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The Best You Can, With What You Have

The Best You Can, With What You Have
The past year of 2023 has been a big one for me. Not only did I graduate from High School in June, but I also joined ScentsAbility weeks later. The journeys and experiences I’ve had with ScentsAbility thus far gave me a whole new perspective on life.

My first big experience with ScentsAbility happened over the summer, where we went to FAU to do aroma therapy with students of SOAR. SOAR, a program under Autism After 21, is meant to give students with autism a college experience. And FAU allowed us to give the students the experience of aroma therapy. It’s all I can do just to describe the feeling each fragrance evoked. But as it turned out, I had a slight allergic reaction to the lavender scented perfume. Other than that, creating the fragrances was a great experience. And I really liked learning the effects of all the different fragrances. For example, the scent of the peppermint fragrance is great for curing headaches. And lavender, my kryptonite, can help put people to sleep.

A few months later, we met with Leadership Broward for a team building exercise. Being in that meeting, I really felt like I was part of something big. Paul, a member of Scents8tional, printed a logo for our group. It was my first time witnessing the work of a 3D printer, so I was understandably baffled. With both the ScentsAbility artisans and the Scents8tional members present, we were able to talk a bit about ScentsAbility itself. I was familiar with ScentsAbility for a few months up to that point. And even then, I was still learning more about the ScentsAbility artisans.

After that, on the first Friday of November, we began our first Empower Ability class. We met Stephanie, a student of Empower Ability, and supported her as she poured her first candle. We also discussed many different skills that are beneficial for daily life. Communication, listening, and focusing to name a few. The class was perfect because everyone who took part in it could apply at least one of the skills to themselves. For example, I need to practice projecting my voice if I want to communicate more affectively. Another skill we would practice is teamwork, which we would put to the test each session by making things like potpourri and other scented products. It was a class that many people could benefit from.

Finally, at the tail-end of November, some guests from Bright Spot visited us. Our guests took part in our Empower Ability class and made their own jell candles. We also went out for lunch, although it was a little overwhelming since there were so many of us and it was loud. Even so, it was an experience that I absolutely enjoyed. I also talked with one of the guests, and she told me that her mother has an eye-condition called Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), which is the same condition that I have. Her mom even uses a lot of the same screen-reading tools that I use, like JAWS. RP is a rare eye-disease that, in short, causes a person’s vision to deteriorate over time. Not even the students at Light House, which is known for teaching people with visual impairments, have RP. It was nice to know that my brother and I weren’t the only ones with this disease. But at the same time, I do hope her mom is doing well and isn’t having too much trouble with JAWS. That same day, my vision teacher stopped by for a lesson. She brought me to a nearby bus stop, and in the process, taught me the proper techniques to crossing the street as someone with a visual impairment. You would think I would have been nervous at the thought of crossing the street, but I was more focused than anything. And I had someone with vision with me, so I knew everything would turn out good in the end.

Looking back on it, I did a lot this past year. And seeing as how my time with ScentsAbility isn’t over yet, I’m preparing for what’s to come in 2024. Even though we can’t predict the future, we can learn from the past to work in the present to make your future a good one. No matter who you are, do what you can, the best that you can, with what you have.

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