“If your dreams aren’t scary, they aren’t big enough,” shared Symphonie with a glowing smile. Within a matter of minutes, you quickly discover her infectious personality, plus her desire to positively impact others. “Even though I have a physical challenge, I can help people. Helping people is my thing,” she continued. Symphonie was born with cerebral palsy, but she has never let it hold her back.
Symphonie has accomplished many of her dreams, but constantly sets her sights on new, exciting horizons. She recently graduated with a degree in Fashion Merchandising from Kent State’s internationally renowned Fashion Design and Merchandising School and was even a model for a fellow designer’s wheelchair accessible clothing line. “But I realized I wanted to do something bigger and better,” she said.
For the past year, Symphonie has been a hardworking volunteer for Project Learn, an organization that offers a variety of adult education services including GED and HSE preparation, English for Speakers of Other Languages, College/Career preparation, and more. Symphonie was recently recognized by Project Learn at their GED Graduation and Recognition Ceremony with the Jean Sonnhalter Volunteer Award for dedication and service to adult literacy.
“We are all very proud of her,” shared Symphonie’s Summit DD Service and Support Administrator (SSA), Antoinette Allen. “I’m glad that Toni [Antoinette] is here to see me get this award. She has helped me in so many ways. When I first moved into my house, it wasn’t wheelchair accessible,” said Symphonie. “I felt trapped in my own home. But Toni helped us make it accessible, which was greatly appreciated,” she continued.
Symphonie also shared that she’s learned so much volunteering for Project Learn. There are a lot of immigrant families that use their services. In fact, she wants to take her volunteer efforts one step further and go back to school for a graduate degree in Spanish. “I really want to be an interpreter, so people can feel comfortable getting the services they need,” said Symphonie.
There’s no doubt that Symphonie will continued making a positive impact on her community with her future goals and dreams. But for some, it can be difficult finding their path. When asked what advice she’d give others embarking on their own journey, Symphonie stated with a smile, “Just go for it! You won’t ever regret following your dreams!”