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VMI

Tara Accetta

Brooklyn, NY

Entry Photo for Tara Accetta - Brooklyn, NY

Hi Guys! My name is Tara Accetta, and I broke my neck when I was 19 years old. At 19, I was going to NYU to be a teacher. Little did I know that in a few months, I would be faced with an irreparable circumstance that left me at my weakest point.

It was now July 14th, 2012 – instead of NYU it was NYU Rusk rehabilitation and I was in for the biggest fight of my life. On July 6th, 2012, I had broken my neck and was pronounced a C5 quadriplegic and was not able to move anything but my eyes and shoulders. I was told to get used to my “new life,” because “I would never be able to do anything”

In my hospital room, there was a poster with a quote from Christopher Reeve: “I think a hero is an ordinary individual who finds strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.” Those were the last words I read before I knew I needed to be my own hero. Faced with two paths: to either self destruct since I was now paralyzed; or fight to get as much of my life back as humanly possible. I chose to fight. I chose resilience.

My accident had shown me that I was meant for something deeper and my new calling is school counseling. Resiliency and inner strength is a trait you do not know exists, until it is quite literally the only thing you have left. Working one-on-one with children in a counseling environment, I want to illustrate how critical self-determination and resiliency are. I want to help children unravel their inner strength to persevere through life’s trials and tribulations. Fighting against adversity may not be easy, but it is worth it.

Fast forward 4 years, I went back to school to earn my bachelors degree and I start my Masters in the fall. I travel to the local high schools and YMCA’s before the summer starts to talk about the dangers of reckless behavior and unsafe swimming. If i change at least 1 child’s life from my life experiences, it makes it all worth it. Winning this vehicle would allow me to travel further distances to speak amongst other schools and youth organizations to educate and raise the awareness for spinal cord injuries, and how to prevent accidents from happening. Please Vote!