Thursday, August 25, 2022



How is your summer going? I hope you are doing fine and that you had a good summer.

I am back at home from my summer vacation. This summer I had fun working at a camp in the candy and Ice cream store. I also went to Traverse City in Michigan and to a YMCA camp in Colorado and stayed in a YURT. I am excited to start my classes at the CO-OP program at UIC. 

Today I had the chance to interview my good friend Kelly Neville. She is an amazing self-advocate who is turning 31 in a few weeks.  She was in her sister’s wedding recently and is going to a lot of her friend’s weddings. She loves getting dressed up, getting her nails done and of course, loves anything that sparkles. She loves high fashion, shoes, puppies, baking cookies and following color trends.

Kelly has a bunco group and paints in her free time.  She is very creative and one of her favorite things to do is to make Diamond Paintings. She is a true artist!

Kelly does many amazing things but her superpower is making jewelry and having her own business called Special Sparkle. She is very creative and makes beautiful heartfelt jewelry with love and passion.  Kelly likes to say her mother, Karen is special and she is sparkle. She has a studio in her home and makes jewelry every day. She loves working, having her own business, making jewelry and selling it.  She works very hard and is super focused. Her wonderful business has grown so much and she is very busy right now preparing for Christmas. She sells her jewelry at craft fairs, The Hope Gallery in Indiana, BEST shop in Virginia and Artful 21 in Ohio. She donates some of her jewelry to Catholic Charities and organizations that work with folks with disabilities.   Owning her own business gives her great joy and makes her happy.  She has dedicated her life to making a difference in this world, sharing her gifts with others, inspiring other self-advocates to have their own business and follow their dreams.

She is a successful public speaker and is proud that she was the graduation speaker at the Ray Graham Training Center High School.

I asked Kelly what are some things that make her successful and she said:


·         She works hard and never quits when things are difficult.

·         She works every day.

·         She is focused and dedicated.

·         She is organized.

·         She plans ahead.

·         She has a great partner.

·         She followed her dreams.

·         She asks a lot of questions.

·         She always looks for people who encourage others.

·         She is positive and loves her job.

·         She knows that she can do it !!

·         She is always learning new things.

·         She sets things up for success.

Her motto is: Work hard and play later !

She would like for all self-advocates to have their dreams come true Kelly always encourages others to follow their dreams!!

You can learn more about Kelly and Special Sparkle by checking out her website: You can see her jewelry and all the names she gave them and you can put an order in if you find something you love. Kelly is featured in the book Looking Up: The Truth About Down Syndrome by Flinkow, Brianna Book


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