Patrick Ice (2015)

Disclaimer: The following was transcribed from a speech given by Patrick Ice at Capper Foundation in 2015. The choice of words used in this story may not reflect current Capper Foundation inclusive language and views.

Patrick Ice (2015)

by Patrick Ice

Like all of you I have lived a pretty normal life. I graduated from Shawnee Heights High School in 2000. I have 3 siblings, and I am a very proud uncle to my niece Emma, who is 4, and to my nephew Myles, who is 7 months old. I also have great parents who are all here today to support me. I live in my own house and I have hobbies like everyone does. I play in recreational leagues for softball, volleyball, basketball and bowling, I would have to say one of my favorite things to do is play video games. But there is something that if you are just looking at me you wouldn’t know. About 12 years ago I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, which is a form of Autism.

I started coming to Capper Foundation a little over 3 years ago because we had learned of the employment opportunities offered. When I first began here, I mainly worked in the Auto Detailing Shop. Shortly after, I began working with Rachelle in the Supported Employment area and now I am working at the downtown Ramada Inn, where I recently received Employee of the Month.

When Capper opened the Art Studio a few years back, I was approached by Josh, the art instructor, to give it a try. At first I was really hesitant; I only knew how to draw stick figures. In high school I really enjoyed photography and was part of the yearbook staff, but I never really tried this type of art.

I have learned so much about myself since starting in the Art Studio. Josh has really helped bring out my creativity. It makes me feel so good when I create something and people go into the gift shop and pay money to have something that I created. I feel a sense of pride and accomplishment. Art has helped build my confidence in so many ways. When I am having a bad day or feeling stressed, going into the studio helps me calm down and feel relaxed.

My abilities have grown so much since my first painting of a sunflower. I have created abstract pieces and am currently learning about shadowing and contrasting, working backgrounds and adding layers to my paintings. I am even helping with creating the craft pieces, like the flower pots that are made from tire rims. Sometimes when I feel like I am at a point where I can’t come up with anything I want to paint, working on the crafts will help recharge me and give me more ideas.

The Capper Creations Gift Shop is more than just a store. This gift shop carries items created by other individuals just like me. It provides us another opportunity to earn a paycheck, it provides us with confidence and most importantly it proves to everyone that people with disabilities can do things just as well as anyone else, and it shows in our work.

My hope for this store is that it will help change the way people think. That people will stop looking at our disabilities and focus on our abilities. Whether people look like me or are in a wheelchair, we all have abilities, and we all deserve the same opportunities to reach our full potential. Someone gave me that opportunity, and I have been at the Ramada for almost a year now. My wish is that other businesses will give my peers this same opportunity and start opening the doors for employment.

I would like to thank my parents, family, friends, Capper Foundation and everyone else who has always pushed and believed in me.

Thank you!