Meredith is an upbeat, positive, energetic person, proud of who she is and insistent I use her real name. Meredith has many interests and passions. She is a committed volunteer for the Starlight Foundation, an organization that grants wishes for children with serious illnesses; she is active in her church; and she is a mentor for teenage women with disabilities at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. Meredith enjoys riding her recumbent bike around town, playing with her animals, and listening to books on tape. Currently, she's in the middle of Edgar Rice Burroughs’s Tarzan. Majoring in Elementary Education and minoring in English, Meredith plans to pursue graduate studies in Special Education and hopes to teach young children in a fully-inclusive classroom.
Meredith has been an active member of the Illinois Youth with Disabilities Leadership Summit for the past eight years. In this annual conference, participants learn about disability history, advocacy, creative problem solving, and reflect on living a full life with a disability. In her first year at the Youth Summit, as a teenage participant, Meredith recalls proclaiming, “I am not a disabled person; I am a differently-abled person". Meredith was surprised by her leader’s response, “No, you are a person who is differently-abled”.
That statement profoundly resonated with Meredith. It just made sense in a way she hadn’t considered. Meredith told me, “I am a person with a brain injury, not a brain injury with a person - that sounds like a computer!”
Look for more stories from Meredith in future posts....