Changing lives from experience

Posted on May 31, 2019

It’s so inspiring to see young people stepping out of their comfort zones to make a difference. One doesn’t have to look far to see a young person who is committed to changing the life one… or many. Eagle Valley High School senior Yitzel Obeso-Ramos took inclusion, an issue she’s worked with for years, and made it her capstone project that will grow and resonate for years to come.

Yitzel’s senior capstone project, Exceptional Needs Awareness Day, was dedicated to creating a place where families felt safe and welcome, they could learn about resources in the community, and connect with each other.

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Inclusion is close to her heart, as Yitzel has a family member with multiple disabilities. Yitzel has witnessed the challenges of accessing resources for families of individuals with disabilities (especially when there is a language barrier), as hers has attempted to navigate these resources for years. She also understands the isolation that can burden some families as they struggle to connect with families and the community, shares Shannon Peterson, MA, Instructional Coach for Exceptional Student Services. 

Perhaps some of you attended her vision: Exceptional Needs Awareness Day which took place on May 5. The event created awareness around exceptionalities, connected families with community resources and created a safe place where everyone is welcome. It started that day but continues on.

“Yitzel's vision created awareness within her school community, and identified a need for the families in our valley supporting individuals with exceptional needs. The hope is to turn Yitzel's vision into an annual function,” shares Shannon.

Yitzel rallied volunteers from Best Buddies and the EVHS Student Counsel to put on games, face painting and a bouncy house.  Additionally, she reached out to other area nonprofits to share information for families. Yitzel and her mother prepared a variety of snacks and food to sell in order to raise money for the special education department at her school for supplies and resources. She also requested a behavior trainer to provide educational sessions for families on how to prevent and manage behaviors at home.

We could all use a little of Yitzel’s passion, caring and gumption to not only make life more inclusive, but to bring joy and fun to the every day.

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