365 days. 30 amazing podcast guests. 8 speaking engagements in 8 cities, 3 countries and 2 continents. 2 children's books. 1 online accessible travel company partnership. 1 university partnership in a lab that specializes in creating prototypes for start-up companies. And 54 blogposts later...
These are the humble results of one year's work at TGOW. And I cannot claim them as even my own work. My amazing interns and volunteers have been a tremendous source of motivation and inspiration for me. They've picked me up when the weight of the slow progress pushed me down. They believed in my vision for TGOW when I could not handle the unpredictability of the future. They've worked alongside with me when I've encountered obstacles that have made me question my goals.
Today, I want to share with you the amazing contributions of these beautiful souls. Wayne Markel, although we are generations apart, is always ready to answer questions and/or resolve any technical issues I may have with my website. Marena Mikkelson -- who is not only raising a toddler but also juggling multiple jobs to make ends meet for her family -- was always ready to resolve website issues and do graphic design work for TGOW. Jade Mendoza -- who is also not only raising a rambunctious and energetic son, but also working part-time jobs -- has stuck with me through the good times and rough times with the illustration of my first children's book. Bridget Keaveney -- who is battling personal challenges of her own, working part-time jobs to make ends meet, and in the midst of finishing her first bachelors degree -- has had a perfectionist's eye when working for TGOW.
As some of you may remember, Bridget was an intern for TGOW in the winter/fall. She believed in the mission of TGOW so much that she came back to illustrate the second children's book I wrote. And then there is Lauren Brown, who is not only dealing with personal challenges, but also juggling a busy job. No matter how many missed deadlines or how many times I became frustrated, her loyalty and dedication to TGOW has been undeniable. I won't be able to thank every single person that has contributed to TGOW over the course of this year, because that list would be far too long. Therefore, I do hope that you will not hold it against me if your name is not up here. It is carved in my heart. And I will be forever grateful. The results in the first paragraph are just as much yours as they are mine.
For all of you who have I've named above and for those who I haven't, the progress in that first paragraph is because of you. It's because of you I've gone as far as I have. It's because of you I've kept that TGOW torch alive and moving forward with our mission. It's truly because of you. Thank you for showing me what "service above self" looks like.
My ultimate goal is to create a world where individuals with disabilities interact seamlessly with the able body population, where there is no discrimination, no stereotyping, no physical barriers and filled with kindness, compassion, empathy, and enriching dialogue between the disabled and able-body community. The interaction is so seamless that the difference is embraced and no foreign/scary feeling is between us. And it is also such that the physical infrastructure supports multiple vantage points of living the human life. At TGOW, we seek to do this by providing services and products to wheelchair users to be as mobile, worldly, and active as possible.
And so the journey continues... We hope to be that much closer to our vision by this time next year during our two year anniversary.