Hey everyone! I want to thank those of you who have been following this blog over the last few months. I know I haven’t been keeping super busy with my posts, but that is because I have been keeping busy planning an epic 3+ month trip to Europe and setting up photography projects to work on while I am over there. However, I will be transitioning away from this particular blog/site, but I am hoping that you all will make the transition with me.
There are several ways you all can keep up with my travels and current photography projects. First, I have set up a new site that will serve mainly as my portfolio, but also as a blog. You can find it here, and make sure to subscribe to get email updates about my recent posts and newest projects.
The second way is to follow my one of my other WordPress hosted sites: you can choose from either a bucket list themed site or a travel themed site.
If social media is more your speed you can also keep up with my work on:
Again, thank you all so much for keeping up with my crazy travels and projects, and I hope you continue to keep up with me.
Job Well Done: The Neurodiversity Alliance of Southern Oregon University poses for a photo after a successful presentation at the Annual Social Justice Conference. I feel so honored to have been working with NASOU over the past few months, and I hope that you take the time to look over these posts, or even do some research on your own, to learn more about what it means to be neurodiverse and what the neurodiversity movement is all about.
“The World Needs All Kinds of Minds”: Yesterday, February 19, 2016 was the annual Social Justice Conference at Southern Oregon University. The Neurodiversity Alliance of Southern Oregon University was one of the conference speaks, and it was a pleasure to get to watch the group get to speak on important issues surrounding the Neurodiversity Movement, specifically addressing how society needs to change the way they different brain wirings within the population. Topics ranged from how neurodiverse individuals are portrayed in the media (in both negative and positive ways) to the importance of awareness training for law enforcement and other safety public officials, especially in a time of crisis. One of the most important messages of the speech echoes autism activist Temple Grandin’s quote, “The world needs all kinds of minds.”
If you are going to be in the Southern Oregon area this week, then you are invited to Southern Oregon University’s Annual Social Justice Conference. The event is this Friday, February 19th at 4:35 PM in the Stevenson Union Rogue River Room. Come and learn more about what it means to be neurodiverse, why being educated about the neurodiverse movement is important, and how you can be part of this social justice movement.
“I used to think of [it as] having a diseased, broken brain. That was when I was in eighth grade… I thought everyone else was normal and I was the one who needed to be fixed. In fact, back in the ’08 election, when I wanted Hillary, it was only because she wanted to fund a cure for autism at the time and I really wanted a cure. In high school, I didn’t care. Ninth and tenth grade were both so awesome that it didn’t matter to me what neurology I bore. Though, later when I started to lose friends for whatever reason, I felt that too familiar sense of isolation. Then, I fell upon the concept of ‘autism rights’ and ‘neurodiversity’. At first it was a crutch. The common victimhood/entitlement mentality that sweeps our culture today is something that came and went for me. It soon became a meaningful cause, and I no longer wanted a cure. Instead of resisting the identity, coexisting with it and embracing its strengths and working through the weaknesses was the path to success.”
The few weeks I spent in Haiti were some of the best of my life; the culture was welcoming, the food was delicious, and the people I met were the kindest. I am grateful I had the opportunity to spend time with them and to help out, even if it was in a small way. Over forty percent of the Haitian people lack access to clean water. Thankfully there are many wonderful organizations that are working to change that. I am glad I got the opportunity to work with Volunteers for Peace, one of these great organizations. To learn more, visit http://www.vfp.org/t-haiti.aspx
A view from the top of the pickup as we travel through downtown Port-au-Prince. We believe the crowd was gathered around a location so they could receive aid. While many people have come a long way in their recovery since the 2010 earthquake, there is still much more that can be done.
Everyone likes to make a big deal about turning twenty-one, so I decided to treat myself to a trip to Haiti. I arrived Christmas day, to hot weather, the fresh smell of a new country, and a sea of smiles. I was treated to an amazing Christmas dinner of goat stew, and introduced to the family of the hotel owner, which included three girls I have grown very fond of. Always smiling, they were curious and smart and beautiful. I am glad to have met them, and I am counting the days until I get to see them again.
Cambodia was the first step in a journey I am still on today, a journey I will be on until the day I die. The land, the food, the culture, the people: I am forever indebted to it all. Thank you for welcoming me into your culture, into your school, and your home. Thank you for teaching me about the important things in life, and the secret to being happy.
Not only did I get the opportunity to teach English to the kids, but I was also asked to give a few lessons to the local teachers as well. I felt honored that they asked me to spend extra time to help them. The teachers were young, most in their early twenties, and they were very passionate about their careers. They felt it was their responsibility to help children in need, so that each would have the better opportunities in their futures.