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The Arc’s National Convention

Posted November 19, 2010 | General

Some very exciting stuff is happening with Mikayla’s Voice! The word is getting out that we are working hard to get the message out about children with disabilities; using Mikayla’s voice to share her experience as a disabled child hoping that her experience will help disabled children around the world.

This fall we presented ourselves at the EASTERN PENNSYLVANIA SPECIAL EDUCATION ADMINISTRATOR’S CONFERENCE in Hershey, PA and most recently MV presented at The Arc‘s National Convention in Lake Buena Vista, Florida! Mikayla, Kim, and one of the book’s authors and junior board member, Logan Houptley presented.

Below is what the Arc had to say about the dynamic trio:

Mikayla Resh, Student, Nazareth Area High School. is the inspira­tion for the book Our Friend Mikayla, written and illustrated by her third-grade classmates. Despite the severity of Mikayla’s disabilities, her family has always strived to give her as normal a life as possible including her inclusion in regular education. Her friends’ story of acceptance, understanding and friendship should be read by everyone regardless of age and has inspired Mikayla’s family to start a 50l(c)(3) nonprofit organization. An acronym for the Voice Of Inclusion for Children Everywhere, “Mikayla’s Voice” helps kids of all abilities share the message of inclusion. While Mikayla has never spoken a word, her friends and family have given her a “voice.”

Kimberly Resh, Founder, Mikayla’s Voice, never imagined Mikayla, who was born with a brain injury, would someday be a freshman in her local high school. Despite profound disabilities, Mikayla has been fully included in regular education since kindergarten. Kim­berly advocates for other students with special needs and has made numerous presentations on her daughter’s inclusion to encourage other families, schools and communities to give inclusion a chance. Most significant was Kimberly’s vision and coordination for the book, Our Friend Mikayla, written and illustrated by Mikayla’s third-grade classmates. She is seeking funding so a copy of the
book may be available in every public elementary school library across the U.S. and has founded “Mikayla’s Voice,” a nonprofit organization to inspire kids of all abilities to share the message of inclusion.

Logan Houptley has been Mikayla’s friend since the third-grade when their class worked together to write and illustrate Our Friend Mikayla, a book about having a friend with a disability. Since then, Logan has continued to promote the book and advocate for the in­clusion of children with disabilities. He is a founding member and currently serves as a junior executive board member for Mikayla’s Voice, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that inspires kids of all abilities to share the message of inclusion. An exemplary student and school leader, Logan is a member the National Junior Honor Society, as well as his high school’s student council and soccer team. A participant in the 2009 National Youth Leader Conference, Logan embodies the qualities of a great leader and friend.

Moving forward, MV is working to secure a grant in order to publish a second edition of “Our Friend Mikaylya.” Please contact us if you are interested in helping us with this project, or would like to work with our board in another capacity.

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Inspiring kids of all abilities to share the message of inclusion...