This week the spotlight is on Miss Whitney aka @heismy_crutch.
Whitney reached out to me on my Instagram account and asked to be featured on the blog and that is how Shining the Spotlight came about. Whitney like myself was born with Spina Bifida but that has not stopped her from dreaming big and reaching for beyond the stars. She is amongst other things an author, a mentor, college student and the current Miss Wheelchair Alabama America 2017.
Who is Whitney?
Whitney is at the core just a black girl trying to make it in Alabama. Haha. I love to write, sing, paint, and I love love love children. I live for children
Growing up with Spina bifida for me had some high heights and some low lows. I had an aide in school until about my junior year in High School. I was a little awkward I made friends with them and adults quicker BC I felt like they were easier to articulate things to. Not to say I didn’t have any friends at all but it grown ups were easier. I overcame that after I didn’t have an aide anymore, and a little before HS because I had the same aide for elementary school to middle school. She was always with myself and two of my other childhood friends. I always challenged myself in little ways because though I had mustard seed faith I always believed I was supposed to do greater things.
What do you currently do, work or school?
I currently am a student at Calhoun Community college working toward being a Social Worker. I’m taking my time and believing God ya know? Building my brand, Mentoring and just trying to be a blessing. I chose social work because of the social worker I grew up having handle my case as a child Ms. Alisha Love at the Children’s rehab here in Huntsville. She was a great advocate for me as a child and she supported me so much. The first time I decided to minister as a youth in my church she was there. She was there for my mother. I just want to make a difference like she has in my life even if not from that angle. She is my inspiration.
He Is My Crutch started out to just be a blog where I just expressed myself or whatever but then I realized that people were actually listening and benefiting from my posts. So because of that I took a leap of faith and decided to move forward with it with help from a wonderful friend of mine named Felecia. Check her out at colormeprivy.com, so I expanded it for people to be able to tell their stories abled bodied and persons with disabilities alike to share their “Interdependent Stories” . interdependent stories are just for someone dealing with a specific thing will be like “yo, I’m not alone. ” and find strength. The stories are about everything from overcoming challenges with disability, depression, an avenue of support, finances or whatever we as a society can share to support one another as interdependents. There’s also an email list where I send updates periodically. I plan to register it as a non profit in the future and have a facility.
You are the current Ms Wheelchair Alabama America, can you tell us more about that?
I entered to compete for Ms. Wheelchair Alabama the first time when I was nineteen years old. However, you have to be 21 to compete so I had to wait so I did. I went on and I had a friend named Yvonne Milton who had competed in Florida and so I got to thinking of it again and by this time I was 22. I’m 23 as of yesterday (August 30th). You’re giving the opportunity to speak out about an issue you believe needs to be giving a spotlight in the disability community and you write a speech on it. My platform is Disability and Ability Equality. I entered because I felt like what I had to say needs to be heard even if it was coming from a mostly social place. I didn’t really expect to win but I wanted to try to be honest so when I was crowned I was wowed. I tried to hold in my tears because pictures were being taken but I Boohood. Luckily I didn’t see any ugly pictures haha. I’ve grown so much with this experience and I truly thank God for it. I’ve done a lot of volunteering as Ms. Wheelchair Alabama from reading to children who are able bodied about how its okay to have friends who are different to the Disability Rights and Resources Program in Birmingham Alabama, and to just taking time to spend with children living with disabilities. For me that’s extremely important. I’m currently working on Disaster Relief for those affected by Hurricane Harvey and in 2016 I started up a yearly conference call each Monday in September called “The Suicide Doors Conversation ” to discuss the different avenues depression and suicidal thoughts creep in and to share my and voluntary speaker’s stories. Follow my Facebook Page ” Ms. Wheelchair Alabama- America 2017 Whitney Ford ” to stay posted on that and follow me on Twitter @heismy_crutch. I’m excited about making it annual.