The leading human rights organization for all individuals with Down syndrome.

National Down Syndrome Society
8 E 41st Street, 8th Floor
New York New York 10017
[email protected] 

God Don't Make Junk!
2009 Times Square Photo
2009 Times Square Photo
God Don't Make Junk!

I Love My Life, Because, "God Don't Make Junk!" When I was born in 1978 doctors told my parents to put me in an institution because I have Down syndrome. My parents didn't listen to the doctors. They took me home and loved me because they knew I was a gift from God. My parents know, "God don't make junk!" I know it too! I have a great life. I live and work in my community. I have three part-time paid jobs: Applebee's Restaurant (8 years), Hannaford Grocery (2 years), and I have been a speaker for the NYS Self Advocacy Speakers' Bureau (over 5 years). When I speak about my life I tell people I only want to work part-time because, "I don't want work to interfere with my life." People who hear me want my life. That's because I have a really good life! I have a self-determination plan. With self-determination (CSS) I hire my support staff. I am learning things I will need to live on my own, and will soon live in an apartment next to my parent's home, where I live now. This is my choice: I want to stay connected to my family and Church community, and have a place of my own too. I don't want to live with strangers or ever live in group homes. I love to travel for speaking and vacations. (I really like hotel life a lot.) I attend the Potential Unlimited Music Institute where I play drums, congas, dance, and I am a member of their company troupe, where we will perform for money someday. I have a spiritual life. The most important thing in my life is my relationship with Jesus and our local fellowship, New Covenant Community. We live near our church and I am involved in all church activities. I am a twice-certified Toastmaster (international speaking organization that takes a lot of hard work to get certified), and I am Sergeant-at-Arms for our club. I love being in our Toastmasters club in Saratoga and they love me. Toastmasters helps me be a better public speaker. Sometimes my mother and I are a team and we will speak together. My mother is an advocate and I am a self-advocate. I use PowerPoint when I speak. My favorite job is speaking and I do conferences and workshops all around the country. I also do keynotes, once in Guatemala! I speak at the National Down Syndrome Conferences almost every year and I also do workshops for other self advocates. Sometimes I do a sushi-making workshop called "Maki with Michael." A photo of me doing that workshop appeared on the NDSS Times Square video, and I went to New York City to see it live! When I speak at conferences, I tell people about my awesome and wonderful life. I tell people that just because I have Down syndrome doesn't mean I can't do things. I can do a lot, because "God don't make junk!"

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Comments (1,000 character limit)

Dan & Lisa Jordan, United States, NY
12/9/2011 6:20:29 PM
Our lives are richer because of Michael. He is an example and a light to us all. His kind and caring nature is a joy. We love you Michael.

Lynn Wojcik, United States, NY
10/28/2011 10:43:45 PM
Michael, as the mother of a two year old with Down syndrome, I find your essay very inspiring. Your life sounds wonderful. I hope my son and I can be as active advocates as you and your Mom some day.

Santino M. Cardella , United States, NY
9/27/2011 1:12:57 PM
The day Michael was born, the doctor called, waking me up and said he has Down Syndrome and attempted to explain all that would mean. When I hung up the phone, I said to The Lord, "Jesus, I place his life in your hands" and went back to sleep. He has an

Sandra Walter, United States, FL
9/19/2011 10:03:40 AM
I would like to vote for Michael Cardella. I know him personally. He is the most awesome young man I have ever known. His testimony is only a modest expression of all that he is and all that he means to family and friends alike. He is all that he says and more!

Angelina F. Cardella, United States, NY
9/18/2011 8:55:53 PM
To my wonderfully talented Grandson, Michael: Of course being your grandmother I would favor you; however, your story was so interesting and 'to the point' that "God truly don't maker junk' because you have proven that in your life.

Stephanie Vance, United States, IN
9/18/2011 1:10:47 PM
Go Michael!

Joy Burke, United States, NY
9/18/2011 8:09:10 AM
Michael is a wonderful guy who is really walking the walk. His story is his life, which is an inspiration to all who cross his path.

Elio Miranda, United States, PA
9/17/2011 8:05:29 AM
We love your story and we love you Michael.

Bobbi , United States, NY
9/11/2011 3:32:21 PM
Michael is an inspiration whenever we see him ... he opens doors for so many with "disabilities" ... changes minds, hearts and attitudes of prior ignorant prejudice and fear.

dave, United States, NJ
9/8/2011 7:29:44 AM
Love it

Donna Morris, United States, NY
9/7/2011 12:48:30 PM
Thanks for your inspirational story Michael!

karen and bob carr, United States, NY
9/7/2011 11:24:24 AM
we love michael!

David Cardella, United States, NY
9/7/2011 10:58:08 AM
Michael is the "normal" one! He has insight we ("supposed normals") should have. He also has an innate connection to our Creator! We should be so lucky!

Katherine Rogers, United States, NY
9/6/2011 6:37:20 PM
Michael's attitude is very positive and upbeat, giving God glory and thanks for everything in his life. He is an example to us all. Thank you Michael.

Brenda farley, United States, TN
9/6/2011 3:29:22 PM
Great story Michael!

Kim Carr, United States, NY
9/6/2011 3:28:30 PM
Michael is a gift in our community.

Chuck Schwartz, United States, NY
9/6/2011 12:38:31 PM
Michael is certainly an inspiring young man. Thank you, Michael, for sharing your story in so many ways.

James Rossetti, United States, PA
9/6/2011 10:59:34 AM
Go Michael! We love you!

V. Harrison, United States, NY
9/6/2011 10:37:35 AM
Everything Michael says is spot on - he is one happy person

Diane Lang, United States, NY
9/6/2011 10:00:28 AM
Michael is truly an inspiration! Thank you so much for telling your story.

Peggy Bergeron, United States, NY
9/6/2011 9:37:32 AM
Michael has a wonderful sense of humor along with spiritual depth.

Eric Sanborn, United States, NY
9/6/2011 8:20:52 AM
Michael is love. Yep, that pretty much covers it.

Frank Cardella Jr., United States, NY
9/6/2011 6:48:50 AM
Perfect person for this.

Susan Frank, United States, NC
9/5/2011 9:15:11 PM
Michael is an amazing man and a blessing to everyone he meets. Such an inspiration. God Bless him and his family!!

Nancy Trottier, United States, NY
9/5/2011 9:14:31 PM
Michael is a gift from God!!!

sharon brannen, United States, GA
9/5/2011 5:59:33 PM
michael is a blessing and a role model for everyone

Sally MacLachlan, United States, NY
9/5/2011 4:48:38 PM
Michael is an amazing young man, a true role model, a true blessing to his parents and many more.

Travis Carter, United States, NY
9/5/2011 11:19:53 AM
Discovering what's inside of a person changes everything. Go Michael!

Joe B., United States, NY
9/5/2011 10:10:48 AM
What a wonderful story!

Barbara Cardella, United States, NY
5/2/2011 4:42:20 PM
Michael's story is an inspiration ---- as he is!!

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