Keynotes

Inner Magic

Sarah truly believes that everyone has something magical to offer the world. Sarah shares the story of growing up with her brother Roberto, who was a genius in her eyes, and how he played the hole of the one she wanted to be like. She speaks of the important role that family and educators must play in students’ lives in order to support them in finding the voice that is to be used as a “tool” to finding their own inner magic.

Pieces of the Puzzle

Sarah takes her audience on a journey of awareness and self-discovery as she shares her story. She details how she pieced together her life puzzle by using the skills of dreaming, having expectations, self-awareness, and advocacy to successfully transition in school and above all, in life. From the unpaved roads of Puerto Rico to the paved roads of Newark, NJ, Sarah puts the pieces of her “life puzzle” together as she follows her dreams and challenges others to do the same.

Paved Roads

It is Sarah’s life conviction that the common thread that connects all people is the ability to dream. She has always been aware that people see her as different but she in return sees people as she sees herself. Sarah speaks to the roads she traveled on as a child and young adult that led to life lessons of family dynamics, education, employment, and relationships that helped her discover the person she was meant to be.

Impact of Growing Up in the Inner City

Sarah was raised with three brothers. Each brother affected her life in a very unique way. She often sat on the sidelines and watched as her brothers experienced the street life of Newark, NJ. Sarah speaks to how the results of her brothers’ choices made her conscious that she wanted to live a different life. Sarah is candid about the details of growing up in the inner city and the impact it had on her life.

Relationships

At the age of six, Sarah’s father left their home. Her mother was left to raise Sarah and her three brothers alone. As a little girl, Sarah often thought about the days when she felt loved and cared for by her father. As a teenager, however, Sarah was angered by her father’s absence and its affect on her brothers’ lives. It wasn’t until she became an adult that Sarah realized the impact her father’s love had on her in establishing relationships of her own. Sarah also speaks of how having a disability influenced the image she had of herself as a young woman.

Workshops

Finding your Voice

Writing has been a powerful tool in Sarah’s life. In her workshop, she uses the “I Am” poem as a tool to have participants express their fears, hopes, talents, and dreams. Even if participants think they cannot write a poem, they will leave this workshop understanding that we all have a powerful voice which can help shape our future and the future of others around us.

  • Audience: Youth

Employment: You have Rights!

Sarah discusses her work experiences from the time she graduated from Rutgers University to the present. She shares what worked and did not work when she first approached college; knowledge of ADA/Civil Rights Laws; and how youth can apply employment laws as they advocate for themselves.

  • Audience: Youth who wish to transition to work from school and all support system

Self-Advocacy

Sarah speaks to how self-advocacy is one of the most important skills needed in order to take control of one’s education and life. She details how understanding how youth learns best, participating in their IEPs, connecting to a support system, and having the opportunity to express themselves can build leadership skills and hence self-advocacy skills.

  • Audience: Youth and parents of youth with IEPs

Relationships and Sexuality

This is a topic so often avoided by caregivers because of not knowing exactly how to approach the subject matter. Sarah invites parents and caregivers to have a sincere and blunt conversation about dating and developing healthy relationships when someone has a disability.

  • Audience: parents and caregivers

Cultural Dynamic in the Hispanic Community

This workshop is geared towards Hispanic families that face different dynamics and ideas surrounding having a child with a disability. Sarah discusses the barriers and stigmas that Hispanic communities must overcome in order to advocate and connect to services for their children.

  • Audience: parents, educations