From the heart: Dexter HS senior helps organize Abilities Over Disabilities Webinar

Dexter’s Mia Stewart, whose younger sister, Ally, was born with Down Syndrome, says she has “grown to understand that many people underestimate the value of individuals with different abilities in society.”

With Ally as an ally and role model, Mia has turned that “understanding” into action.

“I have always tried to be an advocate for people with different abilities in our community,” Mia says. “And treating everyone equally and with kindness has been a daily goal for quite some time now.”

A senior at Dexter High School, Mia is the chair of the Special Olympics Committee in the National Honors Society. She also has helped plan and participate in events supporting her sister including the Buddy Walk and Cooper’s Run.

Now, she is taking on an even bigger challenge.

Mia is organizing, planning and spearheading the Abilities Over Disabilities Webinar which will take place at 7 p.m. on Feb. 10 through a Zoom platform.

Dexter’s Mia Stewart, left, and her younger sister, Ally.

“This is the first event that I have planned to this scale before and I am hoping that this event can continue on as a series for years to come,” says Mia. “Our Special Olympics Committee in NHS is partnering with local education and support agencies to run a webinar with speakers of different abilities sharing their experiences and stories. These people are truly amazing and it’s a great opportunity to hear testimony from those in our community.”

Mia began working on this event in early December.

“I felt, due to the latest COVID restrictions, that this part of our community needed an opportunity to showcase their voices,” she says. “Especially in a social climate where it is becoming more important and necessary to accept others for who they are, regardless of what they can or cannot accomplish.”

Mia, who will be attending Wayne State University in the fall to study Pre-Pharmacy, will continue to raise awareness for people in need. “I hope to continue this type of advocacy in the future, such as pursuing equal opportunity employment, ADA accessibility, and fair policies for disability rights, etc.,” she says.

The Abilities Over Disabilities Webinar is being held through a Zoom platform at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 10. The meeting ID is 982-1625-0387 and the Passcode is 297861.