Olivia Follman, a sixth grade student at the Center for Inquiry #84, is a young woman who has already demonstrated a passion for serving individuals of all abilities.

Each year, upper level students at the Center for Inquiry #84 choose an exhibition project, which is an extended, in-depth, collaborative project.  During her fifth grade year, Olivia Follman knew she wanted to pursue a project regarding disability awareness.  As she said, “I knew I wanted to do something with disability awareness and I also wanted to combine my passion for sports. With some research together, we found the Joseph Maley Foundation and that’s how I chose my topic.”

Her exhibition project grew into “Disability Awareness Through Adaptive Athletics.  Olivia had the opportunity to interview a Joseph Maley Fitness athlete, who turned out to be her very own neighbor, Cormac Delaney.  She also volunteered with the adaptive basketball program, where she mentored a young boy named Mason.  The project culminated in Olivia presenting these experiences and information about disability awareness to the entire student body during an exhibition fair in May 2017.

Olivia decided to take her exhibition project one step further in her sixth grade year.  Last fall, she requested a grant from the CFI Parent Teacher Student Association to bring the Joseph Maley Friends Puppet Troupe to perform for younger students.  After a presentation and formal application, Olivia’s request was granted and she contacted the Joseph Maley Foundation to arrange the performance.  “When I got the PTSA grant approved, I was very happy.  I think that the kids really enjoyed the puppet show; they laughed, smiled and understood the topics. Overall I think everyone really thought the puppet show was a catchy way to cover the topic of disability awareness,” she said.

Olivia continues to find ways to further her Joseph Maley Foundation experience.  She is looking forward to being a part of other adaptive sports, such as track and running.  Her desire to bring disability awareness to individuals everywhere reminds us of the power of “kids teaching kids.”  We can’t wait to see what the future holds for Olivia, a young woman who has captured the spirit of the Joseph Maley Foundation in her everyday life.

Post written by:

Courtney Basso, Events and Communications Director