Friday, June 22, 2012

Eastbound and Down

I am so glad it’s the weekend…it’s been such a busy week that I am needing a few days to recoup! Mom and I made the trip up to Kansas City Tuesday evening as I had plans for Wednesday morning.

Almost two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to speak and participate in Ability Quest. I was so impressed with the event and the cause that I wanted to learn more and so I reached out to Tara and took her up on her offer to tour the facilities of the Rehabilitation Institute of Kansas City (RIKC). RIKC is a hidden gem in midtown Kansas City that offers numerous services, such as, adult and pediatric/adolescent medical rehabilitation, an amputee program, a driving evaluation and training program, senior services, employment services, etc. The list goes on and on, which amazes me all in itself.
Tara met me at the door and we proceeded to walk around, visiting their main gym for adults, the occupational therapy kitchen, a pseudo apartment, and numerous offices.  One of my biggest memories from my “stint” at TIRR in Houston was the OT kitchen; I vividly remember cutting up bananas and strawberries for smoothies and making chocolate chip cookies. I would always tell my mom and any other visitors to never eat what we made…not that it might be bad, but there was a lot of hands that touched everything and who knew else what might have gone in there!!

Nonetheless, back to the RIKC tour…after visiting most of the adult services, we ventured over to where the kids were. We walked through where they were having camp and then proceeded into their more traditional therapy room. Not dissing any rehab that I have participated in, but the pediatric therapy unit and facility at RIKC looked like a heck of a lot more fun that what I’ve been subject too =)

We finished our tour by heading into the lower level where RIKC has sheltered workshops where adults with disabilities can gain experience that may help them transition into other community job opportunities and develop good working habits, behaviors, and skills.

RIKC is an amazing facility with so many wonderful services. I am so glad I had the opportunity to visit and I hope to make it back soon…plus I cannot wait for Bacon Fest…another RIKC fundraiser that stresses the 3 B’s – Beer, Bands, and Bacon!

After touring RIKC, we made our way to KU Med where I had a successful appointment and then we ventured out to do a little bit of shopping…I forgot my book at home and was desperately needing to get one!

Wednesday evening, Mom and I spent some time with two of my favorite people – Kenny and my Aunt Nancy. We didn’t venture too far out from our hotel for supper, stopping in at the Westport Flea Market Bar and Grill. Although known for some of the best burgers in town (I agree), I learned that the Westport Flea Market was once the stomping grounds for serial killer Bob Berdella. Before a young man jumped from Bob's two-story house wearing nothing but a dog collar, and before he was arrested, Bob made his living by running his booth, Bob’s Baazare Bazaar, inside the Westport Flea Market. 

Thursday morning, we headed west along I-70, to Washburn University for the Kansas Youth Leadership Forum (KSYLF) Mentor Luncheon. I was honored to be able to dine with the chosen delegates, their mentors, and the staff and volunteers at KSYLF. After eating a delicious meal and chatting with all those at our table, we had the privilege to hear David Westbrook, Senior Vice President for Strategy and Innovation at Children’s Mercy Hospital, speak of his testimony and his sound words of wisdom. 
David Westbrook speaking
Westbrook lost his sight at the age of 17 due to juvenile glaucoma, but has not let it hold him back one bit in his life. He has broken through numerous boundaries throughout the course of his life and credits part of his success to knowing the right people when he got out of college in the 1970s. His story was more than inspiring and he gave the students, as well as the entire room, some great advice for life.
KSYLF Luncheon
Our table
After the luncheon, we headed home…I was sure glad to see Bucklin on the horizon around 8 o'clock and was even more happy when I laid down in my bed last night. Nothing is better than sleeping in your own bed after a few days in a hotel and I think that is where I am headed as we speak.

Have a great weekend everyone!!   

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