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My name is Ketrina I have Cerebral Palsy and utilize a wheelchair for mobility an accessible van will be beneficial to me

I rely on two things for my mobility- my power wheelchair and my loving Father. Since my birth, my father, who is now 62 years old, has been my caregiver. I depend on him to help me complete most of my activities and unfortunately this has become very challenging. My father drives me to community college, to doctors’ appointments, shopping, recreational programs and special events. My Father is my Superman because he does all the heavy lifting. He has to lift me from wheelchair and then lift my 200 lbs. + power wheelchair into his non-accessible vehicle. If I have five places to visit in a day, he has to repeat this over and over again. This is especially difficult because he is not a young man anymore; he has diabetes and risks injuring himself to help me every day!
I am writing because I’d like to be considered for the Local Hero’s Program. A wheelchair accessible van is not in my family’s budget, however without it, my Dad is being pushed to the limits and he never complains. This vehicle would be as much for him as it is for me!
Despite the challenges my family and I face with transportation, I have created a pathway for my future that I am very proud of:
I am a freshman at Kingsborough Community College
I am on the Youth Advisory Panel for Special Education.
I am a 2014 Partners Grad with the NYS Partners in Policymaking to influence laws and policies for the developmentally disabled population.
I am now serving on the Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities Commissioner Youth Council
I am a guest writer for YAI Self Advocacy Newsletter Committee
I am also a volunteer for United Cerebral Palsy of New York City.
I will soon be joining Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams' Special Needs Committee
My commitment to such important programs as these requires professionalism and punctuality. A wheelchair accessible van would help me be in better control of my destiny; it would help me in terms of attending long distance events like visiting Albany for advocacy efforts; attending classes and meetings, going to appointments and all other kinds of daily life needs. I believe that our family would be happier, less stressed and more fulfilled if we had an accessible van.
If I am chosen for this honor, I will continue to advocate for better services for others; better public perception of individuals with disabilities and I will help individuals facing challenges like mine work towards making positive changes in their lives.
My goal is to be an independent and productive member of society and an advocate for those that cannot do for themselves. Having the huge benefit of a wheelchair accessible van would be the beginning of a life changing experience for me!

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