When I was young and growing up with disabilities, I wanted to be treated the same as everyone else. I felt like people perceived me as a weak, helpless and misfortunate person. Because of this, I felt discouraged, downsized and sad but I always kept these feelings to myself. I tried not to engage in any conversations, I avoided crowded places, and I hid my sadness by smiling at everyone I came across. When I would get home, that big smile turned into deep sadness and tears. I had to deal with classmates constantly saying inappropriate and hurtful comments and I started to feel scared and unsafe growing up in a society that judges and disrespects others for being different.
As I was growing up, I couldn’t participate in certain sports because I was different and they thought that I was not good enough. They never even took the time to give me a chance. My early childhood and teenage years left a big scar on my heart and truly changed my perception about life. It had a huge impact on my personality, character, and even affected my nervous system causing stress and depression. Sometimes, I would think about how I didn’t want to live in such a mean and cold world. I completely lost my self-esteem and motivation to explore the world because everywhere I went, people stared at me or called me names. I wanted to run away and be invisible so no one could see me.
Through all of this, life situations taught me to be strong and stand up for myself. Eventually I became tired of the sorrow and sadness; I wanted to be happy like everyone else seemed to be. Eventually, I decided to be a hero of my own life and not a victim. I accepted myself and others, and every day I practiced gratitude in every moment of my life. I went above and beyond by participating in competitive sports, dance, yoga, and got accepted into the George Washington University at the age of 16 with two majors and a minor. Now I am the founder and President of National Integrative Wellness and Resource Center. The goal of this organization is to help improve the lives of others, especially children and youth with special needs. I dedicated my heart to pursue my dreams and passion despite all my past experiences. I was inspired to create this charitable organization devoted to the dreams of children, youth and adults with special needs through unfolding their talents, creativity, gifts, and amazing abilities so that they can grow.
The goal of the organization is to educate people about disabilities, create positive attitudes at a young age, facilitate more interaction between children with and without disabilities, create opportunities for disabled people, and offer all possible tools for individuals with special needs to be successful and enjoy life. I want to encourage disabled people to find and express their talents. I believe that every person was born with unique gifts. I have tried to create a nourishing and safe environment for others to shine and open up. I want National Integrative Wellness and Resource Center to be a dreamland for all individuals to discover their dreams, gifts, and talents.
Here are some examples of programs we have offered:
The shine up dance and movement program- this program was focused on social engagement, sharing, relationship forming, and improvement of motor ability. Children showed progress in self-awareness, engagement with others, coping skills, and movement improvement.
Sunshine yoga and mindfulness- These sessions included a sequence of yoga poses, breathing techniques, positive self-therapy, and mindful relaxation techniques designed to inspire mind and body alignment while increasing stamina and balance.
A jewelry-making class
A talent show (our second one is coming up in May)
Field trips to a beautiful waterfall, the zoo, movie theater, and hikes in the mountains
A drumming class
Birthday celebration packages
We offer monthly meetings for children, youth, and adults with special needs.
We offer these and more camps and programs but overall, our goal is to develop heart-centered programs that are practical and designed to awaken an individual’s mind, and support the entire developmental process. Our teaching approach is to always create a criticism-free environment that allows everyone to express themselves while inspiring their imagination and resourcefulness. We are constantly looking out for the interests, talents, and gifts of every person. It cannot be overstated: based on our philosophy, each and every individual is truly unique—a frontier of the mind and heart that deserves dedicated care and education.