Saturday, June 15, 2013

Living the Courage Vibe Documentary

I want to take the chance to tell you about an AWESOME documentary that will be coming out sometime soon!

Living the Courage Vibe is a documentary from Michael Kobert and Dona Donato from Giggling Gorilla Productions.  The film follows the White family (Jody and John and their son Riley and daughter Allison).  They sold all of their stuff, packed backpacks and began on a trip around the globe!  The documentary follows their every move, showing their joys and sorrows, highs and lows. Their travels carried them to Bali, Morocco, and the UK!

Christmastime in Indonesia. Taken on Mt. Lawu in Java.

So why is this documentary so important for us??  Well, I'm glad you asked!  Alli has a rare childhood case of Neurosarcoidosis.  It is a disease that affects the cranial nerves supplying the head and neck region.  As you might imagine, this affects Alli's communication abilities.  This documentary is therefore also about the unique challenges and experiences one with a communication disorder may experience when traveling and helping others.  It is VERY touching how Alli communicates with her heart and doesn't let anything stop her!

Alli helping to teach English in Tha Thum, Thailand.  This picture just captures her enthusiasm so well!

Here's a beautiful excerpt written by Jody regarding Alli:
From 18 months old, Allison has had to learn how to communicate when those around her could not understand her words.  She would use various ways to communicate from charades, signs or anything that could help translate what she was trying to say.  We, as a family, could feel for her frustration and would do what we could to help.

All of those years of practice for Allison have paid off for her on this trip.  Since none of us speak a second language, we have many times resorted to charades, signs or pictures to get our point across just as she has done so many times.  Allison has been the strongest one in most of these encounters and has taught us new ways to communicate.  Her speech skills have also improved, as she is required to annunciate her words as she talks with people she has just met and who aren’t familiar with her pattern of speech.  Allison has also started working on learning Spanish as a second language.  In her attempts at the new words, it seems to be strengthening her other sounds.   Allison has also been a great sport about trying new foods.

With all the new tastes and spices she finds her tongue is much more active (which is what we want) and she surprises herself and us by showing us how she can now take her tongue tip and touch the roof of her mouth or move it to the side.  These things used to be so difficult now seem to be getting easier, possibly with the help of the spices.  Allison has never let her speech delay hold her back from participating.  Nothing has changed on this trip.  She is still the first to volunteer, ask questions and join in.  To her it doesn’t matter that someone speaks a different language. She has learned how to get around that obstacle, and she does it brilliantly.
The Whites have done a very courageous thing in my eyes.  They sold almost everything and left their comfort zone for the unknown world. They had no idea what they were getting themselves into, yet they still went. It is especially courageous of them to embark on such a journey with a child with special needs and unique communication challenges. Take a moment and think about the amount of speech you use on a daily basis.  Now think about how difficult it is for us to communicate in another country, not knowing the language.  That didn't stop the Whites or Alli, so it shouldn't stop us! 

Are you inspired??  I know I am!

Here's what to take from this:
1.  Encourage your students to follow their dreams.  Encourage them to chase after them wholeheartedly, even though there may be some difficulties.
2.  A brand new perspective on life and what is truly important.
3. Open your heart to what is possible for you and your students.

 If you feel called or led to donate to this documentary, you can do so at the IndieGoGo page here or click on the picture below!  There is also a video on that page that I would strongly encourage you to watch! 

Disclaimer: I was contacted by the producers about sharing this story with you.  All opinions expressed are mine.

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