Thursday, October 27, 2022

October Blog by Bridget Brown: An Interview with Moira

Welcome to October! It seems like this year went so fast. How was your fall going so far? I have been to Wisconsin a few times this month to see the leaves and do some camping.

I am working hard at my college classes and things at college are fantastic. The class I am taking now is Disability and Film. It is very interesting but hard. I am learning how films and movies show people with disabilities in both positive and negative ways. I have a letter of accommodations now so I can receive the accommodations and support I need to succeed in my classes.

I am now working two times a week at the UIC Nursing school and I am also working as an actor at the school as well. It is great! I am now picking out my classes for next semester. I am finally getting comfortable down at the University and it feels great to get dropped off and walk a short way to my work. I also just met a mentor friend who is willing to help me learn about some of the fun things I can do at college and I don’t feel so alone.

Let me tell you about a dear friend of mine, Moira Morgan. I have known her for a long time and today I interviewed her to find out more about her and what she has accomplished in her life so I can share her story with you.

Moira is a strong self-advocate who has many gifts. She describes her life as AMAZING!

The first thing you notice about Moira is that she is a very positive person and very kindhearted. She is also an incredible person who captures your attention with her loving smile that brightens every room she is in. She has two sisters and a brother. She is also an aunt of 4 nieces and nephews.

She went to Naperville North High School and was included in school. She was involved in activities at high school that she enjoyed very much.

Now, Moira is very proud to work as a customer service courtesy clerk at Mariano’s grocery store. She likes to visit with her friends when she is working and her favorite part of work is getting a drink at Starbucks.

During her transition years after Highschool she worked at a plant nursery called WE GO DREAMS & at Goodwill.

She is also a self-advocate public speaker and loves to talk to people about her life.

One of her favorite things to do is spend time with friends. She is in a bunco group, a book club, and she does many activities with her special recreation group. She hangs out with friends on the weekends.

Moira travels a lot and has been to Wisconsin, Missouri, Italy, London England, Paris and Spain with her family. Moira attends her local church called St. Peter and Paul and was in the youth group there when she was younger.

She was involved with special Olympics and went to a summer camp often when she was growing up with her sisters. Summer camp was wonderful because she loves swimming. She was also involved with Best buddies at IL Benediction.

Now she takes classes at College of DuPage. She wants to take music and ballroom dancing and is looking for more educational classes she can take. A few years ago, I took a culinary class with her at College of DuPage.

I asked her about some of her success strategies. She said she said she is successful when she is super friendly to people and when she is organized. She is pretty good with organizational skills.

She thinks it is important to let people know when she needs help and when she doesn’t need help.

She thinks it is important to get rest because she is at her best when she is well rested.

When she is at work she listens to her boss and is respectful to others. She is a hard worker and contributes a lot at her work.

Moira has a wonderful life filled with family, friends, work and activities. She said she is always busy!

Thank you for reading my blog.

Have a great THANKSGIVING DAY and I will connect with you soon. Be Grateful for all the wonderful things in the world and for friends like Moira.

Bridget Brown

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

October Series: Stories of Entrepreneurship- Part 2

 Hi Family Matters Friends!

I hope you are enjoying the fall season with cooler temperatures, trips to the orchard, and a spooky movie or two! This week, I am going to wrap up our October series on “Stories of Entrepreneurship.” If you loved any of the stories, feel free to comment on this post and share below. If you or someone you know is doing anything related to self-advocacy or wants to share their story, please let us know! We are also sharing our blogs on our Twitter @FamilyMattersIL- so your story could also be shared there! In November, I will be sharing about post-secondary education opportunities- so stay tuned! Now sit back, grab a cup of hot cider, and hear more about successful entrepreneurs!



  1. Equally Fit πŸ’ͺπŸ‹️πŸ§‘‍🦽:

As an adult with autism Mark Fleming, the owner of Equally Fit, firmly believes that just because someone may have a disability doesn’t mean they don’t deserve a chance to be as fit as someone without a disability or that they deserve a trainer less than properly qualified. With this in mind, Fleming started Equally Fit out of the trunk of his car in 2016 before opening it’s first physical location in 2019. Equally Fit offers functional training incorporating strength and cardiovascular training as well as exercises to improve motor planning, social skills, and balance.

  1. The Fry Guy πŸŸπŸ™‹πŸ½πŸ‘•

Ronnie Brown has an affinity for fries that has earned him the nickname The Fry Guy. Born with Down Syndrome, Ronnie was on a feeding tube for the first six years of his life. As soon as he started eating solid food, he fell in love with French fries. Fifteen years later, Ronnie created a  catering menu full of garlic fries, Texas chili fries, and so many more fries packed with flavor and topped with delicious sauces. Bonus: Ronnie also sells t-shirts for fry lovers and Down Syndrome supporters. 

  1. Spacerobot Studio: πŸ€–πŸ§‘‍🎨🏳️‍🌈

Spacerobot Studio is a small art business run by a queer & neurodivergent art nerd, celebrating neurodiversity, pride, alternative communication... and a passion for crafting and knitting! They sell items such as communication necklaces, neurodiversity jewelry, clothing, stim jewelry and more! Check out this shop at the link above!

Monday, October 10, 2022

October Series: Stories of Entrepreneurship

Hi! πŸ‘‹ My name is Megan and I am an intern with Family Matters PTIC this year. I am a graduate student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, but spent over 10 years working as a high school teacher supporting students to achieve their goals as they transitioned out of high school. This month, my blogs will focus on individuals with disabilities that have created their own businesses! Now, more than ever before, young adults and recent graduates are pursuing their dreams and passions by opening up their own businesses. Platforms such as TikTok, Instagram, Twitter, and Etsy are making it easier than ever to connect with others and collaborate together! The business featured will share a brief bio about the owner, the work that they do, and what their mission/vision is for their company. I will always be sure to include their business information in case you want to research yourself or connect with the company.

This week, I am going to feature 3 businesses owned by people with disabilities that we can not only learn from, but support. Grab your coziest blanket and a fresh cup of tea (or your favorite warm fall beverage!) and get ready to learn about some amazing entrepreneurs! Stay tuned for another blog in this series later in October! 

  1. Blake’s Snow Shack 🍧: 

In 2015, Blake Pyron decided to open up his very own snow cone business following his graduation from high school. When he did this, he became the first business owner with Down Syndrome in Texas. Blake’s Snow Shack now covers more than 31 unique flavors including “Bug Juice”, “Hulk”, and “Shark Attack.” In the years since first opening the doors of his business, Blake now advocates for equal pay for those with disabilities, as well as created the #DSWORKS Blake Pyron Entrepreneurship Scholarship,which supports others with disabilities pursuing entrepreneurship. If you are interested in learning more, you can visit their website at the link below!

  1. Bradley’s Blocks πŸΆπŸŽ¨πŸ–Œ️:

Bradley is an adult entrepreneur in Michigan that has used his passion for art and animals to develop an Etsy Business selling pet portraits! Here is a bit more information from his Etsy site: 

“Bradley creates the portraits in a multi-step process. He starts by drawing and painting the portrait at "Hearts for the Arts Studio" in Grand Rapids, MI. In his workshop at home, Bradley sands and paints different sized wooden blocks. He assembles the portraits onto the blocks with background paper that compliments the portrait and/or meets the customer's request for certain colors. Since this is custom art, it takes about 6-8 weeks to complete and ship after Bradley receives an order.”

If you are interested in learning more about Bradley and his art business, feel free to visit his website at:

  1. Purely Patrick πŸͺ🍞πŸ₯£:

Patrick is an entrepreneur with cerebral palsy that has created his own company titled, “Purely Patrick.” Patrick assembles dry ingredients for treats such as dreamsicle cookies, country soup, corn bread and more! Patrick packages reusable water bottles and with dry ingredients through the use of assistive technology. He sells his product at his local farmer’s market and craft fairs but also provides shipping! Learn more about Purely Patrick here:

Monday, October 3, 2022

Special Sparkle


Bridget Brown



Hello again


I hope you are having a fun Fall so far. Wow, can’t believe that 2022 is flying by.

 I love fall! 


My last blog was an interview with my friends Kelly & Karen Neville. I learned so much about their life, and their business “Special Sparkle”.   I hope you enjoyed reading about them.


Today, I thought I would give you an update about my new college experience. Maybe some of you are thinking about a post- secondary college experience or some of you might already be in college.   I am excited that some of you might be considering college for your future.


I went to College of DuPage for a number of years. That is my local community college.  They have lots of exciting classes there but I was hoping for something more inclusive.  I also did a summer college program during Covid at John Wood Community College online.  That was fun!


 So you might be wondering what is my college experience like now.   I currently am a student at UIC (University of Illinois CHICAGO). I am in a new inclusive program called the CO-OP program, under the Disability Studies College.  This program just started up and it is very exciting.


I also have an internship in the School of Nursing at UIC.


I started last Spring and my first class was called Radical Inclusion.  This was a perfect class for me because I am an inclusion advocate and it gave me information about the history of inclusion so I know how to be a better advocate for people with disabilities. It was very interesting. 


 I also took a class called Career building.  This was to help me prepare to get an internship and employment.  I learned how to make a cover page and learned the difference between formal vs informal questions. I also learned how to get a paid internship. Because of this class I now have a paid internship at the nursing simulation lab in the nursing department at UIC.    

During that time, I even made friends because I worked with a team of my peers who were also in the CO-OP program. Being part of this class I learned the importance of being professional in my relationships.


Now this Fall I am studying Disability in American film.   I am learning how people with disabilities are portrayed in movies and how that describes their life to people. That can be positive or negative.  I am learning that it is important to hear real voices of people with disabilities so they can share their stories about their lives.


I love my internship at the Nursing department.  I have an internship working in the simulation lab. I am also an actress and I work as a patient with a disability so the students can learn about how to work with individuals with disabilities in a health care setting.  It is very exciting and a new program for the nursing department.  I love it!


For me college life is wonderful!   Being part of a college and being included in general education classes is great.  I love working in a team with other students who are also in the program and some who are general college students.   I am looking forward to getting to know more students and professionals.  I just love being a student at UIC and working in the nursing department.


Life as a student is different but I am learning the ropes of being safe and using self-determination by speaking up for myself and for helping others out. I also learned that classmates are very kind, respectful and that I can trust them.


I hope you enjoyed my thoughts about my college experience.  If you are thinking about college, I encourage you to check it out and see what is available in your area and throughout the country.  There are lots of great programs!  I am available to share my experience with you so if you are interested you can contact me and we can talk more about my experience.



Have a great October and dwell in the possibilities!!
Bridget Brown

Pursuing Post-Secondary Education

  Hi Family Matters Community! I hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving and/or fall holiday break!! This November and December, we are going to ...