October 22nd, 2013
by Alva Gardner
Hey! I’m Alva Gardner, the new blogger for United Cerebral Palsy of The Golden Gate (UCPGG). I am a recent college graduate from UC Berkeley, public speaker, fashion designer, activist, poet, and a girl who is just figuring it all out as I go along.
I was born and raised in Oakland, CA and then moved to Berkeley, CA in 2008, at the start of my college career. Having lived in various types of campus housing, from freshman dorms to cooperative houses, I now share an apartment with two roommates. I’m currently working on finding a career in the fashion industry, ideally somewhere on the design or marketing side of things, in addition to starting my own business. My business, Designs By Alva, is a brand of functional fashion, designs geared towards people with disabilities where I work to address accessibility needs while maintaining the aesthetic appeal of the garment.
I was approached to write this blog about my experiences as a woman with a disability, living an independent, productive, and fulfilling life. And that’s what I’ll attempt to do, in a way that is both approachable, as well as thorough. While my aim in this blog is to write about my experiences in an informative way for you, my readers, I also acknowledge (and hope you can too) that this is a never-ending process and a learning experience that I am still very much a part of. That being said, if there’s ever anything you want me to write about specifically, or something you have follow-up questions about, please don’t hesitate to ask! Let’s make this a conversation; we can all experiment and learn together.
Before and during the transition into college and living on my own in the dorms and student cooperative housing, then to living on my own in an apartment, people around me constantly told me that things would eventually get easier. My mom especially was and still is a huge support system in my life who has always said, “Transitions are hard, but it does get easier.” I, being the stubborn adolescent and young adult that I was, never fully believed her, and was sure that this was merely something that parents of kids with disabilities said as an empty means of encouragement…. BUT, I am here to say (from personal experience no less) that transitions do, indeed, get easier!
My goal in this blog is to write about personal experiences, challenges, and coping mechanisms, hopefully providing some ideas and techniques that you can implement in your own lives or recommend to family members and loved ones.
“Alva’s Perspective: Rolling Through Life, Love, and Work in the Bay Area” will discuss many of the issues and challenges (and the successes!) I have encountered in my life as a single woman, living on my own, looking for a job and new ways of socializing, while having a disability.
I am excited to share my perspective with you all! Look for my next post in mid November!