Friday, February 7, 2014

Say 'Yes' to Esteban! (And Other MHKC Updates)

Hey, everybody! We hope this crazy snow is treating you kindly and that this weekend can be spent romping around and enjoying it. (Check out this picture of Fanning Hall! Completely covered!!)

The MHKC @ PSU team has been working on various projects for this blog and our Facebook page so we can share a little more about Mt. Hood Kiwanis Camp and the people it affects. The current “perspective project” we are working on is underway thanks to the helpful willingness of some lovely individuals, and we will be sharing the first part of the series with you next week. We can hardly wait!

In the meantime, I'd like to share a little story about a young man who thought he didn't have any friends and... Ellen DeGeneres.

Esteban Barriga, a seventeen-year-old boy with autism who had recently moved to Maynard, Massachusettes, didn't want to go to his senior prom because he thought he had no friends. But when word got around that one of Esteban's dreams was to take Ellen DeGeneres to prom, he saw how much support he really had.

With help from Esteban's mother, Maribel Rueda, and friend, Bryan Kiley, all of Maynard High and, it seems, almost all of the town itself worked together to make a video to persuade Ellen to “Say 'yes' to Esteban.”

Bryan and Esteban met in gym class last year and became friends over games of basketball. This year, Bryan signed up for the Best Buddies program at their high school and asked to be Esteban's buddy since they enjoyed hanging out with one another. Bryan went around Maynard High and filmed his classmates telling Ellen why Esteban would be a great prom date and asking her to accept his request. “A lot of people thought it was a really cool thing and really wanted to see it happen,” Bryan told the Boston Globe.

The video, narrated by Esteban's little sister, contains more than thirty clips of Maynard citizens urging Ellen to be Esteban's prom date. Going to prom with Ellen is one of Esteban's three big dreams, along with being an actor and meeting Jimmy Fallon. It seems like there is a theme! (It also seems that Esteban would make a fine television host himself: his friends attest that he is a funny guy and a great dancer.)

Esteban's mother couldn't be happier about her decision to move to Maynard. She says she has never felt so welcome in a town, and is touched by all the support the community has given her son.

“Whether Ellen says yes or no,” she says, “I think my son will not have a problem going to prom.”

Still... Ellen, please say 'yes' to Esteban!

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