Thursday, December 29, 2011

Chris Waddell-Making Moguls Out of Mountains

chris waddell
Pamela Caffray

"It's not what happens to you; It is what you do with what happens to you."

As I sat waiting for Chris Waddell in Starbucks, I thought back to what I knew about him. Collegiate ski racer, a twelve time Paralympic medal winner and now highly sought after motivational speaker.

What I didn’t know is how good looking, charming and engaging Chris is, and I am completely jealous of the amount this man can accomplish in one day. We talked about his climb up Kilimanjaro which is documented in the film One Revolution. Climbing the mighty peak is daunting enough, but to attempt it in a handcycle is just... well crazy!

Chris told me the best thing that happened was when he was almost at the top and then realized he wasn’t going to make the summit without some help. Sometimes the most humbling moments are the most powerful.

Chris has a new initiative One Revolution that will educate the way the world sees disability, and he hopes to change that view to one of a universal struggle, not just an individual one. Through the Nametagsprogram, Chris strives to reach kids before they have an opinion on what being disabled means and why we shouldn’t view a physical handicap any differently than a mental or emotional one. He is tirelessly traversing the country, speaking at schools as well as corporations.

“One Revolution stands for something small that can lead to something big. In this sense I hope that it leads to a revolution of one—a revolution for all.” Chris Waddell

The Nametags education program is a twenty-minute (forty-five minutes to an hour with questions) assembly designed for students third grade and above. In this interactive program, Chris uses video clips, activities and stories in order to challenge students to think about the assumptions we make about the labels that we place on ourselves and others.


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