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I-CREATE YOUTH'S Fellowship Program is an opportunity for youths aged 13 to 22 to embark on a project involving disability rights and awareness. Each fellow follows the Writing, Advocacy, Design, or Research track. Find out more about our current fellows below!
Selected fellows will receive guidance, resources, and connections to embark on a community project on disability rights and awareness. They will specialize in one of the four tracks while being at the liberty to steer their project in the direction they want. All fellows will work remotely.
Andrea Salvador is a Filipino student and writer, split between Manila and Melbourne. Her work has appeared in magazines such as Élan, [sub]liminal, and Ogma, while she has attended programs hosted by The Adroit Journal, The Speakeasy Project, and The Common. Beyond writing, she enjoys rearranging her bookshelf, fiddling with film cameras, and watching horror movies. Through this fellowship, she plans to produce a journalism portfolio with a two-fold argument: writing is a vehicle for social change, and it can help dismantle eco-ableism -- which will in turn promote sustainability. By investigating the need for diversity in literature and sustainability in communities, and connecting their impacts to the disabled community, she hopes readers and activists around the world will understand how disability awareness through literature is a step towards alleviating climate change’s grave effects.
ABANDONING ECO-ABLEISM AND EXCLUSIVE LITERATURE
Cassidy Dubois is a teenager from Massachusetts who loves doing community service and working with others to brighten somebody else's day. She also enjoys learning about medicine and hopes to be a surgeon in the future. In Cassidy's project on society's effects on chronic illness, she will collect data to find out how society views chronically ill people, as well as how their views can affect and change the onset of chronic illness. She will also focus on how these factors have changed over time and what we can do to help create equality for disabled people.
SOCIETY'S EFFECT ON CHRONIC ILLNESS
What is chronic illness?
Chronic illness are conditions characterized by the length that the illness has been present and the difficulties it brings upon the individual. Such conditions typically last at least one year and interfere with day-to-day activities such as eating or bathing. Many individuals with chronic illnesses appear to be fine, but face difficulties that go without being shown, such as fatigue, pain, and even depression. These individuals typically undergo lots of treatment and therapy and are expected to understand their condition. Things like smoking, alcoholism, poor nutrition, and extreme stress are factors that can cause a chronic illness. About six in ten adults in the United States have been diagnosed with a chronic illness, making them a leading factor in disability in the United States. // Source: Healthline
What is schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is a serious psychotic disorder affecting only about 1% of Americans; however, it is a leading factor in disability as it affects many aspects of daily life. It is characterized by delusions (fixed, false beliefs) and hallucinations (hearing/seeing things), which you will see in the video if you choose to watch that one. Schizophrenia is capable of affecting one’s social abilities, as the individual experiences countless harmful thoughts or paranoias. With rigorous therapy and medication, schizophrenia can be eased, but not cured. There are different categories of schizophrenia, where the individual’s actions or thoughts will differ. It is believed that schizophrenia is a genetic disorder, however, it is also said to be caused by environmental factors such as stress and trauma, and it is not typically diagnosed until early adulthood. // Source: American Psychiatric Foundation
What is Alzheimer’s Disease?
Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common type of Dementia. When an individual has this disease, the connection between their brain cells has been lost, causing the individual to lose memory, control, and even language. People with this disease can struggle with things like speech, spatial relationships, and activities such as cooking or reading. Over time, Alzheimer’s Disease will worsen. Late-onset symptoms typically occur in the person’s mid-sixties, whereas early-onset ones can occur as early as thirty years old. Experts suggest that over 5.5 million Americans have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, but its exact cause is unknown. Age, genetics, and brain trauma may contribute to Alzheimer’s. This disease is irreversible, but treatments such as caregiving, managing behavioral and mental functions, and helping with daily activities can improve the quality of the individual's life. // Source: Alzheimer's Association
Rayna de Lima is a 14 year old girl who lives in Canada. She is passionate about baking and swimming. In the next couple of weeks, she will be working on bringing justice to the intellectually disabled, and providing them with a bright future.
A BRIGHT FUTURE FOR THE INTELLECTUALLY DISABLED
A day or two or three ago,
I saw her getting bullied for not knowing more,
Courage is all I wanted then,
To stand up, fight, and hold her back,
Yet I stared and kept myself together,
because I thought not having to share her pain would make me feel better,
I regret not being there for her that day,
I still bite my lips to hide the guilt away,
But through these next words I’m going to say,
I hope to make her future brighter in some way.
Dedicated to all intellectually disabled individuals
& inspired by selfish businessman
Knowing less and learning slow is out of anyone’s control,
But sometimes people don’t understand that,
And don’t look past what they see in front of them,
These people think you don’t deserve good lives, that forever you must be:
Sad, scared, helpless, hopeless, alone,
How many people have to endure that pain, until someone realizes...
6.5 million people have intellectual disabilities in the USA,
Only 34% of these people manage to get a minimum wage job today...
But they make businesses have a worth,
They are more committed than many other adults,
Never come late, never call sick, and are more productive,
Why does it seem like they’re never fit for a modern day job?
Because an emperor cannot see past they’re greed,
And think it’s a waste of time to read they’re resume,
Remember you can’t judge a book by the cover,
Beneath the cover is where all the magic unravels,
So next time a disabled person comes up and offers,
Take a moment to remember the opportunity you may or may not discover.
Ria Mishra is 14 years old and lives in Illinois. She loves to spend her time doing art, playing the piano, and giving back to her community. Her project will be finalized in the form of posters. The posters are intended to convey the difficulties of living with any form of visual impairment, statistical data, and ways to help.
A LOOK THROUGH LENSES
THEE SIM LING
Thee Sim Ling is a young writer and cybersecurity enthusiast in Singapore whose writing has appeared or is forthcoming in publications such as Stone Soup, Juven and Skipping Stones. Her fellowship project is to create a portfolio of creative writing to raise awareness on the representation of disability in children's literature, easily accessible for everyone, regardless of disability or background.
WHO'S IN THE MIRROR?DISABILITY REPRESENTATION IN CHILDREN'S LITERATURE
Research and Creative Writing Portfolio