Our organization came across an interesting article from The New York Times Magazine. A soldier wrote about her experience as an active duty soldier in the army, navigating her military dream with a learning disability.
We focus our work on developing grit and perseverance. These qualities provided Ms. Zephrine with a strong foundation to realize her dream of joining the army, and obtaining her master’s degree in social work.
We are sharing this story as a way to showcase the life experiences told firsthand by individuals with learning disabilities and other challenges. Please note that this is one person’s experience.
One of our students is studying Social Work at Northeastern Illinois Univerity (NEIU). He is working very hard, and becoming incredibly active in the community as he dives into the policies and current issues that impact all people and their well-being. He wrote a blog post about his experience at Advocacy Day in Springfield, IL. We are very proud of his dedication, motivation, engagement, and determination!
By Nathan Apelian
Advocacy Day was a very unique experience. The bus left NEIU at 5am, made it to Springfield at 9am, left Springfield at 3pm, and made it back to NEIU at 7pm. During this time I met two politicians and both from my district: State Rep Laura Fine (H17, NEIU Alumni) and Senator Daniel Biss (S09). Both of them are committed to helping people and very nice. Laura Fine’s Glenview office is down the street from where I live and I met her there also. Both I plan to meet again as I want to know their thoughts on bills and what they are doing in the community. I would like to meet Robyn Gabel, Kelly Cassidy, John D’Amico, and Heather Steans in the future as they represent nearby communities.
Advocacy Day is just the tip of the iceberg. I wanted to be involved in the social work field because I feel that there needs to be more advocates. Some people just protest, but I feel people need to do more. I am talking about getting to know the community, be involved with agencies, get familiar with the law, get familiar with bills, and to get to know state representatives and or senators regardless of their beliefs. I also wanted to get involved in social work as anxiety is one aspect that I wanted to look into as this affects young people, college students, elderly individuals, veterans, and people that work too much to name a few. In the next couple of years, I look forward to expanding my social work experience at the micro, mezzo and macro levels.
For further information on current and upcoming legislation, representatives and senators in Illinois, please visit: http://www.ilga.gov/