Monday, January 18, 2010

Honoring Dr. King's Dream -Washington Post Essay 'Chubbs & the Dream for the Disabled'

On this day that honors the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and all those dreams he had for equality for all people, here's another well-written and thought-provoking Washington Post column by Timothy Shriver (Chairman of Special Olympics) about realizing dreams of those with special needs, too.

True inclusion really does happen at the peer-to-peer level.

Read the essay entitled 'Chubbs & the Dream for the Disabled'

Archived photo of my son with one of his best friends, Kelly J.

Judy Winter

Honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. 2010

"Everybody can be great because everybody can serve." -Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Have you had your dose of servitude today?

To read my take on this timeless holiday, click
here. My stand remains pretty much the same.

Photo of Derak, another great RicStar's Camp volunteer/Judy Winter 09

Friday, January 15, 2010

Hear Yee! -Dates Announced for the 8th Annual Eric 'RicStar' Winter Music Therapy Camp at Michigan State University

Just announced--The 8th ANNUAL ERIC 'RICSTAR' WINTER MUSIC THERAPY CAMP (aka RicStar's Camp) for individuals of all ages with a wide range of special needs (and their siblings) will be held on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, June 17-19, 2010, at MSU's Community Music School, located at 841 Timberlane in East Lansing, Michigan.

Beginning today, registration forms from RETURNING CAMPERS ONLY are being accepted. Registration for new campers will begin after March 1st.

One registration form must be completed for each camper. Camp fees are $185 for one camper, $350 for two campers same family, and $510 for three campers same family. Scholarships are available. You must send in registration form and a payment in order to be placed on the enrollment list.

Warning- camp fills up early, so act quickly to ensure a place at this popular camp! For more info and registration form, click here.

Devastation in Haiti Brings Out the Best in Many

The horrific devastation in Haiti, and the huge worldwide response to meeting the resulting, overwhelming needs, reminds us once again of how good human beings can be when they act from the heart.

Far too much hate, selfishness and violence exists in our world. But a great deal of love and compassion is also alive and well, as evidenced by the actions of many since this catostrophic event first occurred.

Please give what you can to the Haitian relief effort, and make educated choices to help ensure that your heartfelt support goes where it is intended. Here is one good place to start: the American Red Cross.

Photo Judy Winter 09

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Shout Out! -Special Needs Websites of Note Jan 2010 -HollyRod Foundation for Help and Hope (& Autism)

Throughout 2010, I will highlight websites monthly that I believe are doing important work on behalf of those with special needs. January's well-deserved recognition goes to the HollyRod Foundation for Help and Hope.

Founded by actress and activist, Holly Robinson Peete and her football-star husband, Rodney Peete, the Foundation works to create better lives for those with special medical challenges by providing valuable resources and information, including about autism, a diagnosis impacting the Peete's own son, Rodney, Jr.

Take special note of the site's powerful and touching video called Rodney's World: Come Into My World, which highlights the challenges of autism, as told honestly through the words/voice of Rodney Peete, Jr.

In recent years, Holly Robinson Peete has become a recognized name and solid force in the autism movement, helping create valuable awareness of this complex and challenging diagnosis by using her celebrity to get people to take notice. I commend her passionate dedication and commitment to her son and to others, and I look forward to seeing what this remarkable woman does in the decade ahead to keep the needs of those with autism and other special needs in the forefront.

Holly Robinson Peete is a great example of someone who is using celebrity and fame to do lasting work that matters.

To find out more about the HollyRod Foundation's work, and to view Rodney Peete, Jr.'s video, click

Photo of camper Adam at RicStar's Camp by Judy Winter 2009

Snow Pup Jan 2010

Or a reasonable facsimile thereof...

Photo Judy Winter o9

Reminder: American Chopper Unveils Wheelchair Accessible Motorcyle Tonight

Watch tonight: American Chopper on TLC at 9 p.m. ET.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Chicago Tribune Piece Highlights Power of Music Therapy

Good piece highlighting the value of music therapy by reporter Lisa Black entitled 'Music Therapy: Teachers Strike an Emotional Cord with Disabled Students,' in the December 21, 2009 Chicago Tribune.

At RicStar's Camp, the popular three-day summer camp at MSU named in honor of my son, who benefitted greatly from music therapy, we know all about the power of this profession.

For seven years, we have witness remarkable achievements in our campers that only confirms what many people who care about improving the lives of those with special needs already know, music therapy changes lives.

It's no wonder we have a waiting list every year (Key hint: register early!).

Photo of RicStar Camp participant by Judy Winter 09

Monday, January 04, 2010

Media Alert! American Chopper (TLC) Unveils Wheelchair Accessible Motorcycle

Tune into American Chopper (TLC) this Thursday, January 7th, at 9 p.m. ET to see the American Chopper crew build a wheelchair accessible motorcycle for the Christopher/Dana Reeve Foundation. Read more about this cool effort here.

Born to be wild....

Photo Judy Winter 09

NY Times Feature Presents Balanced Feature 'Listening to Braille'

The New York Times Magazine feature entitled 'Listening to Braille,' that appeared in yesterday's paper, did a balanced job exploring both sides of the sometimes heated and emotional issue about the use of Braille vs new technology training for the blind/visually impaired.

For many, there is no simple answer. For others, the answer seems much clearer.

Read the feature here, and decide for yourself.

Photo Judy Winter 09

Judy Winter