On December 2nd, Mark Andrews presented the MMATM-Education Project to 100+ elementary school children (Grades 1-4) at St. Anne’s Belfield School in Charlottesville, Virginia.
After pointing out how everyone is different and unique, Andrews made the point – “It is my belief that each of us are blessed with certain abilities, gifts and talents…Our life challenge is to do all we can to further develop these skills and then to share them with others.”
Andrews went on briefly talk about his work with Therapeutic Adventures, Inc. sharing a short interactive keynote/powerpoint presentation highlighting a variety adaptive skiers with differing abilities (spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, lower extremity amputation, quadriplegia & paraplegia, as well as blind/visually impaired and deaf/hearing impaired). He shared how his 30+ years providing adaptive snow sports instruction provided the inspiration for writing Meet Me At The Mountain.
Andrews then spoke about being what he referred to as an Authorpreneur – writing, directing, producing and distributing – Meet Me At The Mountain. The first of its kind, Meet Me At The Mountain is a delightful and empowering story that creatively engages the reader using an interactive multi-sensory approach.
Many children’s books focus on educating the reader about one type of special need. Meet Me At the Mountain is the first book to highlight the extraordinary abilities of seven characters (Emerald Eagle/Spiritual Leader, Rossi Raccoon/Blind, Jean Claude Jack Rabbit/Deaf, Fiona Fox/Amputee, Big Max the Moose/Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Caitlin Cougar/Cerebral Palsy (CP), and Kodie Bear/Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) as they go on an inspiring quest for adventure.
Andrews states, “It was always my intent to produce this story in multiple formats so as to invite everyone to enjoy the important inspirational messages conveyed throughout this adventure. And now, I am pleased to report that with the help of my extraordinary team, we accomplished our dream! By that, I mean MMATM is available currently in six types of communications medium.”
Illustrated Print | Sign Language | Braille/traditional format | Print/Braille Version Music/The Story is sung by the Troublesome Creek String Band Recording for Blind & Dyslexic (RFB&D) – National Library – (members only)
After sharing the music version and sign language version with the audience, Andrews emphasized – Perhaps what is more compelling than the MMATM story is the fact that this project was made possible by a team of extraordinary professionals who donated thousands of hours of creative talents to produce the many formats.
The story was written using a musical rhyme scheme to captivate the reader. According to Andrews, my purposeful choice of animal characters, highlighting both subtle and obvious physical traits as well as interpersonal leadership attributes, helps to educate the reader about the unique abilities of the characters. Barb Wallace, the illustrator, uses a watercolor medium with breathtaking landscapes and beautifully detailed animals. In the Music version (DVD), Dick Harrington and the Troublesome Creek String Band, playing Old Time Music with a wonderful melody actually sing the story – helping to the characters come alive. In the Sign Language version (DVD), the story is told by Peggy Westfall, a Sign Language Interpreter using unique interactive Quicktime video segments. Steven Collins uses creative interactive media and layout design help to give life to Meet Me At The Mountain. With help from Ricki Curry, the MMATM story has been transcribed and produced in a standard Braille version and a Print/Braille version. And most recently, we are pleased to announce that Meet Me At The Mountain is featured in the Recording for Blind & Dyslexic (RFB&D) national library.
You see, the important messages conveyed in Meet Me At The Mountain, need to be shared! Our target audience is individuals, families, homes, schools, libraries, hospitals and rehabilitation centers, Wounded Warriors – Disabled Veterans organizations. Andrews shared with the group how the net proceeds from the sale MMATM products (1) provide scholarships, and (2) support 1% for the Planet helping environmental organizations.
In Closing, Mark shared the following – “My message for you today…that which makes each of you different is what makes each of you unique and special. Find your Passion! Do those things that you care most about and that give you joy…Follow your dreams! Whatever they are…Go For It! Don’t Give Up! Share those dreams with the people you care most about.”
Upon reflection, Andrews reveals, “The kids were very inquisitive and asked many wonderful questions! It was a fun to be with such a nice enthusiastic group.”