Archive for February, 2019

Barbie dolls

Tuesday, February 26th, 2019

Published in Republican 2019

Carrie Writes
Barbie Dolls
Carrie Barrepski

I have very fond memories of spending hours playing with Barbie dolls with my sister and best friend as a young girl. We had many dolls, including all of the accessories, from cars to motor homes and a dream house. We would spend hours making up stories for our dolls, including background information. We had so much fun dressing them up and doing their hair.
Today Barbie dolls are available in different skin tones, body types, eye color and hairstyles. For the first time, Mattel will feature dolls with disabilities. One example is a Barbie doll that uses a wheelchair, while another one has a prosthetic leg.
Mattel’s head of design for Barbie, Kim Culmone, said, “For 60 years, Barbie has been a reflection of culture and fashion and that is key to the brand’s continued relevance. This year our Barbie line will include dolls reflecting physical disabilities in order to better represent the people and the world kids see around them.”
Mattel worked with experts at UCLA and Mattel Children’s Hospital to develop a wheelchair model similar to those used by individuals with physical disabilities. They used actual patients’ input to help designers make Barbie’s disabilities more realistic. The dolls with disabilities should be available this fall.
Playing with dolls can help children learn new skills and experiences while expanding their imagination.

Lawyers and disabilities

Tuesday, February 19th, 2019

Printed in the Republican in 2019

Carrie Writes
Disabilities and Lawyers
Carrie Barrepski

Former Representative of the House Tony Coelho of California donated $1 million to the Loyola Law School in Los Angeles to establish a department for disability law. This section is called the Coehlo Center for Disability Law, Policy and Innovation. It also works in conjunction with the seven other schools of Loyola University.
His interest in disability law was sparked at least in part by his epilepsy, and he was one of the major sponsors of the Americans With Disabilities Act.
In his opinion, many federal judges and elected officials make decisions based on their own experiences, which is why he wants to have more people with disabilities in those positions deciding disability issues. The law school plans on becoming a leader in accommodations for law students with disabilities and to create a national dialogue that identifies barriers. The school hopes to recruit law students with disabilities and hold “prelaw boot camps” for the public.
The group has several plans in the works for the next year, such as a paper on workplace accommodations for people with mental disabilities, a summer program for disability law fellows and a summer conference to discuss disability issues in general.

Loving your body

Wednesday, February 13th, 2019

Printed in the Republican 2019

Carrie Writes
Loving Your Body
Carrie Barrepski

For many years, I went through periods of body shaming, from feeling fat to hiding the hump in my back to comparing myself with others. This often left me feeling unworthy, ugly and depressed.
In our society, we often find ourselves comparing ourselves with others in social media and media outlets where we often have unrealistic expectations for ourselves, such as having the perfect figure. Over time, I have learned to accept my unique beauty with flaws and all through the power of positive thinking and affirmations.
There are four steps in stopping the self-hate game with ourselves. The first step is to focus on your health and feeling well. I have accomplished this by getting rid of the weight scale. I am no longer defining myself by a number. Instead, I am focusing on fueling my body with healthy and clean eating. I also use yoga and fitness to exercise and energize my mind and body.
The second step is to treat yourself the way you would treat someone you love. Why would you insult yourself when you would never insult anyone that you love and adore? This is something that I work on daily.
The third step is to always stay positive in all areas of your life, allowing positive energy to flow through you. More importantly, be grateful for what you have in your life.
The last step is to begin loving yourself from the start of the day by releasing all negativity. Treat your mind and body as a temple.

Living your best life

Tuesday, February 5th, 2019

Published the Republican 2019

Carrie Writes
Living Your Best Life
Carrie Barrepski

Many people have assumptions about having a disability. Many non-disabled people believe that a disability defines the other person and stops them from living out their dreams. A young lady named Chelsea Werner from California was born with Down Syndrome, a chromosomal defect that delays physiological and intellectual development.
At a young age, she was introduced to gymnastics to help her develop strong muscles since a common side effect of Down Syndrome is low muscle strength and tone.
Chelsea went on to win four Olympic championships in gymnastics at the Special Olympics. Chelsea believes that she has gained confidence and resiliency from the gymnastics.
We Speak is an international fashion agency that encourages people to love their body and accept who they are. The agency discovered Chelsea on social media in 2007, and was inspired by her story. The agency believed that Chelsea could excel in the fashion world while being a role model for others. Chelsea is hopeful that her modeling experience will inspire others since “everyone is beautiful in their own way.”
I have always felt that my disabilities are characteristics that help me build strength and compassion while empowering me to help others through my life experiences.