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Loyola University Student Kyle Gallagher Reflects on DD Awareness Event

Loyola University Student Kyle Gallagher Reflects on DD Awareness Event

I really enjoyed going to the One Question event because it was a nice break from my usual routine.  Sure, the Chick-fil-a and pizza was pretty awesome, but that just gets people in the door.  It was really nice getting to just hear all the people from The Arc Baltimore talk about themselves for a bit.  Sometimes when I think of people with disabilities, I feel sad or begin to feel bad for them.  It is easy to think that because they have a hard life that they do not have as fulfilling of a life as other people do.  I find myself focusing on the negative and not the positive.  I think about what they may not be able to do instead of what they accomplish every single day.  I think that was a lot of the premise of the “one question.”  You can ask yourself what you would like to change about yourself and you can usually come up with at least one thing.  It might be something big or small.  That is okay, I think that we need to look at ourselves like that sometimes.  That is how we can improve.  But, I think it is also really important to take the time to see what we are capable of.  We will never be happy if we focus on the negative because there will always be things that we cannot do and cannot change.  By focusing on what we have, we can see that everything is a gift.  I try to do this when I feel like I am getting stressed out about the little things.  In the long run, they probably do not matter that much because I already have so much to be thankful for.  The panel of guests at the event seemed to embody this idea.

The video in the beginning set the tone really well.  I liked seeing the people who did want to change things about themselves as well as the people who did not.  I loved that the most common answer seemed to be that they would want to be a better person.  It is a simple thing but I think it is true of most of us.  We all have little things that we may want to improve, but that all lead to the main goal: being a better person.

Having the panel of people from The Arc Baltimore was nice because we got to learn about their daily lives.  They didn’t have to talk about their disabilities or what they could not do because that did not seem to bother them.  They were excited about all the things that they do get to do.  The married couple was so cute.  It was great to hear them talk about how they met and see them give each other a hard time, just like any other couple.  I really liked the man who worked in landscaping because he just liked doing his job every day.  He found something that he loves and gets to do it for a living.  I think that is what we all want.  I also thought that he was a pretty spiffy dresser.  The sisters at the end were a riot!  They absolutely loved talking to all of us.  When they got the microphone, they came to life.  Even if they had difficulty getting out the words they wanted to say, they would not let that stop them.  They clearly love to go bowling as well, which was nice to see and hear about.  I loved hearing their sides of the story.  I got to hear about the daily things that keep them smiling which made me smile.

Panelists from The Arc Baltimore stand in front of a packed house for the One Question event


I was honestly really engaged in the event.  I loved every minute of it and was surprised when it was over.  I wanted to know more and just learn more about them.  I knew that they were leaving so I could not talk to them for long, but I was able to go up to everyone on the panel after and thank them all for coming.  I just wanted them to know that they made my night better just by being there.  I would definitely like to go back to the event next year.

Editor’s note: for the past five years, Dr. Andrea Leary, an affiliate instructor at Loyola University Maryland, has reached out to The Arc Baltimore for her Art of Rhetoric class that asks students to explore various topics in the developmental disabilities community including transitioning youth and waiting list funding. Students put on a developmental disabilities awareness night on campus and had a packed house of over 100 students. The class watched the Sprout Film One Question that asks interviewees what they would like to change about themselves. The answers were both meaningful and humorous and were the perfect lead-in to meeting a panel of six self-advocates from The Arc Baltimore who talked about themselves and took questions from the students. 

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