I tend to fall in love with all the cliche quotes “Dream Big,” “Follow Your Dreams,” and “Let Your Dreams Be Your Wings.”  This past month in my hometown of Owensboro, Kentucky two events occurred: the State of the Community from our Major and Judge Executive and an fundraising event I hosted called the Owensboro Lip Sync Battle (www.owensborolipsyncbattle.org).  Both of these events have caused me to reflect on how and why my dreams are coming true.  My dreams are centered around becoming a leader, providing opportunities to those with disabilities, and becoming someone who can create positive change within others.  With recent events, I started thinking what does it mean to ‘dream’ and to see those dreams true?  

The definition of a dream is a cherished aspiration, ambition, or ideal.  When people talk about their dreams, most think of unimaginable outcomes that will never come to fruition.  A person sometimes cherishes their dreams so much, they feel as if their dreams cannot come true. They feel as though something remarkable must happen in order for their dream to become a reality.  Well, that is somewhat true, because something remarkable does have to occur, and that is you. You must take action in a direction that aligns with your dreams, while staying true to your heart, and being open to those around you.  

As you take actions, can your dreams take a different shape?  Or can the outcome of what happens become bigger than your dreams?  I’m here to tell you, yes.  

Seven years ago I set out on a journey — which so many doubted would be successful —  to change how my community views on those with disabilities, while also providing a foundational service model to teach, train, and create opportunities for those with disabilities. I dreamed of equipping people with disabilities with the skills required to become active members in their home and community. 

In creating a movement of change, establishing the acceptance and worth for those with disabilities whom years ago would be classified as ‘retarded’ and given no hope in a meaningful future, something became obvious to me. We rise by lifting others!  A famous quote by Robert Ingersoll, is the magic ingredient that we as people of this community should embrace as we set forth in our quest for success and happiness.   

During the State of the Community Judge-Executive Al Mattingly of Davies County, Kentucky stated, “We have to understand that this community is a community for everyone to live in and for everyone to thrive.”  

Mattingly’s powerful statement should have each of us reflecting within ourselves. Do your future dreams of personal happiness and success have the ability to impact others in your community by helping them to thrive in their own life?

This article is meant to inspire and make you, the reader, become aware that dreams can come true with greater success if they connect and embrace all. 

To the reader who is dreaming of a world where they are not just accepted for who they are, but they are loved.  

To the reader who dreams of a life of happiness and opportunities for their child who has a disability.  

To the reader who is a little girl aspiring to be a leader within our community.

To the reader who has always dreamed of opening his own business. 

To the reader who is a working mom who wants it all. 

To the reader who is passionate about serving a need they hold dear to their heart.

To each of you, I encourage you to make your dreams be more than just self-fulfilment, but to be about others thriving in a community that embraces all.  

Someone once told me that if there is something that you are constantly thinking about, then it’s something you must take action on.  Sounds too simple to work, right? Well, this is exactly how it works for me. When everyone is waiting for change to happen, that is when we must be the first to take action.  We must want more for people than they want for themselves, and help them discover their potential and discover their opportunities to succeed. Surprisingly enough, when we do this we learn so much about others’ dreams to thrive, that we become inspired and take action on our own dreams.  

A gift that was presented to me from a group of teachers at Whitesville Elementary School. When you bleed your passion people notice!

This past year I have witnessed in my own community an individual with Down Syndrome become a businessman at a local bank, my dear friend take a stand for the fairness ordinance, and the first black man to run for Mayor of Owensboro, Kentucky.  Is our community heading in the right direction to embrace diversity? Are these recent actions evoking positive change that move us forward or fear of change that causes the community to stand still?  

Recently at the Owensboro Lip Sync battle, emcee and WBKR radio host Chad Benefield, introduced me to the sold-out crowd of 2,000, as a woman who is paving the way for others by understanding and embracing diversity and acceptance.  These words hushed the crowd, but more importantly resonated with my heart. A dream of mine unfolded within his words.  

If we are a believer in diversity it shouldn’t be with just one select group that tends to be less represented or respected. We cannot be empowered by honoring the differences in some and not all. We rise by lifting others! Whether that is our fellow business man, the person who has no home, the person who is on the search for a second chance after making poor life choices, the person who has fallen in love with a person of their same sex, the person who’s skin color is a different shade, the woman who is fighting to have a voice at the table, or the person who has a disability. We should help each other to rise in a community that desires everyone to thrive and live their best life. This should be our community. Dreams will come true and happiness will surround us when we can make decisions that can truly reflect and represent all.

We Rise By Lifting Others! Share the message.