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David is an Accomplished Special Olympics Figure Skater who is Proving Anything is Possible

Updated: May 20, 2021

David with his Special Olympics skating partner
David with his Special Olympics skating partner

There were times when David felt like he wanted to give up due to developmental challenges, but with the right support he is achieving his goals and on his way to a bright future ahead! In 2016, David began setting several personal goals for himself including getting his driver’s license and going to school to study business. With the initial support of the Department of Rehabilitation, David began studying at Mt. Jacinto College where he discovered his passion for film and video editing. He then set a goal to pursue a major in video production. David successfully completed his AA degree in the spring of 2020. He then applied to Cal Baptist University and UC Riverside. David was accepted to both schools with honors.

With the assistance of the Toward Maximum Independence (TMI) Assessment and Intervention Services (AIS) program which is designed to provide person-centered services and supports to individuals with developmental challenges, David is now attending UC Riverside and pursuing his studies in video production. The TMI Julie Casey Honorary Fund assisted David with purchasing books and school supplies for his first and second semester of school.

Julie Casey was a young woman with Down syndrome who TMI was proud to support for almost eight years. Sadly, Julie died unexpectedly of complications from pneumonia only a few weeks before her 27th birthday in 1996. In honor of Julie, TMI renamed its Community Scholarship Fund the Julie Casey Honorary Fund. Over the years, TMI has been able to provide hundreds of cash grants to individuals receiving support from TMI for a variety of essential purposes including education.

“TMI has given me advice and taught me social and stress management skills to help me solve problems,” said David. “I want to thank the TMI staff for their support and help with my school work, the Regional Center for accepting my case and the Department of Rehabilitation for their assistance, and family and friends for lending me support when I needed it.”

With his skating partner and coach after a competition.
With his skating partner and coach after a competition.

Considered to be an accomplished figure skater, David began skating at a young age and has competed in multiple figure skating competitions. David has participated in both men's single and pair skating disciplines. He has also been a long-standing member of the Special Olympics and has even trained children in the art of skating.

“Although quiet and reserved, David is always looking to meet new people and make new friends,” said TMI AIS Coordinator/Social Worker Tracy Guzman. “David is an incredibly smart and reliable man who is always willing to set new goals for himself and follow them through to the end.”


David is also an active member of his church, participates in the church choir and works as an assistant church librarian. Prior to the pandemic restrictions, he was also an active member of his local gym where he enjoyed exercising and pick-up basketball games.

“I admire Barack Obama,” added David. “He made history as the first Black president. He set a high standard for America in his terms and proved that I can also be anything that I want to be.”

You certainly can, David! We are incredibly proud of you!


Toward Maximum Independence (TMI) has been transforming the lives of children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities since 1981 and the Deaf and Hard of Hearing since 2000. In 2020, we launched Disabled Veteran Employment Services. TMI strives to help our clients to realize their hopes and dreams by providing Employment Solutions, Community Living and Family Support Services throughout San Diego, Riverside and Imperial Counties. To stay connected with us, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Together we can share acceptance and awareness, ultimately contributing to further inclusion.


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