Alanna is a junior at homestead high school. For a long time, she struggled to accept herself, feeling she failed to meet the conditional high standards society sets for acceptance. When she first became involved in the community, she felt an immediate connection to the individual with disabilities. While working in that arena, she met Emily. Emily is a young woman with Down Syndrome and has quickly become her best friend. Ironically, this adolescent who is classically labeled as imperfect has shown Alanna how to appreciate life in a way she otherwise would never have known. Emily is an inspiration - she looks at herself and sees beauty regardless of the criticism society invokes. Alanna looks at Emily and sees the biggest heart along with a young adult who loves herself for who she is. Her connection with Emily has made her acutely aware of how fortunate she is. Rather than find fault in herself, Emily has taught Alanna to recognize and embrace her uniqueness and strengths. Alanna is very grateful to have a friendship with this incredible young woman.
Alanna is determined to promote Emily’s message of self-respect and love of oneself, in the lives of all children. Specifically, she wants all Individuals with disabilities to be able to recognize their internal beauty and appreciate their outward uniqueness which may differ from a stereotypical media look. We are on the cusp of an exciting break-through where we will bring exercise to this community. In that regard, exercise is a very powerful tool in this process. It’s a universal discipline that promotes health and in turn, a stronger individual. Alanna truly believes by making exercise accessible to all, we can positively change the lives of these individuals. Together we will accomplish greatness.