Jason W. Freeman will be the featured speaker during a Peer Power Partners sponsored kick-off event, talking about community and understanding from 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m., with an awareness walk to follow on Monday, Oct. 16th, at LIFE Mower County.
The Free presentation is part of the two-day Peer Power Partners mentoring program kick-off for the 2023-2024 school year. Jason Freeman will also create podcasts with students in Peer Power Partners from each school ( IJ Holton, Ellis, and AHS) that will be shared with their classmates on the importance and impact of the program.
Jason W Freeman is a professional speaker, and author with a major in English and Social Work. He also has obtained a Masters of Fine Arts in Poetry. He has transcended the physical limitations of his cerebral palsy, and embraces his voice as the gift it was intended to be, even with a pronounced speech impediment.
Jason W Freeman’s book “Awkwardly Awesome – Embracing My Imperfect Best” will be sold at the kick-off event with the opportunity to have the book signed. 50 % of the proceeds from the book sales will go to the Peer Power Partners program as well as sales from the concessions sold. There will also be an exclusive orange Peer Power Partners t-shirt for sale at this event to bring awareness to October’s National Bullying Prevention Month. Children with intellectual and developmental disabilities are frequently targets for bullying. Studies show that children who are bullied experience negative effects ranging from poor self-esteem and school performance to long-term physical and mental health issues. The motto for Peer Power Partners is “ We are Better Together”
Peer Power Partners is a mentoring program that pairs youth with special needs and same-aged peers to promote friendship, understanding, and advocacy. The program celebrates all differences while supporting one another. The program was started in 2013 by Mary Barinka, out of her passion as a parent, who was the Autism Resource Specialist through the Hormel Historic Home. Upon Mary’s retirement, the program was adopted under LIFE Mower County in July 2023 with Danielle Hernandez-Miller as the new lead of the program.