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One important aspect of being a strong adult self-advocate is sharing your story. By telling others about your own personal challenges and successes, you will empower yourself, inspire other self-advocates to share their story, and educate the public about what it’s like to be an adult with Down syndrome.
Self-Advocate Spotlight: Meet Evan!
My name is Evan Sneider. I'm 32 years old. My passion my whole life has been acting, and my story is about an amazing opportunity and the wonderful adventure I've been experiencing.
When I was very young, I loved acting in my first play so much that I continued performing in every school play, in a youth summer theater program, took theater classes and as an adult auditioned for community theaters. I've performed in more than 20 productions so far. Since I'm a huge Stephen Sondheim fan, my favorites have been musicals he's composed.
My film work began in 2007. Friend and high school classmate, Justin Lerner, had a UCLA film school graduation requirement to create a short film. Knowing I loved to act, he auditioned me for a small role in his thesis film. I was cast in a small role and I loved the experience.
After his thesis film was completed Justin went on to win the Emmy for Best Student Director and took his film to many film festivals where he got a lot of praise. I was told people always asked about me. Justin met producers, Jerad and Kristina Anderson, who wanted to work with him, creating a film with me in the starring role. How incredible is that? This film is GIRLFRIEND.
In September 2009 filming on GIRLFRIEND began. I met and worked with my wonderful co-stars Amanda Plummer, Jackson Rathbone and Shannon Woodward and many other talented cast and crew. Everyone worked very hard and put a lot of love into GIRLFRIEND. Sometimes the days were long and the weather was bad, but I didn't mind at all because I love acting so much. Post production work in New York was fun too. I learned so much and everyone was so wonderful to work with. Once the film was completed it was submitted to the Toronto International Film Festival. Everyone was so excited when GIRLFRIEND became an official selection at TIFF!
In September of 2010 I traveled to Toronto and had the most incredible time. I had full days of press, photo shoots, interviews, parties and of course 3 premiere screenings of GIRLFRIEND (all were SOLD OUT!). The film received critical and audience acclaim (standing ovations at each screening),and one reporter actually called me "TIFF's New Star!".
Now we are working to get GIRLFRIEND into as wide a theatrical release as possible. Please check out www.indiegogo.com/girlfriend-2 to learn more. Other sites are http://indiefilmproducer.blogspot.com, producer Shaun
O'Banion's blog and GIRLFRIEND's official site www.girlfriendmotionpicture.com. Or you can just Google my name! :) There's much more to read about my amazing experience and about our film GIRLFRIEND.
I want to encourage everyone to follow your dreams. Growing up when I told my Mom about a goal I had, she would talk to me trying to prepare me for challenges I might face. I always told her "Mom, I can try!" I want to tell everyone that it is important to believe in yourself and follow your dreams. You never know what might happen.
Do you have a story you would like to share? Email your story to Colleen at firstname.lastname@example.org, and stay tuned for a new Self-Advocate Spotlight!
The MDSC believes every individual with Down syndrome can become not just a self-advocate, but a strong self-advocate. We do this by making the empowerment of self-advocates a major component of all our programs for adults. This includes the following:
The Self-Advocate Advisory Council (SAAC) is a group adults, ages 21 and up, who direct the MDSC on how our ogranization can best serve the teen and adult population. Council members develop key skills for becoming future leaders in the MDSC and the community. The SAAC also plans quarterly social events and workshops for adults throughout the state.
The Self-Advocate Workshops at the Annual Conference, is one of several tracks available to attendees of our Annual Conference in Worcester every March. During a full day of workshops, self-advocates have an opportunity to network and share experiences, strengthen their self-advocacy skills, and learn about the importance of leading a healthy life and building meaningful relationships.