AbleVoices has launched a new project called,  “I am Determined!” that showcases the many interests, strengths, and passions of individuals with disabilities.  Participants have the opportunity to experience a professional in-studio photo shoot that captures their specific interest or talent, such a sport, hobby, or job, etc.  They wear and bring appropriate uniforms, gear, and equipment that help tell the visual story of their skill.  From the photos made, an artistically composited image is created for that individual.  Participants receive a 24x36 creative and customized framed poster along with a digital file for social media. Additional posters and a variety of print sizes are available for family and friends. Contact if interested.
A collection of these artistically composited photographic posters (along with the informative captions) will be on exhibit at the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center in September-December 2020. The title for the exhibit is, “I am Determined! Photographs of Strengths, Commitment, and Passion”. Our goal is to educate the public on the variety of activities that people with disabilities do and all that they are capable of and excel at.
AbleVoices is seeking funding to offer this unique opportunity to individuals with disabilities on an ongoing basis. Visit the AbleVoices Donate Today! page to give to this impactful and positive project!

Photographs © Jen Vogus | AbleVoices
Artistically Composited Backgrounds © Chuck Eiler | Studio Eiler
© Jen Vogus | Chuck Eiler | AbleVoices
BoumJun Bae
My name is BoumJun Bae and I am a cellist.  I am from South Korea and have played at numerous venues around the world including the Olympic Commemoration in Korea, at the Korean War Veterans Memorial Park in Washington DC, at Harvard University, and for the United Nations in New York. At home, I perform throughout South Korea at hospitals, universities, and other events.  I majored in music at Baekseok College of the Arts in Seoul.
I dreamed of speaking at the United Nations since I was young, and I accomplished this dream on December 1, 2017. I was the first person with an intellectual disability to speak at the United Nations during International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD). My goal was to deliver a passionate speech about the rights of persons with disabilities and my hope for being included in the society. Here is a small excerpt from my speech:
“Here, I have something to say.
People with intellectual disabilities are not babies.
People with intellectual disabilities are not toys.
People with intellectual disabilities are not disposable products that are used and discarded when not needed.
I have an intellectual disability, but I am a person before I am one of “them.””
Drew Basham
My name is Drew Basham and I am a pianist. I also play the guitar, the drums, and sing some too! I have listened to music since birth. My first 23 days of life were spent in the NICU and they constantly played music. When my parents brought me home they continued playing music, so I have always loved it. I started playing piano by ear at 9 ½ years old.  I am currently in the process of learning to read music. Playing music makes me feel good about myself and when people hear the music it makes them happy.  When I play music it comes from the heart- music it not just to hear…it is to feel.
At age 13 I played my first public performance at Fontanel. I was granted multiple pre-college scholarships to Vanderbilt’s Blair School of Music from 2014-2017.   I’ve played music at the Nashville Symphony in 2017, at the Bluebird Café and the Tennessee Disability Mega Conference in 2018, and at Cheekwood and in The Gulch in 2019. Some of the other accomplishments I am proud of are… I wrote my first song called “Dreams On The Line” in 2018 and it has been copyrighted.  I have since written a requiem and one other.  In late  2019, I played on a song for John and Julie Pennell’s upcoming album. I also play regularly in a worship band at Compassion Church in White House, Tennessee.
In 2019, I became involved with Vanderbilt Kennedy Center’s SENSE Theatre, which is a drama program for youth ages 10-16 on the autism spectrum. I was hired as their accompanist and am still working with them today. I really want to pursue a career in music. I would love to have a career as a pianist and a singer/songwriter.  I love playing different genres of music but classical is my favorite. One day I wish to play all over the world! You can listen to my music or subscribe to my YouTube channel here.
In 2012, I participated in programming with Borderless Arts Tennessee, an organization that is committed to inclusive and accessible arts programming for people with disabilities. I have won several awards at Borderless Arts competitions including, second place 2016 Young Soloist, second place 2017 Young Soloist, and first place 2018 Young Soloist events.
People describe me as friendly and funny. I have a lot of energy and I can be the life of the party!   Besides my love of listening to and playing music, I enjoy bowling and going out to the movies. I graduated high school in 2017 with a regular education diploma. I have a multi-diagnosis disability but my main two are autism and ADHD.  I am not able to live independently or drive.  It also affects my relationships with people because sometimes people don’t understand exactly what I mean when I say something. Or sometimes my behaviors may make people wonder what is going on with me. I want others to see me for my abilities and not my disabilities.  I am more than that. I want people to see me as a professional musician and look past the words autism and ADHD. I have learned to work hard, do my best, listen and work well with others, be professional, and always try to achieve more than I hope.
© Jen Vogus | Chuck Eiler | AbleVoices
© Jen Vogus | Chuck Eiler | AbleVoices
Haileigh Taylor
My name is Haileigh Taylor and I am a recent graduate of Franklin High School’s Transition II program and earned an Occupational Diploma.  I work at Publix but am considering other career paths now that I have finished the transition program. I would love to work at a library, a plant nursery, or at a hospital doing behind the scenes work. 
Dance is one of my most favorite activities because it is an expression of my inner being and emotions. It is an outlet for me to express myself and I make friends too! I began dancing at Backlight Productions, which is a dance and theater company for people with disabilities. I always will dance, I think, and have a song in my heart to dance to.
I also am an advocate for myself and people with disabilities.  When people ask me about my disability I tell them I am autistic and I have schizoaffective disorder. One of my main goals as an advocate is to educate people on mental illness and autism. My message is, “We are just like you. We may just learn a little different, think a little different, and act a little different.” I want to educate people on the signs and symptoms of mental illness and suicide prevention as well. I am a suicide attempt survivor. There will be good days and bad days. There will be days when you don’t want to get out of bed, when it all seems impossible. Those are the days you fight your hardest! It is important to me to spread a message of hope, healing, and education.
And that is what dancing does for me... it helps me heal and gives me hope.
Bryant Welch
My name is Bryant Welch and I love playing basketball!  I participate in a Special Olympics league and in their competitive regional and statewide tournaments.  What I most enjoy about this sport is that it allows me to be competitive and provides both physical activity and team building with friends.  By playing basketball I have developed athletic skills in offense and defense and have learned the meaning of teamwork and the importance of having self-control.  I play the center position and am proud of my two State Championship silver medals.  I was even high scorer! Since the age of fourteen I have been a huge fan of Lipscomb University basketball.  I would love to be part of the team management one day!
I recently graduated from the Franklin High School Transition II program and earned an occupational diploma.  I have autism and communicating is difficult for me.  But when I am on the basketball court I don’t need to use words to communicate.  I find that I tune into the flow of the game.
People typically describe me as outgoing and friendly.  I was voted “Most Likely to Make Your Day” by my high school class.  Other hobbies I have are horseback riding and photography.  I finished in the Top 10 PATH International Riders of the Year 2018 and was given the “Mr. Photographer” award at the Williamson County Schools Transition II program celebration. 

© Jen Vogus | Chuck Eiler | AbleVoices
More "I am Determined!" images coming... check back soon!
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