2013 O’Neill Tabani Enrichment Fund
Congratulations to the recipients of the 2013 O’Neill Tabani Enrichment Fund!
The deciding committee was impressed with the accomplishments and goals of everyone who applied. Sixteen outstanding students who have Down syndrome were awarded grants to help cover the cost of their postsecondary or enrichment courses.
KENNESAW STATE UNIVERSITY
In his free time, Casey plays the drums. One day he would like to own and operate a small business, an instrument store to cater to local musicians. Casey's other personal goals include owning a car, getting married and buying a house.
BRISTOL COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Paige is going to college to earn her child care certificate so she can work in a daycare or somewhere else with children. Additionally, while in college, Paige will continue taking guitar lessons and further her education in music and entertainment.
UNIVERSITY OF NORTH FLORIDA
An accomplished equestrian, Liza has ridden horses in local parades and rodeos. She volunteers at the library, where she organizes books, and serves chips and salsa at El Pirata Mexican Restaurant. She’ll be taking a cooking class in college because she knows that if she wants to reach her goal of living alone, she’ll have to know how to cook.
Waterbury Center, VT
Johnson State College
Jeff loves history and science, and to write and draw. At college, he hopes to make friends and learn to manage his money and pay his bills. He would like to get a good job, live on his own and pay rent.
UNIVERSITY OF MEMPHIS
John, a charter member of Company D Dancers, hopes college will help him prepare to live independently and have better options for a career once he graduates. He looks forward to a full time job and hopes to move into his own house. He would like to work with young children in a hospital setting.
NORTH PALM BEACH, FL
PALM BEACH STATE COLLEGE
Matthew’s hobbies are reading, listening to all types of music, dancing, watching old movies, and watching his favorite team, the Miami Heat, play basketball. Matthew will be taking classes to help him learn the skills that will help him get a job in the media production field.
GRAND CANYON UNIVERSITY
Currently enrolled at Grand Canyon University, Dakota’s major is Communications and his minor is in Video Production. He wants to pursue his education so he can achieve his goals of becoming a sports broadcaster and a keynote motivational speaker.
At college, Justin would like to learn more about math, history, theater, social studies and computers. He wants to set personal goals and be more independent. He looks forward to meeting new people and making friends, and being a part of a college community by participating in campus life.
BLUE POINT, NY
SUFFOLK COMMUNITY COLLEGE
All through elementary and high school, Kristen loved singing and learning about music. Since she graduated from high school she has taken two classes in music at Suffolk Community College. She loves music and wants to know more about it so she can get a job in the field.
KARATE FOR KIDS
Through her karate studies, Beth is learning to be strong and feel good about herself. She is learning courtesy, discipline, is making new friends and is proud of herself.
GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY
Passionate about advocating for individuals with disabilities, Zeb strongly believes that everyone deserves an education no matter what. He is an active member of the Mason community, participating in Best Buddies and working on Capitol Hill as part of Mason’s congressional internship program. Zeb looks forward to learning how he can be an ever better advocate.
SCHOOL OF VISUAL ARTS
Jonathan uses computers to create his art and will take a class that will teach him how to use computer graphics to develop his own version of the Muppets. He spends most of his free time drawing and in the past year has had his artwork displayed in four art shows hosted by local businesses.
THE COLLEGE OF NEW JERSEY
Christine is very involved in clubs and activities at her college. She is on the executive board of Best Buddies and an active member in the campus musical theater troupe, participating in their fundraiser for cancer research.
Sarah is on the cross country team and plays percussion in the band at Free State High School. She is a peer mentor in a book club and in the summer works at Kansas University’s Speech and Language Clinics camp, working with preschool and elementary aged kids with and without disabilities. Sarah believes that continuing with school will help her learn about possibilities for a career and allow her to pursue her interests in teaching or training athletes.
Miah wants to go to college to be independent, to learn and to grow. She works at the Boulder Community Hospital as a café assistant, a job she likes because she is constantly meeting new people. For fun, Miah likes to swim and dance.
2012 O’Neill Tabani Enrichment Fund
Melina has applied her grant towards training to become a certified Zumba Instructor. Upon completion of her training, Melina will begin to teach Zumba classes at her local community center.
Read what Melina had to say about the experience.
Princeton Junction, NJ
College of New Jersey
She's not sure yet what she will major in, but Megan knows she will work hard to acomplish her dreams. This fall, Megan begins as a full-time student in a four-year program at the College of New Jersey. She is especially looking forward to living off campus in a house with three of her classmates.
Read what Megan had to say about going to college.
George Mason University
Last year, his first year at George Mason University's LIFE Program, Sean received GMU's Mason Sprit Award because of his positive presence on campus and outstanding school spirit. He attends as many sporting events as he can and is the manager of the wrestling and football teams. Sean hopes to be a meteorologist once he finishes his education.
Yeshiva Bonim Lamokom
Continuing his postsecondary education at Yeshiva Bonim Lamokom in Brooklyn, NY, Mordechai wants to learn more. He wants to learn because he wants to have fun, and as he says, the real fun is leaning. Mordechai hopes to save enough money to buy a car and get his driver's license.
College of Charlston
Last year, his first at the College of Charlston's REACH Program, showed Sam that he can take care of himself and be a good student. He knows that finishing his education will help him to get a better job and be happy.
Rocky Mount, NC
University of North Carolina Greensboro
Last year was Sam's first year at the University of North Carolina Greensboro's Beyond Academics program. He is learning to live on his own and is proud that he takes the Amtrak from school to home by himself. Two of Sam's goals for when he is finished with school are to work with horses and to get married.
Western Carolina University
Michael's goal is to live independently. He believes that attending Western Carolina University, where he begins this fall, is the best way for him to get an education before living on his own. One day, Michael hopes to work at a day care center or in a recreation center helping with sports management.
Onandoga Community College
This will be Kayla's third year as a student at Onandoga Community College. She has taken a number of classes but particularly enjoyed psychology. Kayla is an accomplished self-advocate and public speaker.
Read what Kayla had to say about going to college.
Chapel Hill, NC
University of North Carolina Greensboro
Ishan will be attending University of North Carolina Greensboro's Beyond Academics program, taking a four-year certificate course called Integrative Community Studies. He hopes his work at UNCG will lead him to become more independent and help him to eventually get a paying job.
Read what Ishan had to say about going to college.
University of Delaware
Geoffery will be starting is second year at the University of Delaware. In his first year, he learned that he really likes to do PowerPoint presentations. He did one for one of his classes on health and wellness. He plans to work hard in school so he can achieve his dream of living independently and getting a job.
Jaime N. Torres
Boca Raton, FL
University of North Florida
Jamie loves making new friends and joining new groups, but most of all, he loves learning new things. He hopes to do all of these at his program at the University of North Florida. He especially wants to learn how to speak new languages and how to be a better cook.
2011 O’Neill Tabani Enrichment Fund
Delgado Community College
Craig lives independently in a condo that he owns. He works for Magic Seasoning Blends, a company owned by famed chef K. Paul and plans to take Culinary Arts classes at Delgado Community College in New Orleans, LA so one day he can work as a cook for Chef Paul.
Read about Craig's expectations for his Culinary Arts program.
Marissa graduated from Alameda High School in June 2011. While there she played on the Junior Varsity Basketball team and was voted Homecoming Princess. She takes dances classes and art plays a major part of her life. Marissa is currently taking art classes.
Read about Marissa's experiences as a student.
East Stroudsburg University
Jessica started her first year at East Stroudsburg University in East Stroudsburg, PA in the fall of 2010. This year she looks forward to joining the Color Guard and taking classes in cooking and math. Fitness is important to Jessica – she enjoys running, swimming, rhythmic gymnastics and working out at her college’s rec center.
Leora Tova Fried
Leora’s goals include traveling independently, mastering money skills, and maybe getting married one day. She plays basketball, goes to synagogue and goes to a local program to make friends and practice social skills. She would like to take a class to help her learn how to solve problems.
Read what Leora had to say about her experiences as a student.
Los Angeles, CA
Danielle has just returned home from studying in Israel for two years. Now she works as an administrative assistant and teacher’s aide at an elementary school. Danielle sees herself continuing to work with children in the future and will be taking courses in child development to prepare for her career.
Read what Danielle had to say about going to college.
Illinois Central College
Elizabeth is working to earn her two-year certificate in Child Care from Illinois Central College in East Peoria, IL. When she completes her coursework, she hopes to gain employment as a teacher’s aide. Elizabeth currently has a job at Culver’s Restaurant in Morton, IL and works with 2-year-olds at an Early Intervention program.
Read what Elizabeth had to say about her experiences as a student.
Erin would like to be involved in acting and the fashion industry. This semester she will be taking classes in Computer Science, Theater Studies, Fashion, and Dance at the Academy for Adult Learning at the Institutes of Disability at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. She is an active member of her church and YMCA, and works at TJ Maxx.
Read what Erin had to say about going to college.
Read Erin's Closing Remarks from the 2012 NDSS Gala & Auction.
East Dublin, GA
James’s goals for postsecondary education are to speak, read and write better. In the future he wants to contribute society, get a job and show how responsible is. For fun James sings in a community choir and travels to visit his sisters and brothers.
James “Andy” Strunk
Jefferson Community College
Andy will be taking First Aid and Emergency Care at Jefferson Community College in Louisville, KY this semester. When he’s not swimming or and horsing around with his nephew, Andy play handbells at his church, where he also volunteers.
Read what Andy had to say about going to college.
Kansas City, MO
In high school Mary was active in her church’s youth group and choir, she was in her school’s play and musical, and was a member of the National Honor Society. Mary volunteers 30 hours each week at the YMCA Child Care Center. She aspires to work with kids as a pre-K or Kindergarten teacher. She looks forward to the new experiences she'll have being away from home at college.
Read what Mary had to say about her experiences as a student.
Sam is currently a full-time student at Shepherd’s College in Union Grove, WI, where he studies Culinary Arts. He plays the guitar, participates in Special Olympics and hopes to live and work in Arizona one day. He describes college as, “a place to be friends and make friends…a place of comfort and focus and learning.”
2010 O’Neill Tabani Enrichment Fund
West Lafayette, IN
Larry plays basketball, softball and bowls in the Special Olympics. He was on his high school’s wrestling team for four years, earning a letter. He works at Pizza Hut and plans to take a class in world history so he can learn about different places around the world.
North Syracuse, NY
Onondaga Community College
Kayla is an active self-advocate, frequently speaking about disability and related topics. She hopes to become a professional motivational speaker so she can encourage people with disabilities, and so she can make others aware of all the things people with disabilities can do. She is an avid reader, enjoys using computers, and works part-time at the Paparazzi Salon & Day Spa.
Casey O’ Connor
Murrells Inlet, SC
Coastal Carolina University
Casey is an accomplished musician and regularly plays blues harmonica with his dad’s band. He likes reading and watching movies. Casey works at a movie theater, but his dream job is to be a professional golfer.
Read what Casey had to say about going to college.
Elizabethtown Community Tech College
Laura enjoys singing, dancing, acting and working with kids. Her dream job would incorporate all of those activities. She plans to study child development, cooking and literature. Laura sees college as an opportunity to gain independence and responsibility.
Read what Laurda had to say about her experiences as a student.
Mary Alice Shartle
Mary Alice is passionate about working with children. She worked in a day care center and volunteered at her church’s nursery throughout high school. She plans to work with small children so she will have an opportunity to help people.
Holly Springs, SC
College of Charleston
Mollie makes jewelry, plays basketball and spends time volunteering at the YMCA and at a local nursing home. She plans to go to college, and then hopes to get a job working with the elderly as a recreational therapist assistant or a physical therapist assistant.
Northern Virginia Community College
Charlotte works at a grocery store and volunteers at a local hospital. She would like to become a certified medical assistant and would also like to become an advocate for people with special needs. In her free time, Charlotte writes poems, plays and stories.
2009 O’Neill Tabani Enrichment Fund
Eastern New Mexico University - Roswell
William Sunday Trampus Hoover
Coastal Carolina University
Bristol Community College
Culinary Training Institute
George Mason University - LIFE Program
2007 O’Neill Tabani Enrichment Fund
South Puget Sound Community College
Bristol Community College
Mercer County Community College
John W. McCormack
Mercer County Community College
Brandon B. Smith
2006 O'Neill Tabani Enrichment Fund
Aliza “Claire” Bible
Claire has many interests including reading, writing poetry, acting and working with children. Claire will be attending the Threshold Program at Lesley University in Cambridge, MA, where she hopes to take a class in childcare so that she can work toward her teaching certification. Some of her future goals include living independently and having a successful career.
Columbia State Community College
Christine is very active in her community and enjoys participating in various sports though the Special Olympics, advocacy groups and volunteering at her church. Christine intends to enroll in an art appreciation class at Columbia State Community College in Franklin, TN because she would like to learn drawing techniques so that she can enter the VSA Arts contest.
Vero Beach, FL
Indian River Community College
Patricia is interested in a career teaching sign language to both hearing and non-hearing people. Patricia studied American Sign Language for six years and is fluent, and now she is working to be certified. In addition, Patricia likes to perform (signing and singing) and speak publicly about what it is like to be a young adult with Down syndrome. She will be taking courses in sign language and public speaking at Indian River Community College in Fort Pierce, FL.
El Paso, TX
Eastern New Mexico University
Angelica has many interests, including law enforcement and cooking. She will be pursuing one of those interests as she takes courses to become a Veterinarian Assistant so that she can work at a zoo, animal shelter or animal hospital. One of Angelica’s goals is to have a good paying job so that she is able to live on her own. She will be attending courses at Eastern New Mexico University in Roswell, NM.
University of New Mexico - Albuquerque
Nannie is an accomplished public speaker and powerful self-advocate. Nannie successfully lobbied her legislature to obtain funds to establish a Self-Advocacy Center in New Mexico in 2004, and she has worked to ensure that the Center remained funded in the subsequent two years. Nannie is seeking a career change and would like to study Digital Photography and Filmmaking. She will be studying these topics through Continuing Education courses at the University of New Mexico - Albuquerque.
2005 O’Neill Tabani Enrichment Fund
Middlesex Community College
Kate is currently exploring career options while she works toward her associate's degree at Middlesex Community College. Kate's future goals include earning a bachelor's degree and working to support herself.
Laramie County Community College
Robert runs his own business called Rob's Forum, where he makes videos, DVDs, video resumes and home movies. He intends to enroll in a computer graphics course at Laramie County Community College to learn additional production skills to improve his business.
Genesee Community College
Kyle is working toward many goals including earning his Regents diploma and coaching certification. Kyle attends Genesee Community College and hopes to become the coach of a baseball or football team in the future.
Coconino Community College
Carrie works at Northern Arizona University and attends Coconino Community College to mentor youth with disabilities. Carrie is also an accomplished public speaker and she has specific goals for her future, including living in her own apartment, being independent and working to support herself.
New Haven, CT
Chris is an accomplished poet and actor and has participated in many activities that showcase his talents. He plans on attending courses to further his study of poetry and drama, but is also interested in pursuing plant arranging as a potential career.
Philip is currently the kitchen manager at a local restaurant, but intends to take management classes, so that he can become the manager of the entire store. One of his most important activities is spending time with his fiancée, Emily.
Sara works at O'Malley & Langan P.C. Law Offices. Sara will attend a local college to improve her public speaking skills, so that she can speak to large groups of people about the potential of individuals with disabilities and the importance of inclusion.