Rotary of Traverse City... promoting inclusion in local schools
JC has Down syndrome, abandoned at 6 months, beat the odds on so many levels and now fights to be included at school.
JC was born in Barranquilla, Colombia almost 11 years ago. He was abandoned at 6 months old and spent the next two months in hospital recovering from starvation, congestive heart failure, and neglect. He spent the next 3 years in Colombia's version of foster care. During that time he had open heart surgery to repair the hole that refused to close on its own. During surgery he died. But, apparently the Doctors saw something worth saving because they managed to bring him back. And come back he did. At the age of almost 4 years JC was adopted and brought home to the US. In the time JC has been home he has been a joy, a troublemaker, an instigator, stong-willed and independently humor-filled child. He fits into our family as if it had been planned. JCs caseworkers in Colombia wanted him to find a family that would "love him and help him reach his full potential". We are trying to do just that.
JC has been in 3 different schools since arriving home and is currently home-schooled because we couldn't stand by and watch his spirit be crushed because he didn't fit into each schools cookie cutter mold of what a student should look like. Each educational setting chose to create a progressively more exclusive experience for JC but it is not the experience we wanted for JC, nor is it an environment JC thrives in. JC is a social bug and doesn't waste a moment in meeting folks, breaking down the proverbial barriers in society, and pretty much saying in his own way "look at me, listen to me, I am worth knowing!" JC uses speech, sign language, gestures and a mini Ipad with speech application (his "talker") to insure his communication and meaning is understood.
We continue to fight for inclusive opportunities for JC; he participates in 4-H, is learning Taekwondo, skis, ice skates, plays baseball and socializes with friends, attends church and all of his siblings school activities and concerts. We hope one day soon we would find the school that would embrace and bolster JCs spirit and will to truly live, learn and enjoy life.... a gift he received not once, but twice.