Friday, May 9, 2014

• Meet Ashley Fox

I had the chance to meet a remarkable young lady while at the Astronomy in the Park event. Her name is Ashley Fox.

She's a girl scout and is in the middle of a Silver Award Project.

She was busy manning the Marna O'Brien snack bar for the fund raiser, but still found ten minutes to chat with me.

Selling Pizza at the snack bar at Marna O'Brien Park on Astronomy night.
Ashley and Stephanie Moore at the counter and Cheryl McCool-Benedicto behind them.

WR: I know that you are 13 and in 8th grade, what school do you go to?
AF: Elsinore Middle School and I'm in the GEMS program.

WR: What is the GEMS program?
AF: It's a magnet program (Gaining Excellence in Math and Science).

WR: What subject do you enjoy the most?
AF: My favorite subject this year is astronomy.

WR: What a perfect evening for your fundraiser (it being Astronomy Night at the park).
AF: Exactly!

WR: Were you born in Wildomar?
AF: No, I was actually born in Carlsbad. We moved to this area in 2005 or 2006.

WR: Besides the girl scouts do you have other activities?
AF: Oh yeah, absolutely. I have Families of SMA (Spinal Muscular Atrophy), which is basically a lot of parents and people who have SMA like me... which is my disease. Then there's MDA (Muscular Dystrophy Association), who supports you and I go to MDA camp in the Summer; it's like a week long.

WR: Do you have any siblings?
AF: I do, I have a brother but he doesn't have it... but he may be a carrier so he has to check before he gets married.

WR: Do you find that people treat you the way they'd treat other people, or do they come up to you with big eyes [speaking in an affected manner] saying "how are you today?"
AF: That's a very interesting question because no one's ever really asked me that. Actually I get baby talked to a lot, and you would be surprised about how many people [don't] treat me like a real person.

It's probably like a 1 in 20 chance that a person will actually talk to me like a real person... 

...but the others treat me like I'm a baby and not all there. It's frustrating to me because until you get to know that person, that has a muscle disease, then people just lay eyes on them and say "she's cognitively affected, she's not all there." 

Then that's how I got treated in school when I was younger. They called me names, they called me the "R" word, they called me stupid, they threw stuff at me.

Let me interrupt this conversation to chastise some of the parents out there. 

Feel free to teach your little darlin's some decency... 
the rest of us would be much obliged.

Now back to your regularly scheduled conversation, already in progress.

WR: What was the first part of the Silver Award project?
AF: basically, deciding where it would go, and if we can meet the deadline and how much we were going to raise.

WR: The goal was $3500, and you're more than half way there ($2800 as of last count), do you have ideas of what to do if you raise a lot more than the goal?
AF: If we raise $4000 we might put in a piece of  sensory playground equipment.

I really enjoyed this next exchange with Ashley. I wanted to ask her about her experience on these types of swings.

WR: When you've been on these swings before... [I noticed her eyes getting a bit bigger] I'm sure you've been on one... right?
AF: Actually I have not.

WR: Oh, you haven't?
AF: I haven't. [Said with a big smile]

WR: Oh no. [Said with an even bigger smile from me]
AF: I've just heard about it.

WR: I've heard there's one in San Clemente, right?
AF: There is. There's an accessible playground where you can actually go on the equipment; big playground equipment with ramps and you can hang out like the other kids.

The next fundraiser for Ashley's project is Monday May 12th at Stadium Pizza. It's an all day event and to participate just order from the menu (no specials or delivery) and be sure to mention the Freedom Swing.

Another great event on the fund raising schedule is
  Wildomar Night at the Storm Game.

Friday July 25th

$2 from each $10 ticket sold will be donated to the project. There will be grab bags with many great things inside for $5 apiece.
When buying your tickets, be sure to mention Wildomar and the Freedom Swing so that they know to add the money to the donations.

If you'd like to donate directly to the project, be sure to contact Ashley's mom, Kimberly. She gave me her phone number and would be happy to speak to you. (951) 639-7864.

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