Allie Cowden is a self-described busy lady. When she’s not studying for her college class or downhill skiing at Cannonsburg Ski Resort, she splits her time between her CLS program and three jobs. One of those positions is as an Intern here at the Down Syndrome Association of West Michigan. Allie began interning with DSAWM over two years ago and has been a valuable part of the team ever since. DSAWM staff recently sat down with Allie to ask her about her daily routine and living life as a young adult with Down syndrome.
My hobbies are downhill skiing, staying busy, working at Cookie Chicks, Shape-Up class, swimming, reading, dancing, hanging out with my friends, being with my family, and working at the Down Syndrome Association and McDonald’s.
What do you like about working?
I like to work on office work and different tasks at the Down Syndrome Association on Tuesdays. I also work at Cookie Chicks. I make the cookies and I do the fruit bouquets and sell those to the customers there and sometimes we do the deliveries. And I have a business card that says I’m the Production Manager. I go there every Monday. I work at McDonald’s and I clean the lobby-dining area. My favorite job is at Cookie Chicks because we listen to music while we are working. And we also make cookies and fruit bouquets. And it is tons of fun being there. And I like communicating with my coworkers while we are doing something together. Sometimes we make messes and at the end we clean everything and put stuff away where it belongs.
What programs would you like to see offered at the Down Syndrome Association?
Buddy Up tennis, Cooking Capers, Dance class, Shape-Up class, Yoga and Meditation Classes.
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
Every Monday I have Shape Up class. On Thursdays I have a college class at Noorthoek Academy and I have CLS. We do fun activities in the community like going to the library. We also work on my goals. My goals are cooking, money management, and socializing with friends. We talk about relationship building with others too. On Fridays I do exercises at home and strength-training. I also relax at home. On Sundays I take downhill skiing lessons at Cannonsburg Ski Resort. It’s called CCSA. I‘ve also been selected to be in the 2018 Fashion Show this year. I’m a busy lady.
How has your disability impacted you?
My disability has impacted my life. My friends have disabilities that have impacted their lives too. I love my disability because I have amazing friends who are supporting me and caring for me. They’re kind, caring, loving, and awesome. And we all like being unique, being creative, getting to know each other, collaborating with peers, and doing fun things. I accept my disability and my friends accept their disabilities.
What do you like about being a self-advocate?
I would like to be a public speaker just like Megan Bomgaars because she is a self-advocate too. She talks about Down syndrome. Her motto is, “Don’t limit me just because I have Down syndrome.” Advocate for yourself and don’t let other people tell you what to do. Let your voice be heard and show the world. Don’t let other people take away your power. Do things by yourself. Figure it out yourself and problem solve it!
What are your dreams and goals?
My goal is to grow as a team at Cookie Chicks. I also like communicating with the owner at the shop, but I need to improve on talking slower and not so fast. We set goals for each other and we also work on our time management. All of us at Cookie Chicks work to achieve our goals. I have different goals like food prep, household chores, daily living skills, community skills, transportation, and health and safety. That’s what I have for goals and me and my CLS are working on those goals. My dream is to move out and get a house with some of my friends. My dream job is to be a veterinarian’s helper and help with the animals, take care of them, play with them, and nurture them.