect

For this issue we have some incredible Shining Stars. Solutions to Independence hosted an event at Salem Lake on May 18, 2018. It was a Youth Leadership Event, Aretha Moultie of WSFCS brought students from Mt Tabor, North Forsyth High School, and Main Street Academy.

We named the event Straight Fire, you might wonder why? Fire is youth-speak for “super cool” when something is “straight fire” it totally rocks. We wanted the students to be as excited about the event as we were. Our Administrative Assistant Patsy Stimpson registered each student, job coach, volunteer and WSFCS staff member. Each student received a t-shirt with the Straight Fire logo, an goodybag, and a lovely lunch and beverages.

Everyone was excited to see our Executive Director, Mark Steele who was recuperating from a recent surgery. He was having a great time with the students out on the obstacle course, courtesy of Riverwood Stables.

Our staff used games that focused on team building as well as an enhanced sense of self. We had BOLO, Corn Hole, Evy Crumb and Cindy Martin of Riverwood Stables conducted team building exercises outside on the porch with a beautiful view of Salem Lake.

After lunch we had three breakout sessions: Communication, Disability History, and Leadership. Jessica Urcuiolio, Keith Greearch and I led these activities. Educators and job coaches were onsite, this allowed students to receive one on one assistance. We had awesome volunteers, Brittant Goodson, Amanda Worley, Kalista Greenarch, Marlene and R.V. Kuser.

Straight Fire was a huge success! There was fun, learning, and fellowship. We had a total of 35 students, 27 volunteers, WSFCS staff, eagerly anticipating next year’s Straight Fire Event. Who knows it may be in your neighborhood??

I want to thank Mark Steele, ED for entrusting me with the responsibility of spearheading this event. My history is predominantly working with youth and creating this event was an honor. Changing lives is what Independent Living is all about! I can honestly say we touches lives. Great big thank you to our staff, volunteers, WSFCS, and the job coaches in attendance.

For information on youth services and other services please call! Empowerment of all youth is essential to our community and country. Regardless of disability we need to encourage our children from a young age to step up after the 7th fail, as the 8th can mean success.

Please call our office 336-767-7060 or email me dhennesy@solutionsforindependence.org.