The Royal Palm Beach Cultural Center stage will have a flurry of activity Saturday, Sept. 24 when more than a dozen children and young adults strut their stuff and show off their skills at a unique fashion/talent show put on by Soaring Beyond Our Limits.
Soaring Beyond Our Limits was created by Brianna Williams as a way to ensure that young people with special needs have an encouraging support group.
It stemmed from Williams’ own experience. Now 22, she was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when she was 3 years old.
Cerebral palsy is a physical disability affecting a person’s ability to move. It’s a permanent condition that starts before or shortly after birth as a result of damage to the brain as it develops. Symptoms include difficulty with movement, coordination and muscles, as well as pain, vision impairment and other ailments.
When Williams was diagnosed, doctors said she would never be able to walk, talk or do many of the things other children can do. However, she disagrees.
“We can do everything everyone else can do — it just might take us longer to accomplish the task,” she said.
In elementary school, technology helped Williams keep up with her classmates, and she attended sleep-away camp as a pre-teen.
Williams was treated just like any other student, until middle school. She started attending a school for children with special needs in seventh grade and is now studying to become an exceptional student education (ESE) teacher.
Soaring Beyond Our Limits, she explained, is a support system for those who are disabled to help them reach beyond the label of a disability and show them what they can accomplish.
“One day I went to therapy and realized that all the children had different personalities and different disabilities,” Williams recalled. “Even though they were all disabled, they didn’t let anything stop them. They did the same thing as everyone else, just in a different way.”
Last year, she started Soaring Beyond Our Limits to encourage children and young adults to embrace their differences. Williams staged the group’s first fashion/talent show in 2015 as a fundraiser and fun social activity.
“I decided to do a fashion show because I believe we need to showcase these young adults’ and children’s abilities rather than their disabilities,” she said. “I wanted these people to feel that they’re beautiful and handsome, just like everyone else.”
The event, which will run from 6:30 to 10 p.m., will showcase special-needs youth ages 3 to 25.
Soaring Beyond Our Limits also hosts fundraiser nights at local restaurants, as well as bowling and fun activity days at local parks. Volunteers are always welcome for the talent show and other events, Williams said.
Williams offered the following advice to help encourage those with special needs: “Overall, people can treat people with disabilities just like everyone else. Get to know us before you judge us,” she said.
Tickets for the fashion/talent show are available online at www.soaringbeyondourlimits.com or by calling Williams at (561) 204-4184.
Advance tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for children. Tickets at the door are $10. Admission for children younger than 3 is free.
To donate to Soaring Beyond Our Limits, visit www.gofundme.com/9jrhehtw.