Keosha’s bedroom makeover
UPDATE!!! During the weekend of 12/10-12/12/10, Keosha’s bedroom was transformed into the personal and unique space of her dreams. Although we faced serious obstacles with being able to do this makeover as planned, that did not hold us back from delivering on our promise to Keosha. Blissful Bedrooms reached out to past supporters, as well as to friends, family, colleagues and community businesses for help with raising the funds and materials we needed. Our calls were answered with compassion and generosity and we were able to acquire everything we needed to give this young lady a place to be comfortable, happy and peaceful for years and years to come. We can say with 100% certainty that this will be the happiest and most meaningful holiday season of Keosha’s life so far. Not only did we provide her with a bedroom fit for the celebrity soul that she is, but we were also able to present her with an Ipad adapted just her her!!! Because Keosha has no purposeful movement of her arms, she was outfitted with an adapted head pointer and a mounting system that makes it possible for her to access the Ipad while sitting in her wheelchair. For the first time in her entire life, Keosha was able to do something independently the very next day after her makeover weekend – she proudly showed her teachers/paraprofessionals and classmates the glamorous pictures from her photo shoot (see below), flipping through the pictures on her Ipad, using the only voluntary, purposeful movement she possesses in her body – the movement of her head. This demonstration was received with squeals of enthusiasm from her audience and loud “oohs” and “ahhs” with every photograph. We have no doubt that within a few weeks of collaborative training from her teacher and therapists, Keosha will be sending emails and interacting with her friends on Facebook (which include several past Blissful Bedrooms recipients), as well as using educational apps and listening to the music of her choice. There are no words to express how beautiful it is to witness these revolutionary and empowering changes take place in Keosha’s life! To think, it all happened as the result of your donations and a weekend of intense volunteerism by a group of individuals who get a thrill from selfless service and making a difference in the world. Wholehearted gratitude to everyone who contributed to making Keosha feel like a super star!
Keosha is a beautiful young woman with a radiant smile, who has a great sense of humor and a penchant for spontaneous giggling and laughter. In fact, I think it is safe to say that she giggles at least 30 times an hour. This makes her a very engaging and fun person to be around. Keosha attends a special education public school in New York City. She will be graduating from school this year in 6/11. We pray Keosha will find a suitable program she can transition to, but we know from past experiences with young individuals with disabilities that more often than not, this is not the case. This is especially true when the recent graduates are as highly dependent for self-care as Keosha is. That is why the Blissful Bedrooms team plans to give Keosha the bedroom of her dreams, where we she can feel stimulated, happy, inspired, content and loved.
Keosha is challenged with cerebral palsy, spastic quadriplegia type. She has very limited purposeful movement of her trunk, arms and legs. She is unable to walk or stand and cannot sit unsupported. Keosha is dependent for all activities of daily living, including transferring from her wheelchair to other surfaces, eating, grooming, bathing, toileting, etc. Keosha uses a manual wheelchair for mobility and is dependent on her caregivers to push the wheelchair. Although she is bright and has the cognitive level to operate a motorized wheelchair, unfortunately she does not have the ability to move her hands enough to carry this out. In fact, her primary movement is in her head and she cannot even ease the sensation of an itch on her body by scratching it. Typical of a young woman her age, Keosha is boy crazy and dreams of falling in love with a handsome young man and living happily ever after. There seems to be a spark between her and one of her classmates who has physical challenges similar to hers. We will keep you posted on any developments in that burgeoning relationship!
Despite Keosha’s physical challenges, she is an optimistic, vibrant and joyful young lady. Take a moment to think about this. Keosha never complains, always smiles, jokes and brings laughter to the people she interacts with on a daily basis. We believe a young lady like that should be lauded, supported and celebrated. In fact, she should be studied and modeled because I don’t know any “able-bodied” person who embodies such serenity, acceptance and love.
We met with Keosha and her family in their home in the Bronx and spent time talking with them and exploring the theme that would make Keosha the most happy for years to come. Keosha decided she wanted a NYC/Broadway/glamour girl theme for her bedroom and that is just what we are going to give her!! A team of talented and dedicated volunteers are already hard at work designing, planning and creating for the big weekend with the collective intention of giving Keosha a dream bedroom fit for a SUPERSTAR! Her makeover will take place during the weekend of December 11-12, 2010, and we aim to make this an unforgettable holiday season for Keosha and her family.
A team of students from The Beacon School, an alternative public high school on the West Side of Manhattan are leading the fundraising efforts and will take part in the bedroom makeover weekend, as well as planning and pre-makeover preparations. We feel this collaboration is very special and important. It really stays true to the vision of our organization, which is to not only provide a brand new and uplifting environment for young individuals with disabilities, but also to involve the community and create an opportunity for everyday people to put their personal lives and problems on hold for a time and derive the lasting feeling of happiness and peace that comes from helping others in need. This volunteer experience gives able-bodied individuals the chance to step inside the world of a young disabled individual (and their family) and learn firsthand that our differences are not as great as our similarities – which includes the universal desire to give and receive love. Giving young, high school students the chance to perform selfless service and bond with some very special young people can have amazing and untold potential “ripple effects” in the world, and we are so excited and honored about being able to facilitate this!
Please let us know if you would like to donate funds, materials, Broadway show tickets or restaurant vouchers towards Keosha’s makeover. As always, this is a collective effort made possible by many, many individuals and we need your help to continue our work.
Please take a moment to view the Before & After pictures from Keosha's bedroom makeover, as well as pictures from her Reveal celebration and the bedroom makeover process.
Alexey Dvoryadkin, the Co-Founder and official photographer of Blissful Bedrooms, had the honor of doing a photo shoot with the beautiful and charismatic Super Star Keosha, not once but twice!! The first photo shoot took place on location in Times Square, a natural and familiar setting for the Broadway and Stage Star. Keosha had her makeup expertly applied at the famous M.A.C. store in Times Square by the talented and compassionate volunteer Adriana Ruiz. She then shined her captivating smile and struck her seductive poses in the cold December air. People stopped and stared in awe as they passed the celebrity, who radiated more light than the colorful and bright signs which fill this Broadway Show region. Her second photo shoot was more private and intimate and explored Keosha's playful side. This session took place in the celebrity's home, where the wonderful and talented M.A.C. makeup artist, Maria DiFrancesco, traveled all the way from Brooklyn to the Bronx, exclusively for the privilege of volunteering her talents to make Keosha's beautiful face even more radiant and sparkling. This was a perfect preamble to Keosha's NYC/Broadway/Glamour Girl bedroom makeover, which took place during the weekend of 12/10-12/12/10. Not only does she have a new dream bedroom to feel happy and content in, but she also sees herself in a brand new light, that of a beautiful, sexy, gorgeous SUPER STAR!!! Of course, we have pictures from her photo shoot displayed all over her new bedroom so she will never forget what a celebrity she is INSIDE AND OUT. You go Keosha with your Glamour Girl self!!
Beacon School Students
Thank you to all of the generous ORGANIZATIONS/BUSINESSES and INDIVIDUALS who have supported Keosha’s bedroom makeover by donating funds, services and/or materials. This makeover could not have been possible without your help!
Belaire Diner (www.belairediner.net)
Blick Art Materials (New York Store) (Melody/Denny) - www.dickblick.com
Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Company, Astoria, NY (www.brooklynbagelandcoffeecompany.com)
Christopher John Electrical, Inc. (www.electriciancje.com)
Courier Car Rental (Dave Bellofato) – www.ccrentalnyc.com
Disney (Disney Consumer Products - Stephen Teglas, VP & Manager, Fashion & Home & Chris Rowbottom, Executive Assistant)
Dunkin Donuts (Chris Patel, Manager, 1735 Jerome Avenue, Bronx, NY) (www.dunkindonuts.com)
Film Biz Recycling (Eva Radke) (www.filmbizrecycling.org)
I Lite 4 U (Joyce Martinez) – www.ilite4u.com
Mac Cosmetics – Times Square Store (Adriana Ruiz) (www.maccosmetics.com)
Monoprice (Sean Lee) (www.monoprice.com)
One Sweet Bowtique
P.C. Richards, East 86th Street, New York (Chris) – www.pcrichard.com
Sit down New York – (www.sitdownny.com)
Tekserve (Dave Lerner) – www.Tekserve.com
The Beacon School (Student Leader: Tess Wolgemuth) – www.beaconschool.org
Zipcar (Monica Brouwer, Marketing Manager) – www.zipcar.com
Brenda L. Allen
Cynda Collins Arsenault
Erika Cascione Looney
Mr. Anthony Daddino & Ms. Susan Bevan
Dilicia De Jesus
Kristin Long & Katherine Deats
Chloe De La Harpe
Mr. & Mrs. Marc Rinaldi
Jessica & Karn Santikul
Michele Velotti Golom-Polgano