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Anthony Bissell

Project Smile:-)

Anthony is technically in 11th grade, but because of his significant disability, he is in a specialized program called “Project Smile”. Most of the kids in Project Smile are wheelchair dependent, non-verbal and have severe developmental disabilities. The classroom is at a typical high school, so there are some inclusion opportunities.

One neat program they have at this high school is that the regular education students can volunteer in the Project Smile classroom and actually get credit for volunteering. In addition to helping out in the class, the students have to write a paper about what they learned from Project Smile.

Here are some of the things the students wrote:

“I have learned so many different things, most of them are simple things that many people overlook in daily life.”

“I learned that having ‘support’ is a good thing and that everyone needs support.”

“Project Smile is an excellent program that gave me a positive outlook and made me realize how fortunate I am to be healthy.”

“Helping these kids gives you a great feeling of reward.”

“I gained much respect for all the people who make helping others their life.”

“When I first entered Smile, this was all new to me. I had never seen anything close like that before, but now it is all normal to me.”

“This program has made me see life differently through the kids eyes.”

“For every kid in the class a touch of them will stay in my heart forever. Because of them, I have become less judgmental and I will take that with me for the rest of my life.”

“The day I walked into the classroom, the screams I heard scared me enough to never want to come back. I never thought that those screams would mean just as much to me as words by the end of the year.”

“The students in Project Smile have changed my life in numerous ways and this has by far been the best experience of my life.”

“Going to Project Smile was a blast and I enjoyed every minute of it and would be sad when the bell rang for the next class.”

“The very important thing that I learned is that don’t judge a book by its cover, because you never know what is inside.”

“I will always remember the number 104 as a classroom that change my life; that changed my views of everything, that have truly made my senior year worthwhile”.

“The program taught me not to be selfish and to think of others.”

“From Anthony I learned that a smile really shows a lot and that it’s a pretty easy thing to give.”


First Day of School

First Day of School

Officially, Anthony starts 11th grade and the twins start 10th grade today. Although grades don’t really mean much to us.

None of us were too happy to get up early this morning, especially Mom who has to get up at 4:30am in order to get all of the boys up, fed and off to school on time.

I still get that first-day-of-school-sick-to-my-stomach feeling every September from my own school days. Aaron and Eric were both stressed out about who the van driver would be, who would be on the van, who their aides would be, etc. Anthony was just happy to be going to school:-)


Birthday Celebrations

Eric, Anthony, Aaron, Nancy, Nana


Happy Birthday to my oldest friend Nancy! Well, she is not really THAT old, but we’ve been friends for a very long time. Her mother used to take her by the hand over to my house to play, which was just around the corner. We went all through school together, we both became nurses and work together over the years. I was a brides maid in her wedding. She certainly would have been one of my brides maids as well, if I was into that kind of thing, LOL! In 1988, we ended up living right around the corner from each other again, this time in Grafton.

Today we celebrated Nancy’s Birthday with Anthony’s 16th Birthday. Also today is the 3rd birthday of this blog;-)

Anthony loves to watch the fish and frogs

Happy Birthday Anthony!

Today – May Day – is Anthony’s 16th Birthday and also his official adoption day. He was only 6 years old when we first found him in a foster home in NYC. He was heading to a residential placement and we were looking to adopt, so the timing was right for all concerned. Anthony fit into our family so well that it feels like he has always been with us.

Happy Birthday Son:-)