Philadelphia Keystone Star, Daleon Adonis, is an excited learner ready to face new challenges!

Melissa Blatz, Program Director at Beautiful Beginnings Child Care in Northeast Philadelphia, nominated Daleon Adonis G. as a Shining Star. In Melissa's words:

Daleon Adonis Gayle is a Shining Star in Philadelphia!

"Adonis enrolled in our program in September 2009. His start was just like any other child's in a new program. He was nervous to be away from Mom, and he was confused by the new faces and the program structure. However, Adonis had other challenges to deal with. He has a rare joint disease that caused him to endure multiple surgeries and to be in braces to hold his legs straight, which were often painful for him.
In time Adonis adjusted to the program, made many friends, and became an excited learner ready to face new challenges. Adonis, however, had another bright shining quality. I would describe it as bravery.

Adonis depended on a walker or a push toy to maneuver around the classroom. He received Early Intervention services through Elwyn, including Occupational Therapy, Special Instruction, and Physical Therapy. In addition to these services he privately received physical therapy through his physicians. This often culminated in a cumbersome and tiring school week for Adonis. Through it all he had his bright, beautiful smile.

On two separate occasions while Adonis was enrolled with us, he had surgeries as part of his treatment. The surgeries left him casted on both legs from his upper thighs to his toes. Adonis celebrated his casts by coming in weekly after having them changed and excitedly showing us the new color. It became a game among his teachers, classmates, and himself. They would guess what color Adonis's casts would be the following week.

Adonis grew in the program and learned how to get around just like everyone else. He taught himself how to safely "fall" and maneuver his body through our learning centers. Our program is a STAR 3 facility that fosters the philosophy of learning through play and center-based learning. This model of teaching enabled for individualized learning, which allowed for Adonis to focus on the skills that were most important to his development, including his social-emotional development, confidence, and independence. We hoped this would create a foundation of protective factors for the struggles he would continue to endure throughout his school career.

Every summer our program does a study on consumers. As part of this unit we walk to a water ice stand approximately 5 blocks from our school. I brought with me Adonis's stroller in case he was too tired to walk with his walker the entire time. Adonis fooled us all! He proudly walked the entire trip and even ran around the corner to get to the water ice stand. As much as this was a struggle for him and no matter how much his joints ached, he continued to walk the entire distance back to school. It was then that I knew Adonis truly is a Shining Star! He is now completing Kindergarten. He walks without the support of the walker and is beaming with pride in all of his accomplishments. We are so proud of Adonis, our Shining Star!"


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