I live in Dallas, TX where I attend high school. I am a first generation American- my parents, both former Olympic athletes, came to the U.S. from Russia.
I started volunteering at a very young age, and found that helping others brings me the most joy. I have volunteered for several different charities and causes throughout the years: Hockey Fights Cancer, National Kidney Foundation, Dallas Stars Foundation, Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, Big Dreams Children’s Foundation and many more.
After years of volunteering, I became the President of the Junior Board of Big Dreams Children’s Foundation. I plan fundraising events and go on mission trips to orphanages for kids with disabilities in economically challenged areas of different countries. I was honored to receive The President’s Volunteer Service Award issued by the President of the United States in 2018 and 2019.
I am studying journalism in school, and I enjoy contributing articles not only to our school newspaper Evergreen but also to local and international newspapers.
I’m an active advocate for disability representation. The most common type of disability involve involves difficulties with walking or independent living. When I would talk to my many friends in wheelchairs about their favorite book characters or toys, I realized the lack of disability representation in children’s media and I decided to do something about it.
First, I reached out to Lammily®, a doll company focused on creating fashion dolls with realistic proportions and started a campaign to help fund and manufacture the first wheelchair for 11” fashion dolls. It was fun to watch the idea become a reality and to inspire other doll companies to start making toy wheelchairs. Mattel started the production of its Barbie wheelchairs shortly after.
After that, I decided to write a children’s book that would appeal to many young readers about an issue we see too often in schools today: bullying. Although Lisa Dart is in a wheelchair, the story does not focus on her disability.