Veronica: Down’s Syndrome Cannot Silence My Voice
I was born in 1997 with Downs Syndrome. All the time I was growing up, my Mom found great places for me to go, do, and learn.
When I became a teenager, everything seemed to change. High school is an awkward time for everyone. But, I really had a hard time fitting in. I was bullied because I was different, so I just tried to stay out of sight. And, after school, there were just no good places for teens with disabilities. I felt all alone.
I knew my Mom worried about me. She didn’t know if I could ever be on my own. I felt like I could end up being a burden to my family.
No teenager in Loudoun should have to face a lifetime of isolation.
The Next Chapter
Things started to change for me in 2011 when I found a nonprofit really close to our home. I attended summer camp there, expecting nothing at all, really. Instead, I discovered music and theater, and I fell in love. Three years later, I won the role of Ariel in Disney’s The Little Mermaid. I memorized all my lines, including all the songs, and I gave the performance of a lifetime.
I found myself on that stage. And, I found that I actually like myself. Best of all, I found I have a voice. I can speak up for what’s right—for me and for others. So, now I mentor others who come to the group looking for a place to belong. I love being part of a community that accepts everyone and helps them feel accepted and loved.
I also don’t have to hide anymore. I travelled to England all by myself last year. And, this past fall, I started college, where I will be studying music and theater.
My Mom doesn’t worry about my future anymore. She now knows that I have choices—that I can be independent—that I will follow my own path. I can graduate from college, get married, have a family, and be a productive member of society. She says that makes her feel “at peace.”
I am so happy I found this group and they helped me to find my calling. I want to help others find their own way. Won’t you join us and help End the Need in Loudoun?