Shawnee Mission Faces: Alice Reim, self-advocate for rights of individuals with disabilities and weather guru

Alice Reim advocates for people like herself who live with disabilities. She also happens to be incredibly talented: She’s won a gold medal in both metro and statewide bowling at the Special Olympics. Reim was quite vocal during a recent legislative panel with her state senators. She recently attended a Self-Advocacy Coalition Kansas conference in Topeka. She cares about her health and wellness and is a premier fan of The Three Stooges Fan Club. Reim also enjoys volunteering for Meals on Wheels with Alternative Solutions Inc., and has a variety of work experience in customer service. She lives an independent life in Olathe and is proud that she can take care of herself — although she really enjoys visits from her friends, Kelli and Chloe, who work at Johnson County Developmental Supports.

My name is Alice Ann Reim.

I live on my own. I can focus on who I am. I can remember things so clearly. And I can see everything that’s going on around me.

I can take care of myself like most people can’t. There’s some people with Down syndrome that can’t take care of themselves the way that I can.

I do set up my own appointments and set up my own bus rides. I do take a bus to Prairie Village just to see my mom. And when I get home from my mom’s house, I have to let Kelli know and make sure I made it home OK.

I even have a 12-year-old tabby white cat. Her name is Millie. She is my therapy cat. She adores Kelli.

I do bowling for JCPRD on Friday nights. I also do track and field, and basketball. I also go to Wichita for track and field and Topeka for basketball.

I’ve been playing basketball since I was 12. I also went to the NCAA basketball clinic a couple years ago. They teach me a lot of different skills, how to play basketball.

To tell you the truth, I am kinda like the star in basketball. Actually, to tell you the truth — how do I say this — I kinda play like Michael Jordan, but not exactly like him. I can’t fly like him. You gotta see the way I play. I can do a three-point shot, a free throw. I also do layups.

Actually, I lost about 60 pounds since Kelli started working with me. I’m on a diet now. I don’t have diabetes; I am pre-diabetic. I’m just trying to be careful so I won’t get diabetes ‘cause it runs in my family.

And I have always been a weather person since I was a kid. That’s also a part of my hobbies. I can tell people what the weather is and when the weather gets bad.

In regards to the weather, I’m a big fan of Katie Horner from KMBC-9 News. She’s on the weather team. She tells me when to take cover when we have bad weather. She can be with you all night long, and when the storm passes.

One time, she showed up at the news station with her pajamas on in the middle of a thunderstorm. She can tell you how much debris, how much damage it caused. And she’s with you All * Night * Long. The weather is in her blood. That’s who she is.

The weather is also in my blood. I also tell Chloe and Kelli about the weather because I want my girls to be safe.

Kelli is a huge part of me. And Chloe, she does a very amazing job with me. She’s always there every day when I need her. And I’m very happy that I have her.

My Down syndrome is very mild, to tell you the truth. I’m also high-function Down syndrome. I am more alert. I’m more aware of what I’m doing.

I care about the community, and I care about my rights, and other people’s. And I like to learn how to stand up for myself. A self-advocate is being part of everybody with disabilities and their rights, to help to learn how to stand up for yourself.

My self-advocacy did make a difference since I started doing it. You see, it helps me a lot. I’m also doing public speaking. I did public speaking in a town hall.

I think that’s pretty much who I am.