Autism Danville life

Training Wheels….Lost!

<<<UPDATE>>> Video at the bottom of this post!!!

One of the greatest things about being a parent is seeing the growth of your child.  I’m not talking about height, I mean the milestones.  His first word or step.  His first words after he lost his speech due to autism.  His first day of school and Day 3 of Lose the Training Wheels.  Why will July 13, 2011 be a milestone day for the Souza family?  That marks the day that Truce rode on a two wheel bike for the first time.

If you don’t know about Lose the Training Wheels, it’s a wonderful program created by Dr. Richard Klein, a retired University of Illinois engineering professor, and his wife Marjorie.  Truce has been to the camp 2 times before.  While most of the other children are able to get up on two wheels, Truce has fallen just a bit short.  That all ended yesterday.

I came to the Arena to see how he was doing.  This year more than any he’s finally got enough speed to keep a bike going.  Truce has a condition called hypotonia.  That means his muscles wear out quicker because of his low muscle tone.  So pedaling for over an hour usually spends him.  In the “off-season” Truce has been riding his aunt’s 3-wheel bike very fast around the driveway to build up his leg strength.

After I saw that all was well, I headed back to the office.  Right when I got back there, Jennifer texted me “2 wheels”.  Of course I called her instantly as everyone was still cheering for him in the background.  I told her the call me back via FaceTime (thank you Apple).  I was able to see him ride, jump off the bike and come running to his mom screaming with joy!  He was so excited and proud of himself, along with everyone there.

I couldn’t get the smile off my face for the rest of the day.  As I type this a day later, I’m still smiling.  To think that this camp almost didn’t happen because we didn’t have enough kids.  I have made it my mission that if this goes again next year I will personally recruit families to participate.  Every family should experience the joy of having your kid ride a bike.  Better than that, seeing the face of your child doing it.

I have to thank Pete & Pat for making the camp happen.  Also, all the volunteers that support the riders at the camp.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all that you do!

Danville Writing

Wayne Crawford Remembered

Dr. Wayne Crawford

I’m sure that everyone has at least one teacher they can point their finger to and say, “He (or she) was my favorite teacher.”  For me, Wayne Crawford was that guy.  When Mr. Crawford (no disrespect to his “Dr.” designation, you will always be Mr. Crawford to me) passed away this year, I asked District 118 Superintendent , Mark Denman if they were going to do a write up of Mr. Crawford in an upcoming issue of the Maroon & White EXTRA.  He told me that they were just starting to put it together.  I asked if I could write it.

As the very last editor to serve under Mr. Crawford, I felt that it was only fitting, and the least that I could do, to honor him.  I want to thank all the past students of his that contributed to the article.  I know that it’s a small slice of the students that he influenced.

I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.  The link to the article is below, its in a pdf format.

Mr Crawford MW article


Danville Economy TED Talks

Kill apathy

When I was on the city council I was amazed that when I would share stats that people did not know about them already.  I can’t tell you how many times during my election that I was asked who else is running.  I chalked it up to apathy.  People just don’t care or are too lazy to take the time to get involved.  After watching this TED Talk about apathy, I have a whole new perspective.

As you know, I love me some TED Talks and I usually only share the ones that hit home for me. I have sent this to the mayor and city council of Danville.  This video is only about 7 minutes long, but is very visually based.  If we want to make Danville a better place, we need to share great ideas like this video.  For more TED Talks, visit their website at


DACC Vote Totals

Since it seems impossible for the local media to add, here are the final vote totals for the DACC Board of Trustee race. Congrats to the winners: Spezia, Harby, & Cheney.


Danville life

Danville, it starts with an attitude.

attitude-is-everything.jpgI have had many discussions over the years about Danville and what can we do to make it a better place to live, work & grow. Maybe it’s the election season with candidates talking about all the positive changes they would make going forward, but it seems that the discussions have been more frequent here of late. We could debate about the importance of low taxes, the best way to increase business growth, and providing public services. However, I think those items are down the road for discussion points. It has to start with an attitude.

The attitude that I’m talking about is an attitude of wanting to be a better community. Do we project that attitude when we complain about what Danville doesn’t have or do we promote that attitude by being grateful for what we do have? Being thankful is a mindset. You can constantly look for what you don’t have; a nice car, bigger house, 6-pack abs, or you can look at what you do have; a good family, your health, a steady paycheck. This week, I had the opportunity to promote Danville in my own way and I hope (and believe) that it will pay off in the future.

The first time was while I was picking up dinner for the family at Buffalo Wild Wings. It was last Saturday after the Ohio State & Illinois game. A couple came in and sat down next to me at the bar while I was waiting for my carry-out order. I asked them about the game, they said there are from Ohio and decided late to come over for it. They said the hotels were booked up there so they decided to stay in Danville. As my food came out, I told them thanks for staying here and I hope next time they come over for the game they stay here in Danville because we would love to have them back.

The second time was when I went out to dinner with a friend at the Nugget. It was my friends first trip to the Nugget and he was taking a picture of the place as we went in. As we were going in, a couple was coming out. I made the comment, “It’s his first time here.” The couple replied that it was their first time too. I asked where they were from and they said Wisconsin. They were on their was to see her father in Indiana and stopped here for a bite. I said, “Well, thanks for stopping in Danville, we appreciate it and hope that on your way back you stop by again.” Will they? I don’t know. I would like to think that if they got to Crawforsville and started to get hungry they would drive to Danville because those people are so nice.

I have always said that the best resource in Danville is it’s residents. When something needs to get done, it does. When we need to community to come out and support a cause or our football team, they do. What if we carried that attitude around with us all the time? What if every day we made it our mission to do one thing, just one thing, to better Danville, what kind of difference would it make? It would be huge. It takes so little effort, but the payoff is so great. Give it a try, you may just find it not only betters your community, YOU will feel better also.

Thank you to Father Nelson for the inspiration behind this post. Great homily today, Father!