Crystal is ready to get out the vote. The conference was her introduction to how voting works on local and national levels. “We have to get more people involved,” she says. “I’m arranging for a speaker to come to our next meeting to explain how to register and how to vote. I will be the first voter in my family.” She adds with a laugh, “And I think it’s time for a younger president.”
The meeting Crystal refers to is the monthly gathering of “New Hope for All,” a revitalized group of self-advocates at The Arc Baltimore. She serves as president and Paris is treasurer/secretary. Both are members of The Arc’s board of directors with Paris recently joining. Crystal is the primary receptionist at The Arc’s Employment Center at Seton Business Park, while Paris works 20 to 25 hours a week at the Marshall’s retail store in Towson. Both plan to live independently and will continue to spend time with their families and church groups.
Next year, the convention will be in New Orleans, and Crystal and Paris already are talking about attending. They share a fear of flying, but hopefully they will conquer it together.