Update From Heaven

Pictured: 2015 Donna Coffee Youth Scholarship recipient, Heaven Vallejos -- Photo courtesy of: Heaven Vallejos

Pictured: 2015 Donna Coffee Youth Scholarship recipient, Heaven Vallejos — Photo courtesy of: Heaven Vallejos

 

Hi, I’m back. Haha! 7th grade is crazy insane. Just kidding, it’s really fun. You never know what will happen in Drama, but that’s why I like it. We play different characters and do monologues and the teacher and class are always funny. Going to different classes has gotten easier since August and now it feels normal. I got an award for High Honor Roll for first semester which was a big accomplishment. I’m still running and my dad is going to guide me for a duathlon (running and cycling) next Sunday. It will be the first time for him. I’m being a tough coach. I won’t let him slack off! I’m liking duathlons better because I don’t have to swim. I like swimming for fun, but not so much for competition. I’m looking forward to spring break because we might go to New Mexico. We went there last year and it was great!

Until next time,
Heaven

An Update from Heaven

Pictured: Heaven Vallejos at the Monster Mash Dash Run dressed as Wonder Woman -- Photo courtesy of Heaven Vallejos

Pictured: Heaven Vallejos at the Monster Mash Dash Run dressed as Wonder Woman — Photo courtesy of Heaven Vallejos

Hi,

It’s Heaven. So, it’s been awhile since I updated you. I’m now in 7th grade. Middle school is crazy! Extremely crazy! I now have to go up and down stairs several times a day because this school has two stories. I’m shocked that math is pretty easy – I think the teacher makes it easy. My favorite class is drama. Of course! In drama I can be as crazy as I want to. We role play, make up characters and do voices. My favorite character I’ve done so far has been Fresh Disco.
I’m still running. I joined a running club and we run every Tuesday and Thursday after school. I ran a Halloween run called the Monster Mash. I dressed as Wonder Woman and my running partner dresses as Superman. Next month I will run the Jingle Bell run which raises money Toys for Tots.
Last summer I went to Enchanted Hills Summer Camp and Camp Bloomfield’s para-Olympic camp. At the para-Olympic camp there was a dance I went to that I liked. It was my first dance. And, speaking of dances, I learned the Hustle – my mom taught me. It’s pretty fun!

Until Next Time,
Heaven

An Update from Heaven

Pictured: Heaven Vallejos as a "psycho medic"

Pictured: Heaven Vallejos as a “psycho medic” – Photo courtesy of: Heaven Vallejos

 

Hello everybody,

This last summer I went to summer camp in Napa. It was called Enchanted Hills Camp and it is for blind and visually impaired kids. I especially liked having time away from my brother. Ha-ha! We had fun having song wars at dinner time between us (The Shawnees) and the boys cabin (The Choctaw). They kept singing Happy Birthday and we sang the camp song. We had a talent show and my friend and I did a skit where I played an inanimate object and she played an annoying phone. One day we were doing a scavenger hunt and one of my counselors, who was the horse area leader and we, decided to bring in a horse. Everybody was told to be quiet, but they weren’t and I almost got dragged out the door by that horse. Luckily I let go!

School started. Sixth grade is both fun and torturous. We have to do block rotation so that we can get used to changing teachers for each subject just like in middle school. And for the third straight year I ran Cross Country, but this year I never fell once! Ha! Our 6th grade class went to camp for 3 days in Sonora, CA. We had a fake campfire since we couldn’t have a real fire because we are in a drought and fire is dangerous in the forest. We went to Mercer Caverns and everyone got a taste of what it is like to be blind when they turned off all the lights in the cavern!

Halloween is here and I was an insane, psycho medic. My costume was a lab coat with a bunch of fake blood on it. I used plastic body parts and duct taped them to my lab coat and I had a fake surgical knife and a bone saw.

That’s all for now.

Until next time,

Heaven

This Is Not Goodbye…

Heaven & her TVI, Lisa Fiorentino

Pictured: (l-r) Heaven Vallejos and Lisa Fiorentino, TVI — Photo courtesy of: Lisa Fiorentino

 

 

 

 

Hi,

Thanks for giving me a great year as the DCYS recipient. The money from the scholarship helped me with a lot of things like swim lessons and race registration fees. It’s been a fun and educational year. I have finished two triathlons, a mud run, and many other foot races. I also did archery and judo. There are so many other things I am looking forward to like, bungee jumping, riding in a plane and even snow skiing. I hope that the next scholarship winner uses the money for something they enjoy and I wish them good luck with the blog. I will be looking at the blog to see the fun things the winner is doing. I will be keeping in touch and letting everybody know how I am doing and all the fun things going on in my life.

Until next time,

Heaven

A note from Heaven’s teacher:

This has been an amazing year for Heaven. Receiving the Donna Coffee Youth Scholarship enabled her to fulfill many of her goals. Heaven is an adventurous young lady, and I have never heard her refuse to try something new at least once. Her list of things she wants to do grows weekly and with the support of the people around her and organizations such as CTEBVI she will be able to experience many exciting things in life. Heaven is only one of the many adventuresome, fun loving, and kind hearted kids in our blind and vision impaired community. Thank you to CTEBVI and the Donna Coffee Youth Scholarship for helping to make their dreams and aspirations a reality.

Lisa Fiorentino

Teacher of the Visually Impaired

Exit Interview

Heaven Vallejos

Pictured: Heaven Vallejos — Photo by: The Fresno Bee

As the year of Heaven Vallejos comes to an end, we thought we’d find out what  her experience has been like and asked her to share her thoughts in this fun CTEBVI “exit interview”:

CTEBVI:  How did you feel when you won the scholarship?
HV: I was pretty excited about it! I was happy I won it so that I could pay for some swim lessons. I had never won a scholarship before!

CTEBVI: What did you use the scholarship money for this year
HV: I used it for swimming lessons to help me compete in triathlons. I also used it for race registrations.

CTEBVI: What did you learn and why was it important to take these lessons?
HV:I learned how to stay under water for 30 seconds. I also learned the breaststroke and freestyle. I used those strokes for the triathlons.

CTEBVI: How do you feel now that your year as the DCYS recipient is over?
HV: Good. I enjoyed what I got to do. Also,it’s kind of sad because the year is over, but I hope the new winner gets to use the money for something enjoyable to them.

CTEBVI: What are three words you can use to describe this experience?
HV: Awesome, amazing, and fun.

CTEBVI: What was your highlight about this year?
HV: Doing the blog/vlog. I especially liked doing the heartbreaker video.

CTEBVI: What did you learn about yourself since receiving the scholarship?
HV: I learned that I need to build up my arm muscles so that I can hang on to a rope longer and let go when I’m over the water and not the rocks! Arm strength is good for the obstacles on a mud run, too! I learned that there are scholarships for visually impaired kids like me, and that is cool!

CTEBVI: What advice would you give to future DCYS recipients?
HV: Use the scholarship for something you love!

CTEBVI: What will you miss the most about the blog?
HV: Making videos and putting pictures up is fun.

CTEBVI: What do you want people to know about you?
HV: I am a good person. I am caring. I love sports! I like classic rock music and my favorite performer is Stevie Wonder!

CTEBVI: Anything else you would like to share?
HV: There are a lot of things going on in my life and it’s hard to pick. But, if I had to I would say that school gets more fun every year. If things seem hard I try to think about them in a different way. You should try different things even if they seem hard.

CTEEBVI: You have so many fans who want to know how you’re doing and what you’re up to. We would love to contact you from time to time to update us and we’ll post it to our social media accounts. Is this ok?
HV: Yeah! I would like that!

Winter Break Recap

Pictured: (l-r) Heaven Vallejos and her brother at the Jingle Bell 5k

Pictured: (l-r) Heaven Vallejos and her brother at the Jingle Bell 5k — Courtesy of Heaven Vallejos

Happy New Year!

Hi everybody. Hope you all had happy holidays. Before break I ran the Jingle Bell Run. I ran the 5k and my brother walked the 2 mile course. The run was on Christmas Tree Lane which was decorated with ornaments, lights and even a huge neon sign of the world that changed from the world to a big peace sign. It meant world peace.

My break was fun. During break I was in a Christmas play for our church. I played Mary and when the boy playing Joseph handed me the baby Jesus, he handed it to me upside down, but it was ok because nobody in the audience noticed. I also went ice skating over break. It was the second time I have ice skated, and I only fell three times – haha!

My family and I made tamales for Christmas. We do it every year. It’s kind of hard because everything is homemade, so it’s good to have a lot of people there, so that different groups can have different jobs. They were delicious!

For Christmas, I got a new iPhone and a karaoke machine. I have used my new iPhone to take videos and pictures. I would like to learn how to use Google Maps. My brother, Joseph and I sang Frozen on the karaoke machine. It was fun!

On New Year’s we stayed home and watched the ball drop on TV and some family came over to watch with us. We made a toast at 9:00 PM just in case one of us fell asleep before midnight. I used to fall asleep early, but now I can stay up.

When school started after break, I signed up for Oral Interpretation. Oral Interpretation is when, as a group, we memorize a story and recite it together with hand motions. We go to a festival and the highest score we can get is a ‘Superior’. I practice three days a week at school during lunch.

I also signed up for drama. I practice for drama three days a week before school. My teachers are calling me ‘Marcia Brady’ because I’m an over achiever. Haha! The play we are doing for drama is ‘Annie Junior”

Finally, I will answer Taylor’s question she sent me. Taylor asked me how I run three miles. Running three miles is easy if you practice enough. If I am running on a road, I use a tether with my guide. This can be anything that the guide and I can both hold one end of to stay connected. I have used shoestrings, rubber bands, yarn, and even a piece of rope. If I am running on grass or in an open area, I do not use a tether. My guide can just tell me which direction to go or describe the surfaces I will be running on. But, if you don’t use a tether, you had better remember your right and left or else you might end up running into a fence like I did when I went right instead of left one time. It was ok, because it didn’t hurt that much – we laughed about it!

Until next time,
Heaven