Throughout the school year, Luke Wilson from Family Network on Disabilities (FND) hosted several workshops for the B.R.I.D.G.E.S. students. The workshops the class attended virtually were: Internet Safety and Nuts & Bolts of Self-Determination. Both sessions were very engaging, but in the Nuts & Bolts workshop, the students asked lots of great questions about self-advocacy and self -determination. This sparked Luke to have his son, Dion (25 years old) who has a disability and is successfully living independently, do a question-and-answer session with the B.R.I.D.G.E.S. students so that the class can learn about how Dion got to the point where he is and what challenges he had to overcome.

Dion spoke from the heart as he shared his experiences throughout middle and high school and how he was able to get through many obstacles growing up with a disability.  He recommended finding one teacher that you felt comfortable with to help you through your transition into your post-secondary journey.

As the conversation went on, many of the students wanted to know how Dion was able to get through the moments he struggled through. Dion said he took one day at a time. With each challenge, he correlated it to something he liked doing and was able to break it down to be more manageable.

Dion also discussed the importance of budgeting your money. His story about his first experience shopping alone was humorous. Dion decided to spend his money on all different kinds of sweets, and realized afterwards that it was not such a good idea because he didn’t have anything else to eat. The class thought this was funny, but at the same time was extremely eye opening to them. Now, with the help of a life coach, Dion explained that he is making better choices when he goes shopping. He takes several things into consideration such as: calories, cholesterol, and price before purchasing any items.

The students asked Dion many questions throughout the workshop, and Dion was able to answer them with honest responses and great advice. This workshop allowed the B.R.I.D.G.E.S. students to utilize as well as learn more about Resources, Growth, Empowerment and Social Skills!

We are very grateful for Luke and his son, Dion, for participating in the invaluable workshop for the B.R.I.D.G.E.S. students. We look forward to seeing Luke and Dion again at another CBI!