Five months ago, I was inspired to write, “Be the One”. My goal was to create a call to action for people everywhere to embrace our differences and celebrate the meaningful relationships that occur when we live this way. What has transpired since then, has given me great hope that someday our children will live in a world that does not define them by their abilities, but rather accepts and includes them unconditionally.
While the song and video we are about to create will tell a powerful story, what has happened behind the scenes is the story that I am most proud to tell.
Our story began when our family was invited to share our song, “It Starts With A Voice” at the Best Buddies DC Challenge last fall. As we sat at a picnic table watching the tandem bike challenge, we befriended a gentleman who like us, had a child with Down syndrome. We shared lots of stories and laughter before we realized our new friend was Lauren Potter’s father. Lauren was a busy bee that day, cheerfully moving from interview to interview, but took time to come sit and talk. Her passion for Best Buddies was contagious and her intelligence, charisma and compassion left a lasting impression on all of us. We left the weekend feeling energized, having witnessed the difference Best Buddies had made in Lauren’s life and in the lives of so many others with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Days after we returned home, I began writing, “Be the One”. I wanted the song to light a fire in people and to call them to action to “be the one” who makes a difference in someone’s life. I wanted to encourage others to step off of the sidelines and to remind everyone that we all deserve a chance. With the help of my friend, Steven Errante, an accomplished musician, “Be the One” began to take shape and brought us to tears each time we heard it. And while the tune and lyrics felt powerfully moving, we were determined to tell the story on screen, too.
Producing projects with this much scope take great resources. It was a few days before Christmas, when I received an email from an old friend. He was a friend of my family’s when I was a little girl and thanks to my dad keeping in touch, he had heard about our family’s mission and wanted to help. Through his generosity, we were able to engage our friends at Life Stage Films and began the planning process for creating a music video for “Be the One”.
It was in those first few planning days that I reached out to the young woman who first inspired me to write the song. With one conversation, Lauren Potter was on-board.
Momentum for our project has grown everyday since. Hundreds of people have signed up to be a part of the video. Volunteers have worked tirelessly behind the scenes. Businesses have generously donated. And our amazing film crew, under the direction of Matt Davis, are determined to make this project nothing less than awesome!
Throughout this journey, we have felt an enormous amount of support and encouragement and we are most grateful. “Be the One” has ignited a passion in us for doing more to encourage people not only to accept, but embrace our differences.
We owe that to our children.
Almost 9 years ago, I became the parent of a child with special needs. I also became an advocate for the acceptance and inclusion of all people living with intellectual disabilities.
1 year ago, I put this bracelet on and everything changed.
Today has been a celebration for our family. A celebration we have enjoyed sharing with our community. A community that has surrounded us with so much love and support.
And so we have spent the day saying “thank you” to those that have embraced our mission as well as spending time with new friends and encouraging them to join the revolution.
Here are some of the highlights from our day . . .