Miss Bluff City Fair
Social Impact Statement:
Special Abilities: Advocating for Special Needs Education and Job Placement
Talent: Classical Aria “Mein Herr Marquis (Adele’s Laughing Song)”
Senior at the University of Memphis
Hello! I am Lydia Fisher, Miss Bluff City Fair 2020, and I am so excited to be representing my hometown of Memphis, Tennessee. I am a 21-year old Junior at the University of Memphis studying to obtain my BFA in Musical Theatre. I intend to pursue my graduate degree in Speech Pathology to teach those born with special needs to find their own voice as they have taught me!
My platform is called “Special Abilities,” which raises awareness for special needs education and job placement. My passion for this project began 3 years ago when I started making homemade horse treats, called Pony Pucks, to sell as a way to support my horse, Carrie. The treats were a big hit. However, as a full-time high school student, it got to the point where I couldn’t keep up with the orders. As fate would have it, I was approached by the Executive Director of Madonna Learning Center, Jo Gilbert.
Madonna Learning Center is a non-profit school that focuses on providing exceptional skills to their students with special needs to help them succeed in life. Jo Gilbert believed Pony Pucks was a perfect fit for their adult continuing education program. Through this social enterprise I helped form, the students were able to learn how to make and package the horse treats. They have been an amazing help and with every retail sale I’ve made, the majority of the profits go back to the school.
A year into the project, Jo Gilbert personally thanked me for the work with Pony Pucks as the skills they learned aided one of the students in getting a job at a local Memphis business. Now, I’ve been able to branch out to more Mid-South organizations with the same mission to provide inclusion into the workforce; one example is another local nonprofit that help people with disabilities, SRVS. It is my plan to take my platform to a national level and lobby for new laws that allow people with special needs to be accepted in the workforce.
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