4th grader Lillian Guidry stands next to her older brother, Caleb Guidry, outside of a green house

Lillian and Caleb Guidry. Photo courtesy of Julie and Matt Guidry.


We always say that participation in our classes, performances, and community events looks different for everyone. Participation doesn’t have to be active, in a traditional sense. It may mean simply being present. Being present means you have the chance to absorb. To take in. To form a new mindset. 

Our 10-year-old daughter Lillian has been present at pretty much every Upstream Arts event and performance. She’s seen her brother, Caleb, perform with us. Lillian is an observer. She takes everything in. Recently she informed Julie and me that she had been given an assignment in school to write a persuasive essay, and that she had responded by writing an essay about why there should be more non-profits that serve people with disabilities. In addition to hanging it in a place of pride on the kitchen fridge, we thought we’d let her persuade you.


Persuasive Writing Assignment
by Lillian Guidry, 4th Grade

I think there should be more non-profit organizations with people who have disabilities because people with disabilities matter, they need to have a chance to express their feelings, to have chance to interact with others and have fun.

My parents run their own non-profit organization with people who have disabilities.

I think my parents got the idea from my half-brother because he has CdLS, which stands for Cornelia de Lange Syndrome which is a type of disability. I am kind of glad that my half-brother has disabilities because like him the way he is.

My parents do shows and events with the people who have disabilities. I have been to all the events that my parents did. Sometimes my brother is in the show, which is usually really funny. It is some of the most fun I’ve had in my life. I heard from the people in the show that the experience is astonishing. The people who are in the show look so happy when they’re on stage, they look like they’re having the best time in their life.

My parents also have classes during the day, and they do lots of activities.

For example they make a sound and do a motion depending on how they’re feeling that day. After they say what emotion they’re feeling, like if they’re feeling happy, sad, mad, confused, embarrassed, excited, or terrified.

Just because people have disabilities doesn’t mean they need to be treated differently.

That’s why I think there should be more non-profit organizations with people who have disabilities.

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