REACE Profile

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Location: Philadelphia , United States

Member Since: September 2013

Open for read requests: Yes

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Reace Bio


I was born on November 21, 1967; the doctors didn’t check to see if I ready to come out, so I came out feet first instead of head first.  I had to stay in the hospital until March, because I didn’t get enough oxygen to my brain for a significant amount of time.  Neither my parents nor the doctor knew anything was wrong until I wasn’t walking or doing the normal things that one year olds do.   That’s when it discovered I have Cerebral Palsy, the longer the brain goes without oxygen, the more severe the Cerebral Palsy will be.  My Cerebral Palsy effects my arms, legs, and speech; I have never walked on own my without leg braces or crutches.  Now I use a motorized wheelchair to get around.


There weren’t preschool or daycare in the early 70’s; however, there was Grandma Lilly Yates (free Daycare).  I was around my family all the time.  The name my family called me by was Reese, like the candy.  My Aunt Regina taught me mine name my dad taught me how to count from one to hundred before I entered school.  When it came time for me to start school I had to go the only public school for children with disabilities, Widener Memorial School.   That is where I received physical, occupational and speech therapy all in the effort to make me closer to being “normal’ as possible. 


I placed in classes called ungraded for children with cognitive as well as physical disabilities.   The reason I was placed in classes is because in those days it was automatically assumed that child who has a severe disability must a cognitive disability and would be unable to comprehend the regular school work.  I stayed in ungraded classes for three years before they put me regular classes with children who just had physical disabilities. 


Looking back my education took a back seat to my therapy, it seemed I was pulled of English class more than any other class, by the time I reach high school my attitude about my education was horrible.  I cared more about being a part of the click, than I cared about English class.  I wrote book reports and essays and received A‘s and B’s, but those grades were based on the content not for the grammar.  It wasn’t until I went to college that learned about rewrites, I received an A on my English papers, but they had tons of red marks all over it.  When I went to college I took business management because my high school English teacher told me I would never become a writer. 


On January 19, 1989; I moved out of my parents’ house into to the temporary place of Transition to Independently Living.  This program was supposed to teach people with disabilities who are in transitioning from an institution or restrictive setting how live independently while looking for permit housing.  In order to live independently, I received attendant care services through Resources for Independently Living (before it became Liberty Resources).  The day before left home was my first day of college.  In November of that year I moved into my first apartment.


After I graduated from college, I tried to obtain a job in the corporate world, but I couldn’t get hire because I was being discriminated against no employer believed a person who has a severe disability could manage a company.  I was fortunate to get involved with Disabled In Action/ADAPT part of the disability rights movement community, they taught me to be proud of my disability.  I took on the attitude that if people couldn’t deal with my disability that’s their problem not mine.  In 1997; I was hire by Liberty Resources (Philadelphia’s Center for Independent Living) as an Independent Living Specialist, where I provided the four core services information and referrals, peer support, advocacy and skills training.  I also worked in the Community Advocates program, the Young People out Reach program and the State Wide Advocacy Team (SWAT).  I had to travel to Harrisburg every three months to meet other advocates from around the State.  I helped plan the Pennsylvania Council on Independent Living’s “Power is Knowledge” confidence in 1999; along with other people from centers for independent living around the state.   Due to political infighting, I made the decision to leave at end of November 2001.


I was rehired by Liberty Resources in 2004; this time my main responsibility is to coordinate the volunteers.  A couple years ago giving tours to new staff and visitors of Liberty Resources has been added to my job duties.  Giving tours involves explaining the history, the different programs and departments.  In early spring 2011, I took a writing class at Liberty’s Academy (before May 5, 2011) because I tried to take over the monthly newsletter and failed.  In my failure; the longing to be a writer was reawakened and I wanted to learn how to be a good writer just in case I get another chance to be in charge of the newsletter again in the future.  I only had two weeks of writing class before the bottom fell out and I had stop to focus on my job when the unexpected layoffs happened. 


During this very stressful time in my work life, I started keeping a journal, because I needed express myself without being criticized by anyone.  I still retained the information I had learn in the two weeks in Academy class.  Towards the end of last year I started to write more essays than entries in my journal.  Most of essays come to me by Devine Inspiration and not by me sitting at my laptop and deciding to write about a particular subject or topic.  I never know what is going to “pop” into my head next.


I used to post some of my writings on Facebook and email them to family and friends.  My cousin Janice had encourage me to get my writings publish.  At first I really didn’t take it seriously, but after looking over my work, listening to Bishop TD Jakes “’Living on Purpose” and realizing that my purpose was to be a writer.  I also realized that by writing every day my grammar was getting better.  When I decided that I am a writer, I brought my name into twenty-first century I changed the spelling of my name from Reese to Reace (as having inner peace).  I started looking for a way to publish my writings; by chance Ray Horton (from Independence Art Studio) and I were talking about the writing club, when he mentioned that he was looking for artists who are disabled for his artist development program.  I sent him one of my essays and he agreed to represent as an artist of the Independence Art Studio. 


My goal is to show the world that they shouldn’t judge people with severe disabilities by our outside covers without finding out what and/or who we are on the inside.



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