28-year-old Donovan Ilseng was born deaf and is legally blind, which makes what he does at the Carpenter Park Recreation Center in Plano all the more impressive.
"He's very smart, but communication is not one of the things that he can do well," said Donovan's mom, Rita. "Drawing is an excellent way for him to express himself and so that`s the reason we started taking the class."
Four years later, and he's swapped out the pencil for the paintbrush.
While he can't fully see his paintings, others have a chance this weekend during an art show at the recreation center.
Rita says the show gives you a glimpse at his progress through the years. "We adopted him at four and a half, and he didn't even know about pens, crayons, colors, he had never held a crayon. I could tell when I gave it to him he didn't know what to do with it."
Rita wants his story to give others hope that progress is possible, and you just need to look for the light at the end of the tunnel, just like Donovan does.
Writing Sample 1: Deaf and Legally Blind Painter Excels
Writing Sample 2: European Union Ambassador Speaks in San Angelo After Syrian Attacks
"Things will happen and we have to just dig in for the long haul and not let the terrorists terrorize us into changing our way of life," says the European Union Ambassador to the United States on his visit to San Angelo. Many say his visit couldn't have come at a better time after the deadly attacks in Paris on Friday.
All throughout the day, Ambassador David O'Sullivan answered questions giving the European perspective on current events and especially the Paris attacks. His message, all along, was do NOT be afraid.
On the heels of the explosions heard in Paris Friday, today, hundreds of Fort Concho Elementary students could hear a canon explosion, symbolizing a visit and a union of countries.
"Part of America that perhaps Europeans don't get to see very often is the west, this is the stuff of Western movies," says Ambassador O'Sullivan about his visit. He says three to four days of each month he tries to see new parts of the country, landing him in San Angelo for the day, and he wasn't the only visitor to the area.
"It's a wonderful great beautiful day," says Midland City Councilman John B. Love III, "different cultures, different countries, different people are coming together to share thoughts and ideals and I think that’s really wonderful."
"I think the economic and commercial ties between Texas, the U.S. and Europe are something that I'd also like to emphasize," says the ambassador.
"Oh, the Ambassador O'Sullivan," says Former Midland City Councilman Michael Trost, "oh my goodness, he's an intelligent man and he's obviously very accommodating because this is not an easy thing to do."
While Ambassador O'Sullivan encourages the support of an upcoming trade agreement intended to boost business and make it easier and simpler for both sides of the Atlantic, questioning today mostly circled around the massacre in France.
"I think the first thing is we should not give in to the tactics of the terrorists which is to make us panic, to make us overreact, to become hostile to certain people in our societies, to exploit divisions," says the ambassador. He says the divisions are recruiting tools for the terrorists.
On the other hand, a division, or rather distinction, he does want to see is between members of ISIS and refugees. "Not for me to tell the American people how they want to manage this and how many refugees they want to bring or whether they want to bring any refugees, but I would just point out and I think it is important that the American people understand this, the process by which you select the people who eventually would be granted resettlement in the United States is extremely rigorous."
All day, the ambassador stuck to his message: victory against the terrorists is NOT being afraid, to live.
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