My Credo

November 19, 2009
By kaylina.hartman BRONZE, Houston, Texas
kaylina.hartman BRONZE, Houston, Texas
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

I was eleven years old when I realized I wanted to be just like Vivecca, my mom. I did not realize how dedicated my mother was to helping special needs children until I watched her advocate on the news for their rights to their own school. As I watched her I realized if I could be as passionately determined in my life as she was in hers, then I could become influential just like her. Who would think that a woman standing at just five feet two inches could have as much persistence as she does? With her corky personality and little body, it is unexpected that Vivecca could be so influential on young children, but with her “make it happen” attitude she manages to better the education of special needs kids. At the age of twenty-four my mother had Christopher, my deaf and blind younger brother. Having a deaf-blind child alone is difficult, but having one at such a young age and still managing to help others, has had an impact on me that I will always remember.

In 2002, I watched my mother save Christopher’s school, Bendwood, that was scheduled to be torn down. She started by attending school meetings three times a week, and taking time off work to gather information. She knew she was going to save Bendwood; she was just looking for the most effective path that would leave people aware and understanding of Bendwood. She moved on to the school district meetings where ignorant parents from other schools, voiced their opinion. They made her task harder by voting against her and saying discouraging things like "Special needs children do not need their own school. They should be treated like every other child." Even with the setbacks other parents brought, she did not get discouraged. Staying positive, she continued to make the need for Bendwood known by getting other special needs parents involved. Determined, she went to those higher than the school district and to the local news station to cover the story. With higher authority on her side and the majority of Houston, the school was saved and she became known in the school district as a woman who got her way. Her experiences with Bendwood have influenced me in every aspect of my life. They have made me persistent to do my best in sports by chasing after the soccer ball even when I think I have lost it, to make good grades by never settling for a B when I know I can make an A. She has mostly influenced me in my relationships with others; she has taught me through her passion for children that if you have a passion for people in need you will be able to go to great lengths to help them.

A few years latter my mother took on the task of changing the state regulated teaching of deaf blind children. My family has been in DBMAT, Deaf Blind Multi-handicapped Association of Texas, for 10 years so we know about the importance of interveners, special one-on-one teachers for deaf-blind children. There are many uninformed families because in America interveners were not recognized as a necessity for children under eighteen. Therefore they were not recognized by Texas Education Agency, and were not paid the salary a trained intervener deserves; on top of it all there is not a college program for interveners! However, my mother worked and continues to work to change this because she knows the importance of an effective intervener. She first witnessed an effective intervener the summer before my freshman year when she was looking for an opportunity to help Christopher. After being informed of a Canadian school with intervener training, she hired an intervener who was fresh out of George Brown College with an intervener degree. The intervener improved Christopher’s life drastically in only a month and a half. Seeing the trained intervener's abilities, my mother knew that all children starting at a young age should be entitled to have a trained teacher through the school system. After the experience with the trained intervener, my mother got to work on getting them into schools. My mother along with a few other DBMAT parents took only a year to make three of these things happen. She and other parents enlisted their political figures nearby and together they made two bills: one lowering the age a child is granted an intervener from 18 to birth and the other granting appropriate pay to interveners based on their training. Then they met with the Texas Education Agency, TEA, making interveners officially recognized in the school systems. She is currently working on the last issue of intervener schooling. As I participate with my mother in her tasks by going to the state capital with her to appeal the bills and supporting her by standing strong by her side, I see her determination to bring interveners into schools and it has influenced me by leading me in my own path. When I see my mother working so hard for disabled children it pulls at my heart telling me that I want to help needy children no matter the lengths I will have to go.

My mother has planted a passion for children and a determination to help them in me. Having a disabled child caused her to want to help disabled children and as I have watched her it has caused me to want to help sick children. After my mom saved Bendwood, I realized I wanted to help children. Ever since then I have been looking for a way I can help them. Then when I was a freshman I discovered how I will help them by putting the experiences with my mom together with the death of my grandma, Tata. Tata died of Lymphoma when I was in fourth grade, and five years later when we were taking flowers to the cemetery I realized I want to be a children's cancer doctor. Cancer has affected me with my Tata and children have effected me through watching my mom. I know that I will become a pediatric oncologist, just as my mother knew she would save Bendwood. Seeing how persistent she was to save Bendwood has caused me to want to help others the way she has. I will be persistent to help my patients no matter the hardships we will face together. As my mother was determined to get interveners in the school systems I am determined to get through med school successfully and become a pediatric oncologist. Due to my mother, I have come to believe that no matter what challenges I may face I can always make it through them if I am persistent and determined.

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