Living on the Brightside

January 27, 2010
Living on the Brightside

Every month, I meet my best friends for dinner where we get to catch up with each other. Then we go to Circle of Friends, a part of Kennedy Krieger's Brightside mentoring program, where we learn about friendship and how to socialize with other people. I am 25 years old, and I have Down syndrome, which means that I was born with 22 chromosomes instead of 21.

When I was in middle school, my parents enrolled me in the Kennedy Krieger Institute's Circle of Friends program where I learned how to support the people I love and how to be a good friend. And I met my four best friends there-Julie, Melissa, Sharon and Kristen-who also have Down syndrome. We have been friends for 15 years! But my friends are just a part of my busy life.

In 2006, I graduated from Towson University (I think I inspired my brother Matthew; he's graduating from Towson this spring). I was part of their Outreach Program, which taught me even more of the skills I need in my everyday life.

Now I work four days a week. Every Thursday I work at Target as a cart attendant. My co-workers count on me because I have lots of responsibilities, like cleaning and reshelving misplaced merchandise.

I also volunteer for the Baltimore County Public Library system every Tuesday and Friday. I'm responsible for data entry, restocking magazines, and cleaning toys in the children's section. I like that I get to do a variety of things.

On Wednesdays, I work at Levindale Nursing Home, where I am an office volunteer. I label the residents' supplies and do other office jobs like that.

I love to stay busy! I'm even on a Saturday bowling league in Perry Hall. My boyfriend, Andrew, who also has Down syndrome, is on my bowling team. I like meeting other people and making new friends. Everyone is so nice! It's like having a great, big family.

Kennedy Krieger and Circle of Friends are an important reason I have such a full life. I have so many good friends, three fun jobs, and a family who cares for me. Who wouldn't enjoy that? As told by Emily Kahle to Laura Laing

Bradley L. Schlaggar, M.D., Ph.D., Named President and CEO of Kennedy Krieger Institute

We’re thrilled to welcome Bradley L. Schlaggar, M.D., Ph.D., to the Kennedy Krieger family as our next President and CEO.
Learn more.


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