Meet Rachel Ferreira
Rachel is not afraid to step on stage in front of hundreds of people and talk about her life experiences. Rachel inspires her fellow ambassadors to put their fears aside and stand up to tell their story. Rachel is also secretary of the Toll Gate High School Best Buddies chapter. Rachel spoke at Best Buddies Rhode Island’s Champion of the Year event in November and her speech brought the entire crowd to tears and then smiles. She has an amazing gift to capture a crowd and we are so blessed to have her as a part of Best Buddies Rhode Island.
“Hello, my name is Rachel. I am 18 years old and I have a physical disability. I am the secretary of the Toll Gate chapter in Best Buddies Rhode Island. Do you remember when you began to walk? I bet most of you learned to walk before your earliest memory. I, however, remember it like it was yesterday. That was when I began my life-long journey to overcoming my disability.
“When I was little, doctors told my mom and dad I would not be able to do much of anything. I have dedicated my life to proving them wrong. Even though some doctors did not believe in me, others did. I was able to overcome my disability and learn to walk with help and encouragement from all of my doctors. They each gave me a tool I could use. Many people look at people with disabilities and say, “No, you can’t do that.” I want to be the person that says, “Yes, you can!” If you have a dream, then you do whatever you need to do to make it happen. There was a certain teacher who didn’t think I could do anything. I can’t tell you how much that hurt me. I don’t want anyone else to experience that. I want people with disabilities to be surrounded by people who believe in them. The organization is called Best Buddies because your buddies want the best for you.
“Best Buddies connected me to wonderful people who want me to overcome my disability. Best Buddies is a support system that gave me confidence. This organization encourages people to overcome their disabilities. Because of Best Buddies, I have been able to mentor others with disabilities and overcome my own challenges. Now, I am one of the captains of the Tollgate tennis team and I am applying to the University of Rhode Island this fall. People should get involved with Best Buddies because it will give them the confidence to overcome challenges and genuine friendships. So, go out there, overcome your disabilities and encourage others to do the same! Thank you for giving me the time to talk about something I truly believe in.”