Monthly Archives: September 2014

Spotlight: Frozen Light Multi-Sensory Theatre

Last year Charlotte from The Daytrippers Team mentioned reading about an innovative special needs theatre production team called FROZEN LIGHT that focuses on performing shows for audiences with Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities (PMLD).  The more we poked around the website, the more we realised it was, indeed; very cool and a perfect match for Daytrippers.  As if by fate, one day we received an e-mail from Amber Onat Gregory, one of the co-founders of Frozen Light and an expert in multi-sensory theatre performance.  We look forward to collaborating with her in the future, but first, she agreed to an interview with We Are Daytrippers.

Smiles all around from Frozen Light's audience at The Arts Centre.

Smiles all around from Frozen Light’s audience at The Arts Centre.

The Daytrippers Team: Who are Frozen Light and how did you come about?

Amber Onat Gregory: Lucy Garland and I met at The University of Kent where we did a Masters in Applied Drama which involved working very practically with community groups.  One of our projects was working in a special school developing a theatre production for a class of teenagers with Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities (PMLD).  Inspired by the sensory work of Oily Cart and the storytelling techniques of Louise Coigley (Lis’n Tell) we began fashioning our own form of multi-sensory storytelling for audiences with PMLD.  After going our separate ways after university, where we both continued to create small scale sensory storytelling shows that toured special schools, we decided to come together six years later to heighten the quality of our work and take it into theatres.

We received a grant from the Arts Council England in 2012 to create a show for teenage audiences with PMLD which resulted in the creation of Tunnels.  Through the success of Tunnels we decided to create Frozen Light- a theatre company dedicated to creating theatre for audiences with PMLD to tour mainstream theatre venues.  By putting the work into theatres we wanted to raise the quality of the theatre that we were creating through the use of larger sets and theatrical lighting.  As theatre lovers ourselves we were also keen to look at how venues could become more accessible for people with PMLD.

From January- June 2014 Tunnels toured to 18 venues across the UK and reached over 400 people with PMLD plus an additional 500 carers, friends and family. Out of those 400 audience members with PMLD we discovered that 41% had never accessed the theatre before.  This was something that we had suspected but seeing the actual figures, collected from carers and families filling out feedback forms, we were quite shocked.  This really cemented for us the need to continue to create accessible multi-sensory theatre for audiences with PMLD and to work with theatres to programme more accessible shows.

The Daytrippers Team: Why is the multi-sensory aspect so integral to the production?

Amber Onat Gregory: By having multi-sensory elements throughout the show we have been able to create an accessible and theatrical environment that responds to the needs of our audiences.  Most of the multi-sensory elements are performed as an individual interaction between audience member and performer.  As a performer we step into the world of the person with PMLD rather than making them come into ours.  This one to one interaction gives us the opportunity to experience unique moments with our audience and give them the chance to explore the story using their senses.

Smiles all around from the audience at Frozen Light.

Smiles all around from the audience at Frozen Light.

The Daytrippers Team: What interested you in creating theatre for such a specific audience?

Amber Onat Gregory:  We have been working with people with learning disabilities for many years- both as performers and also in the care sector.  As well as performing, I used to work supply as a Teaching Assistant in special schools around London and Lucy worked as a support worker in a day centre for adults with learning disabilities.  As people who work in the theatre industry we have seen how theatres across the UK are trying to improve their accessibility and the post of an Access Manager is becoming more common. Theatres are making their venues more accessible with ramps, toilets, hearing loops, sign interpretation, and even programming relaxed performances for audiences with autism.  All of this is absolutely fantastic but there is still minimal work being programmed specifically for audiences with PMLD.  People with PMLD often find it difficult to access mainstream theatre shows for many reasons: the stage is too far away; the text is complicated; the only senses that are really used are sight and sound (very difficult for people with sensory impairments) and you are expected to sit in one spot and stay silent.  All of this on top of large audiences and mobility needs makes mainstream theatre almost unapproachable.  It is exciting to be making work for an audience who may be seeing theatre for the very first time.  Creating work for an audience who are not your average theatre goers is extremely liberating as so many of the usual theatre traditions are taken away which gives you a lot of artistic freedom when creating the work.  Due to the interactive nature of the production no two performances are the same which is also refreshing as a performer.

The Daytrippers Team: Is your show only for people with PMLD?

Amber Onat Gregory: When we created Tunnels we always had our specific audience in mind and all artistic decisions are created thinking about the responses of our audience.  We are also aware however that we all like to go to the theatre with our friends and family.  In our tour we did shows for both school groups and the general public.  It was our general public shows that got some of the best responses- audiences who had come together as a family.  When we created the show we made sure the production was an enchanting and mystical story that can be enjoyed by the whole family.  Even though there are a lot of one-to-one moments there are also many collective moments that the audience can enjoy together.

The Daytrippers Team:  What kind responses do you get from your audience?

Amber Onat Gregory:  We received really positive responses from all of our audiences- this includes companions, siblings, parents, grandparents, and of course- our teenage audience.  We were told many times that this was the first time that someone had ever been to the theatre and that there needed to be more accessible opportunities like this. One family who saw the show at The New Wolsey in Ipswich said:

A surprise visit from family including 2 teenagers with PMLD gave me the ideal excuse to experience this wonderful show. I loved it! The performers were so committed to involving everyone, even a 6yr old with an obsessive need to understand how everything works!  Our group included people from age 6 to 87, some with learning disabilities of varying levels, some without. We all enjoyed it equally which says it all for me, totally inclusive and completely enthralling. Thank you!’

Another mother who brought her daughter spoke about how relaxing it was to come and see a show without feeling judged by others,

In our world there is the constant frustration of “where can we go where there is no one staring, where not only Lauren is having a great time but as a parent we can relax and just revel in her enjoyment, where she is the majority not a minority ” well in just under an hour TUNNELS achieved all of this and more!

These comments from our audiences really demonstrate everything that we are trying to achieve through setting up Frozen Light.

The Daytrippers Team: What’s next for Frozen Light?

Amber Onat Gregory: We have just started to develop our next show The Forest. We have been fortunate enough to once again to receive funding from the Arts Council England for the development of the show as well as developing our audiences.  This project will take place over the length of a year and we plan to tour our new show in Autumn 2015.  We have also received a grant of £2500 from the Bruce Wake Trust (who also organise accessible boating holidays for people with disabilities) and £5000 from the Stanley Thomas Johnson Foundation.  We are incredibly grateful for the support we receive from trusts and foundations as without it our work would not be possible.

Our new show will be for teenage and adult audiences with Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities (PMLD).  We created Tunnels for teenagers but had many adults with PMLD access the show with their families and carers.  There is very limited accessible arts opportunities for adults with PMLD therefore this is an audience that we really hope to develop.

We will be booking the tour this October so please do get in touch if you know of a theatre venue near you that you would like us to visit.

Connect with Frozen Light’s Amber Onat Gregory:

@Frozentheatre

info@frozenlighttheatrecom

http://www.frozenlighttheatre.com

 

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Spotlight: Treehouse at Number Nine

Come on over the No. 9 !

Come on over to No. 9 !

Psst!  We Are Daytrippers recently found out about an incredible group of kids on a continuous adventure … The Genies Gang who meet at The Treehouse at Number Nine.  This brand new app for ipad will soon become available in other mobile formats, but for the lucky few who have the opportunity to check it out now; you will not be disappointed.

Meet The Genies Gang

Meet The Genies Gang

From a Daytrippers Children’s Charity perspective; the stories about The Genies Gang seem to mirror many of our supporters, kids, families and carers lives that we want to be one of the first charities to promote this app with special music dynamics and lots of FUN included!1743440_803765823020510_7625435839778357228_n

Get to know Angel, Ted, Macro, Jow, Oscar, Cee-Cee and more who all have special genes that make them the fantastic characters they are.  This is just the beginning of The Treehouse at Number Nine so do stay updated, like their Facebook page, follow the gang on Twitter @TreehouseGenies but most importantly download the app first:

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/treehouse-at-number-nine/id941368980?mt=8

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Word of Advice: Let’s Try Being Kind to Each Other!

Writer, performer and comedian Bernadette Russell.  Photograph by Gerald Kydd.

Photograph of Bernadette Russell by Gerald Kydd

Comedian, writer, performer and kindness crusader BERNADETTE RUSSELL is devoted to spreading happiness.  She recently wrote an activity book for kids based on ideas of kindness called Do Nice, Be Kind, Spread Happy.  This book resonates with Daytrippers ethos of spreading happiness to disabled and terminally-ill children.  Brook from The Daytrippers Team found out about the book while browsing Waterstones and immediately got in touch with Russell to see if she might contribute to We Are Daytrippers.  Guess what?  She said yes (yahoo!) and made us very happy because we think of her as a true expert in how to be a most excellent person.

Here is Bernadette Russell’s word of advice:

The news is really depressing and horrible. Sometimes for ghoulish fun I string together all the headlines into one long sentence like this: “scientistwarnglobalwarmingresultsinkillerbeesandimmigrantsandbenefitscheatsstealingpensionsandcausingcancer. “

It’s unbearable sometimes, to face it all, and to be left wondering “What Can I do about all that?” and those stories, on a loop, delivered 24/7 with loads of splashy headlines full of terrifying exclamation marks and dramatic bold fonts, make us think how bad the world is, how awful we are, us human beings.

I like to remind myself, of course, there is loads of bad stuff in the world, but it is always outweighed by the good. Maybe you don’t believe me. Maybe you sigh and say something like, “that’s a nice thought, but she’s living in cloud cuckoo land” (I love this expression actually, I do wonder what it would look like, and if cuckoos rule it or not? Is it actually IN THE CLOUDS? That would be great. Unlikely, but great).

I actually live in Deptford, South East London, my formerly scruffy, recently gentrified little patch of home. It’s still pretty poor, although now you can buy a soya flat white and buy organic quinoa, plus there’s a picture of Jamie Oliver visiting Deptford, on one of those luxury flat hoardings, and I like him, so I don’t mind seeing him.

Bernadette Russell, the kindness crusader

Bernadette Russell, the kindness crusader. Photograph by Graeme Braidwood.

So, a while ago, August 18th 2011, post-riots and with a head spinning with images of buildings on fire and the bigoted foamy rantings of various people in the media, I paid for a boy’s stamp in the local post office. Since then, I have promised to be kind to a stranger every day for a year. I initially committed to a year, but the experience was so life changing that I kept it up, and you can read the whole story here should you wish www.366daysofkindness.com

Pretty much for the last three hundred years we have accepted as fact the belief of various respected and powerful thinkers (Sigmund Freud etc.) that humankind is innately selfish. Often when we hear stories about someone mugging some one else in the park, we also hear “oh, that’s human nature” as if this is the natural order of things and to be expected, suggesting perhaps that kindness is the unusual thing.

I’d like to suggest that it’s not. We’ve somehow been persuaded to believe that other people are bad, to be feared, avoided, be suspicious of. But I offer you this challenge: just notice tomorrow how often people are kind to you (opening doors, helping with a heavy case, saying thanks, smiling, letting you go first, all those every day courtesies that keep society functioning and ensure that we muddle along together). Ok, so once or twice during your day someone might be rude or grumpy but I bet that’s outweighed by the good things. Every day. You might get home and say: “this man swore at me to get out of the way of the bus” On a day filled with many many small acts of kindness we report on and remember the bad ones. I try to do the reverse. I try to remember all the good things that happened in the day. I try to be kind at every opportunity. I try to forgive people for their grumpiness or rudeness (I don’t have the slightest idea what sort of day/week/life they’ve had after all). The person who is rude to me may have just found out they didn’t get a job they were after. They might have had an argument with their mum. They might be worried about money. Or just stubbed their toe.

Doing this has made me happier and less fearful. I have got to know my neighbours. I’m no saint of course. Being kind every day, remembering the good things, and being forgiving are still a challenge now, even after all this time. Sometimes I am that grumpy person on the bus. But I forgive myself that too, and shrug it off. I try to also be kind to myself in this way.

Of course I am by no means the only person who thinks this: lots of people are thinking about kindness, empathy and happiness, and how we can evolve as a species. (That whole “eye for an eye” thing not having worked out so well for us). There are loads of organisations promoting kindness and happiness, promoting ideas of hope instead of fear, having faith in human beings. There are conversations happening globally in cafes and round kitchen tables, on Facebook and twitter about these ideas: that the relentless pursuit of money and power, the acquisition of possessions, the narrow view of success that these pursuits imposes upon us has not made the world a better place and has definitely not made us happier. That there is another way.

A while ago I was at the rally to save the NHS in Trafalgar, a subject close to my heart. To me the NHS embodies compassion, empathy and a collective optimism that must be defended. Billy Bragg came on stage to sing to us all as the sun went down. He spoke about “our enemy being cynicism” and he’s right. Don’ t be cynical, and you will already be helping to make the world better. If you have to moan then ask yourself what can I do to help? There may well be something. (not moaning is a start – I often tell myself this!)

Bernadette Russell and musician Billy Bragg

Bernadette Russell and musician Billy Bragg. Photograph by Sian Williams.

But above everything else: be kind. Kindness is the same as love. In the end it is all that matters. There’s a revolution coming. It’s all going to be alright.

Bernadette Russell

Twitter @betterussell

www.366daysofkindness.com

www.thewhiterabbit.org.uk

These are some of the organisations that have helped me:

Action For Happiness

Sunday Assembly

People United

The Daytrippers Team:  Thank you so much for your contribution Bernadette Russell.  x

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5 Minutes With … Kin Molina

Musician Kin Molina

Photograph by Carlos Jimenez.

Spanish journalist KIN MOLINA  was ready for a career change.  Brook from The Daytrippers Team spoke to Molina over a year ago and recalls him saying “My last interview was with Emma Stone, some American girl and I have to keep replaying the interview over and over to understand her accent!”  Molina (also known as Joaquin Molina Reina) returned to a career in music (he also occasionally makes time to cook a superb authentic paella for his neighbours!).  Authentic, wise and talented are three words to easily describe the hard-working singer and composer whose most recent album does not disappoint.  We Are Daytrippers are thankful he took time out for a brief interview:

 

The Daytrippers Team:  Who was your role model or mentor as a child?

Kin Molina:  If I had to choose a role model, it would be my mother without any doubt.  My father had problems with alcohol and my family (mum, brother and I) dealt with that situation the best way we could.  I’m Spanish and during the seventies, when I was a child, it was not very easy for women in my country.  My mother was a nurse and she worked very hard for my brother and I to have a decent life.  I remember her as a very modern and beautiful woman (she still is!), always happy and in a good mood.  She always made the most out of the difficult situation we were living in.

The Daytrippers Team:  Who is currently your role model?

Kin Molina:  As a journalist I have interviewed many famous people:  Francis Ford Coppola, Helen Mirren, Dolce and Gabbana, Tamara Rojo … to name a few.  but there was one person that made a very big impression on me; the Kenyan environmental and political activist Wangari Maathai.  She won the Nobel Prize in 2004.  A brave woman who dedicated her life to promote the recovery of the forests in Kenya and other countries.  She died in 2011.  I think she is a role model to follow for the future generations.

In the early 80’s, I worked for a literary magazine in my home city, Málaga.  I was also a part time poet and published a few poems.  At the same time, I was working in a publishing house called Dador that was dedicated to recovering hidden gems of Spanish and Latin American literature, the Cuban writer Reinaldo Arenas was among them.  We met him in Madrid at the end of the 80’s and I remember him as a person full of life and joy in spite of the hardships he had endured.  At that time we met, he was exiled from Miami and unfortunately later died of AIDS.  There is a very interesting film about his life called Before Night Falls by Julian Schnabel with Javier Bardem in the role of Reinaldo Arenas.

The Daytrippers Team:  What is your creative talent and how do you cultivate it?

Kin Molina:  I wrote my first song when I was around 17.  It was a very gloomy and gothic song about a plague in a city.  During the eighties I was a member of a techno-pop band called Requiem.  We played together for five years and after the band split I went solo for a couple of years in a project more similar to electronic cabaret.  After that period of my life I moved to Madrid and went into journalism, writing for national magazines.  Recently, I returned to music after moving to London and I’m preparing to release an album.

The Daytrippers Team:  Have you had any experience with disabled people?

Kin Molina:  Yes, I have indeed.  My brother contracted polio when he was one year old.  It affected his left leg.  I am three years younger than him so as far as I can remember my brother has always been dealing with this issue.  Until adolescence it was not a big problem.  We played together, we went to the beach with my mother, and we did the usual things that boys do.  But when he was 13 or 14, everything changed.  My brother stopped coming with us to the beach and became more reclusive for a few years.  I suppose this was because he was self-conscious, but he did not and does not talk much about that.

The Daytrippers Team:  Who and what motivates and inspires you to be creative?  

Kin Molina:  Films, Art, Life.  I love Nina Simone, Marianne Faithfull, Nico, Kate Bush, Diamanda Galás, The Associates, David Bowie, Scott Walker, Brian Eno, Nick Cave, Kurt Weill … the list can go on.  If I have to choose one person, without a doubt Marc Almond would be the main source of inspiration in my music.

The Daytrippers Team:  Thank you so much Kin Molina for your time.

Connect with Kin Molina:  @kin_molina

 

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5 Minutes With … Leon Logothetis

 

Leon cuddling a Boston Terrier.

Leon cuddling a Boston Terrier.

Not only does LEON LOGOTHETIS believe in being a kind person; he believes in the kindness of others.  According to Leon you can find kind people everywhere – all over the world in fact (and he would know).  Mr. Logothetis has been to every continent, visited 50 countries and hosted the TV series ‘Amazing Adventures of a Nobody.’  He documented his travels getting by on £5.00 per day and the decency of others in the form of his book The Kindness Diaries (available for purchase December 2014).

We Are Daytrippers think that any person who takes life by the horns and goes for it like Leon does deserves high marks in our book!  On his website it states:  “Changing lives one adventure at a time.”  Daytrippers can certainly relate to that challenge.  We are thankful to Leon for his time in this brief interview.

 

The Daytrippers Team: Who is currently your role model or mentor?

Leon Logothetis: I would say that the people I meet on my adventures around the world are my mentors & my role models. They teach me how to be a better person and how to see that there are two sides to every story. They also keep me humble and keep me on my toes.

Ultimately, i guess what i am saying is that ‘people’ from all walks of life have taught me that we really are all the same. We have good traits. we have bad traits. But at base we all want the same things: Love. Acceptance. Hope.

The Daytrippers Team:  Did you have a role model or mentor as a child?

Leon Logothetis: I had a mentor when I was a teenager, Dr Susan Mann.  She taught me to believe in myself. She taught the power of kindness and the necessity of following your dreams.

Leon goes bonkers!

Leon goes bonkers!

The Daytrippers Team:  What is your creative talent?

Leon Logothetis: I think my creative talent is in my writing and in my ability to connect with people. I cultivated both of these things by taking risks!

The Daytrippers Team:  Would you share a challenge in your life? 

Leon Logothetis: One of the greatest challenges I had in my life was living someone else’s definition of my life. My failure to live my own dreams led me towards depression and disappointment. when I left my job as  a broker I found the courage to be the person I always wanted to be.  In finding that courage, I have been inspired by many people along the way; people who have made me into the person I am today. Without all the connections I made, I wouldn’t be living my truth.

The Daytrippers Team:  What motivates or inspires you to be creative?

Leon Logothetis: The act of creating is motivated by my desire to inspire others to be the best they can be.  If something I do speaks to someone else in even a small way then my creativity has been worth it. And another thing that inspires my creativity is that its fun to be creative!

The Daytrippers Team: Do you have any advice for children who are facing difficulties?

Leon Logothetis: As a kid I was bullied and felt very shy and introverted. I was lucky because I met some people who believed in me and showed me that I was worth a lot more than I thought I was. If anyone tries to put you down, or take away your joy, just remember that you are worth a lot more than you think … and if that doesn’t work contact me and I will tell you!

The Daytrippers Team:  Thank you so much Leon for your contribution.

Connect with Leon Logothethis: @LeonLogothetis

LeonLogothetis.comLeon Logothetis

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MY STORY: Rene Roberts “My Mind in the Mirror”

Rene Roberts and husband

Rene Roberts and husband

RENE ROBERTS does not accept mediocracy.  As a motivational speaker, primary school teacher, writer and life coach, she is driven to succeed and help others do the same.  As any bronzed Californian might, Ms. Roberts also enjoys athletics and despite her diagnosis of cerebral palsy as a young girl, she set herself the challenge to become a triathlete.  We Are Daytrippers is in awe of Roberts and salute her courage to speak out about life with cerebral palsy and in doing so, inspire future generations.

Here is Rene’s story:

When I lay in bed at night or curl up in my comfy chair to watch the Angel game or when I am in the middle of a great lesson with my first grade class, disability is no where to be found.

As a child I would walk through our neighborhood outdoor mall with my siblings or family and EVERY time I walked past a mirror or a reflection in a window I was shocked by what I saw. I never once recognized that skinny scrawny kid with the twisted legs who basically willed her body forward with each step. The metal braces were foreign. The eventual plastic braces were foreign too, but most of all the disability was and still is foreign to me. I can’t relate to it. I don’t see myself that way in the mirror of my mind.

In the mirror of my mind I am strong and tall and tan and kind of cute. Sometimes in the mirror of my mind I am even sexy but never in the mirror of my mind am I weak and broken and limping along. I never have been. I don’t know why and I can only speak to my experience but I have always believed myself to better, stronger and more capable than the reflection in the mirror. Maybe this is the way I survive. Perhaps it is the way I thrive. Some may say I am merely fooling myself, that I am delusional or that I have body dysmorphia to the positive extreme. That all may be true, but does it matter? Yes, it matters very much because each day I get up and get dressed (in cute outfits) and I go to work and I shop and I am a wife and a mom and in the mirror of my mind I am no different than you are.

What if the reverse was true? What if everyday I saw my self as socety sees me? What if I believed that because my body doesn’t look a certain way I have no right to a job or an education? What if I believed that my disability made me so ugly I should never leave the house or travel the world? What if I believed that because I was disabled I should never have children? What if I believed as so many do, that because my body is broken or twisted I must have no brain?

This is the reality of society’s mirror. I apply for 20 jobs to get offered one. I have 2 degrees because I felt I needed to be over qualified for any job to compensate for my disability. I have been shunned and suffered terrible abuse in foreign countries because “we don’t want people like you here”. I have even had parents request that their child not be placed in my class because I am disabled. Societies mirror of disability is cracked and splintered. I can’t do anything about that. I can however continue each day to manage my own reflection in the mirror. I must continue to nurture the woman I see without bitterness, anger or upset. I know now that as I reflect my image of my mind in the mirror others begin to see that reflection too.

The children I teach each day soon forget that their teacher is disabled because most days I forget. We are too busy learning and growing and laughing and exploring. Too busy most days to notice the teacher with the skinny legs or even to notice the sometimes-needed wheelchair. To my students the wheelchair for me is a tool I need to do my job in the same way their pencil is a tool they need to do their job. My reflection each day to 5 and 6 year olds has the power to alter societies reflection in the mirror. My refusal to be bitter or angry when people are stupid and cruel has the ability to alter societies reflection in the mirror. My willingness to live fully as a mother and do crazy fun things with my grown sons and someday my grandchildren will I am certain alter societies reflection in the mirror. Each day my responsibility is to manage my own reflection regardless of the cracks, splinters and distortions others may see. If my view and vision in the mirror is consistent enough perhaps those around me will start to buy new mirrors!

The Daytrippers Team:  Thank you so much Rene Roberts for your contribution.

 

Rene Roberts and sons

Rene Roberts with her two sons.

 

Stay connected to Rene:  http://www.renerobertswins.com/

And also on Twitter:  @renerobertswins

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5 Minutes With … Stephen Clancy

Irish professional cyclist Stephen Clancy

Irish professional cyclist Stephen Clancy

The reputation of 22-year-old Irish cyclist STEPHEN CLANCY is impeccable. A bright, talented and kind person, it is no wonder he was asked to become an ambassador for Team Novo Nordisk; the world’s first all-diabetes professional cycling team. Stephen has raced 4598.25 kilometres in 33 race days in 2014 to places all over the world such as Azerbaijan, Taiwan, Denmark, Italy, France, Korea, USA, China and next week his team travels to the UK. We Are Daytrippers could not be more pleased to have his contribution to the 5 Minutes With … section and we will be proudly cheer on his team at the Tour of Britian from 7th – 14th September, 2014.  Best of luck to you in your next race, Stephen.

The Daytrippers Team:  Did you have a role model as a child?

Stephen Clancy:  Not really, however I always did look up to the top sportspeople in whatever sport I was interested in at the time as I grew up. I always admired how they were the best in the world at what they did, and what they did in order to achieve that success.

The Daytrippers Team: Who is currently your role model or mentor?

Stephen Clancy:  I would say all my Team Novo Nordisk teammates. They inspire me to combine professional cycling and live with Type 1 diabetes. Seeing that they can do it motivates me to succeed and they are always very understanding and willing to offer support.

The Daytrippers Team:  What is your talent and how do you cultivate it?

Stephen Clancy:  I consider myself a very positive, optimistic person. I try to look at the good in everything and don’t focus too much on the negative. As a result, I feel I can handle setbacks quite well and take positives from most things. I use them as stepping-stones and motivators to continue to progress and succeed.

Photograph copyrighted by Eibhir

Photograph copyright by Eibhir

The Daytrippers Team: Would you share a challenge in your life?

Stephen Clancy:  Being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at 19 years of age was certainly a challenge for me. It was a huge shock and difficult to understand at first. I overcame it by learning as much as I could through research and experience. In the end, this time and effort rewarded me by being able to well manage my diabetes and consequently being able to return to competitive cycling and eventually to race professionally.

The Daytrippers Team:  Do you have any advice for children who face difficulties?

Stephen Clancy:  You can still pursue your dreams. Since I was diagnosed, I’ve worn a medical ID bracelet on my wrist with the engraving “impossible is nothing”. I faced the challenge of overcoming the obstacles presented by my diabetes diagnosis and I’ve exceeded the expectations of what I thought I could achieve. This is not the only test I’ve encountered in my life. Everybody is different and everyone faces different difficulties, however whatever it may be in life, you must try to be positive and think optimistically to overcome the challenges life throws at you. You have one life, you have got to take the bad with the good and live it to the max.

The Daytrippers Team: Thank you so much Stephen!

Learn more about Team Novo Nordisk:  http://www.teamnovonordisk.com/

Stay connected with Stephen Clancy: @teamnovonordisk

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The Daytrippers Team: Love Letter to Noam Chomsky

How to convince NOAM CHOMSKY that We Are Daytrippers would greatly value his contribution?  To my chagrin his last response read: “Wish I could help, but I am afraid I cannot answer these questions.  I didn’t have a mentor or role model as a child, and don’t now, and have nothing of interest to say about the other topics.”  LogoPlease_Cuore.jpg

In May of 2014 I watched Noam speak at the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London which happened to coincide with when the concept for We Are Daytrippers began to formulate.   The discussion at Chatham House was about Rethinking US Foreign Policy  of which I personally know very little but was curious to hear what Noam Chomsky had to say in person.  The legend was as I expected; comfortable in his own skin, pleasantly argumentative and brilliant in his responses.  And why wouldn’t he be? He has the experience, education, expertise and connections to find out many answers to US Foreign Policy.

Noam Chomsky speaking at Chatham House, 2014

Noam Chomsky speaking at Chatham House, 2014

It is for this reason I was so keen to feature Noam Chomsky and find out his answers to my 5 Minutes With section; pure curiosity.  When I mentioned my wish while chatting with a friend she cooly said “oh I used to correspond with Noam all the time while studying linguistics at Oxford” and a few minutes later she e-mailed some of their correspondence to me as further proof.

What’s a girl to do when she’s given the contact details of a man she wants to interview?

The next day I e-mailed him my interview questions and information about We Are Daytrippers and two hours later an assistant responded to say that Professor Chomsky was travelling. Bingo!  Just the mere response from the assistant was exciting.

A month later I sent a follow up e-mail.  Two days later Mr. Chomsky responded:

“The deluge of requests for interviews is so enormous that I am compelled, reluctantly, to resort to this form letter to say that I cannot consider any further ones until at least September.  Sorry, but just no choice.”

When 1st September rolled around I made sure to follow up for the third time thinking in the back of my mind that maybe just maybe this could be the time.

Let’s face it, Noam Chomsky IS understandably inundated with interview requests regarding human rights, international affairs, foreign policy, linguistics … the list of areas where he is considered an expert is long.  He is GREAT in an interview and can be controversial.

We Are Daytrippers aims to create an inclusion audience.  By inclusion I mean an audience of readers made up of Daytrippers Children’s Charity supporters, active members in our database and experts; but also engaging people who are not affected by children with disabilities and or life-threatening illnesses.  By doing this, we raise awareness about disability, our charity and create (hopefully) interesting content.

There are many evidence-based studies about the positive impacts role models, mentors, experts and creatives have on an individual throughout his or her life.  Our aim is to promote suitable role models for all children, disabled or not, in hopes that they might benefit.  One of our favorite advocates in this area is the neuro-scientist Mary Helen Immordino-Yang who has agreed to contribute to We Are Daytrippers.

Noam Chomsky, might you please reconsider and contribute too?

Respectfully yours,

Brook from The Daytrippers Team

Read some articles about Noam Chomsky here: http://www.chomsky.info/

 

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