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The people in my life, both personally and professionally, have often asked about the passion I have for the work I do. The question, to me, can feel overwhelming because what I have chosen is just such a part of who I am I have never attempted to tease it out.

I was first introduced to this type of experience when I was ten years old. At that time, I had been walking through my neighborhood and spotted a young boy standing by himself. I made a decision to approach him and found out he was deaf, and his name was Eddie. Over the next several weeks, I spent every day with Eddie learning his language. We became inseparable. I was able to give Eddie a voice in his community, our neighborhood, where he was the only deaf person. We would play practical jokes, join the swim team, and just hang out. Eddie’s influence on my life course will never fade. He taught me what miracles look like. It was exciting to be a part of his empowerment and my own.

It’s a miracle to watch people regain their power, live the life they were meant to live, become the best version of themselves. As individuals enter my office and share with me their reasons for being there, I listen and I watch. I hear what they are not saying and I see what they might be ashamed to share. Eventually, I summarize what I heard and not what they necessarily said. Many times I see the look that confirms what I heard. Initially, it is a look of surprise, shock, but then it turns into relief. Then I know the work can move forward. As our work together continues, there is a shift in the person who originally entered my office from feeling powerless and misunderstood into a person who begins to take control of their lives and trust their own decisions. This is the moment of magic in my world and theirs.

Thank you very much Eddie for the gift you gave me and the legacy you left behind.