Purple. It is my favorite color (just look at my shoelaces). Hi. My name is Emily Eckert. I was born with Cerebral Palsy and I communicate using a communication board. I love New Year’s, but not just for the party. Every January, I celebrate my freedom and Independence. January was the month ten years ago that I set myself free from a group home with the assistance and support of the staff at Voices for Independence. Ever since that day, I have lived independently in my own home. I have personal care attendants who come into my home every day to assist me with getting out of bed and achieving activities of daily living such as bathing and getting dressed.
I was adopted only a few days after I was born. Despite my parents being over-protective of me and not agreeing with my desire to live independently, one day I decided that I was tired of the routine of living in a group home and I mustered up the courage to stand up to my parents. Since making the decision to live independently, I have been blessed to appreciate life as an independent adult. Although living independently has been an adjustment for me, I am truly happy. I can proudly say that I am a work in progress and I do not let my disability get in the way of my hopes and dreams.
I truly believe that living independently has allowed me to be as free as a butterfly in the breeze. I am able to do whatever I want, whenever I want and however I want. I still have many goals that I would like to achieve during my life, but independence was my ultimate goal. With the support of others with disabilities at Voices for Independence, who could truly understand my fear of living independently, I was able to overcome my fear and achieve independent living. I thank God for showing me that my thoughts and desires matter and for giving me the gift of accomplishing my goals and dreams. One day, I want to be an actress. In the meantime, I am thankful for my past struggles for giving me the strength to be the person I have become and I look forward to whatever the rest of my life has in store for me. If you are not sure if you can do something, remember me. I did it even when people doubted me. You can, too.