October 2023 in Review

 “October has been very busy for me as usual.

I gave the SALT Talk “Independent Living: The Allison Boot Story” on Tuesday, October 3rd for the Greene County Board of Developmental Disabilities. I am honored to have been asked to share my story. I was hopeful that the parents and young adults present would benefit from hearing my experience. I am happy to say that it seemed as though the attendees did benefit from my talk. One mother even said that I should write a transition curriculum for young adults with disabilities. I am definitely considering the idea as one of my future endeavors.

I spent October 25th-29th in my second home of Champaign-Urbana, Illinois preparing for the 2023 Disability Resource Expo. This was my second year serving as the co-coordinator of the expo. This year, 68 disability service providers were brought to Market Place Mall with the goal of giving people with disabilities and their loved ones easier access to the resources needed for a better quality of life. I am happy to say that, despite the cold weather, about 900 people attended the expo, and the event received some very positive feedback. The expo takes about 10 months to plan and can be stressful, but witnessing the people of Champaign-Urbana receiving much-needed help that I know will make the quality of their lives better is so worth it. After I get a few more years of coordinating experience under my belt, I hope to bring a similar expo to Dayton, Ohio, and its surrounding communities. Who is with me?

Read more about the expo here.

Surprise… I am officially a four-time self-published author!!! My first children’s book, Cherish: A New Kind of Unicorn is officially published and for sale. On October 20th, I went to Harold Schnell Elementary School in West Carrollton to speak to its second graders about the importance of inclusion and give them a preview of my new book. As a proud alumna of West Carrollton City Schools, the experience was very nostalgic and fun for me but also a whole new level of nerve-wracking. This is the first children’s book I have published, and I was honestly very nervous about how it would go. The boys and girls had a lot of questions about my life and my experience as an author, but I honestly wasn’t sure how they felt about the book. Well, my younger sister texted me a few days and explained that she ran into one of her childhood friends who has a son at Harold Schnell. The little boy proceeded to tell her that he met her sister the other day when she read a story about a unicorn at his school, and the boys and girls really liked it and her. I was so excited and relieved to hear that. I am guessing that my sister’s childhood friend made the connection because the principal at Harold Schnell was nice enough to include the presentation I made to the boys and girls in the school’s parent newsletter. The presentation included information about my upcoming book signing, which is scheduled for Saturday, December 9th from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Barnes and Noble Beavercreek. I will be creating a Facebook event for the signing very soon, so come if you’re interested in a signed copy of my new book or any of my books for that matter. I am also happy to say that a reporter from Spectrum News was present for my presentation at the elementary school. The story that he did about me and Ms. Wheelchair Ohio should be out very soon, so as always, stay tuned! I would be remiss to not give a huge shout out to my illustrator, Ihor Yarmolenko. Cherish: A New Kind of Unicorn would not be nearly as magical of a story as it is without him using his amazing artistic skills to help my imagination come to life. He is kind, patient, professional and an amazing artistic talent to work with. I cannot thank him enough for going on this journey with me. I hope that you guys will enjoy it half as much as I do.

Purchase Cherish: A New Kind of Unicorn here, then RSVP to Allison’s Facebook event here.

Lastly, I am glad to say that Ms. Wheelchair Ohio is continuing to change my life. Being a statewide titleholder and advocate has helped me realize just how much I wanted and needed to get further into the thick of advocacy work so to speak. With that being said, I am happy to announce that as of October 30th, I am a full-time Independent Living Specialist at the Access Center for Independent Living in Dayton, Ohio. I am so excited to have the opportunity to help others with disabilities acquire and refine independent living skills. The Access Center is very supportive of my work as a statewide titleholder, so I am happy to say that fulfilling my commitments as Ms. Wheelchair Ohio while working there will not be an issue. I am excited for a new educational opportunity I have coming up in November. Read my next titleholder happenings blog to learn more about it.”