Amazing Kids! Magazine

Amazing Kid! of the Month – Paloma Rambana – November 2015

By Catherine Cheng, AKOM Writer
Paloma Rambana, 10-year-old Lobbyist

 

Quote of the Month

“You can change the world at any age. Go ahead and do it even if you have a challenge.”
– Paloma Rambana, 10-year-old Lobbyist

November Amazing Kid! of the Month

As November breezes in, the days are getting shorter and the weather colder. Make sure to keep warm and start putting on layers to prevent getting caught off-guard by the upcoming frost. At the same time, colder weather gives us a good opportunity to consider how to keep ourselves internally warm. This month, Amazing Kids! encourages you to live with warm, compassionate hearts and a willingness to love and care for others.

Paloma Rambana has the art of seeing with the heart mastered. After noting the limitations of her state’s legislation on blind services, she knew she had to do something to solve the problem for kids like her. Her story is one that inspires and warms.

Keep reading to find out more about Paloma and her successful battle for rights.

Paloma sits at Representative Williams’ chair and practices her speech giving skills.

Paloma sits at Representative Williams’ chair and practices her speech giving skills.

A Political Vision

Paloma was born with a condition called Peters Anomaly, giving her 20/200 vision. What an average person can see from 200 feet, Paloma can see from 20 feet. However, Paloma is just like any other girl. She loves to sing, swim, and play with her sister. Despite her condition, she always tries her best to stay positive by remembering how lucky she is to have vision correcting tools.

Unfortunately, Florida legislation does not fund services for children in her age group: 6-13. Funding can be a big issue. For example, Paloma stopped attending vision classes because of monetary concerns. Lucille and Cecile, the magnifiers Paloma uses to help her see in the classroom and when she is doing homework, also have to be paid for out-of-pocket by her parents.

Paloma poses with her best friend during her campaign march.

Paloma poses with her best friend during her campaign march.

When Paloma found out about the issue, she knew something had to be done. Over 900 children like her were not accounted for by Florida’s Blind Services. As a result, when Ms. Kim Foster from FAASB (Florida Association of Agencies Serving the Blind) approached her and asked her to lobby for the organization, Paloma readily agreed.

The issue was an important one. As Paloma states, “80% of learning comes through vision. Having good vision helps people be creative, read, and build stuff.”

Fight for the Future

Paloma started her campaign with a brilliant march. She told her family and friends about her cause and her mother helped her put notices on social media sites. About a hundred people marched from the Department of Education to the Capitol. As they marched, they chanted “clap, snap, clap, fund the gap.” Then, on the steps of the Capitol, Paloma gave an inspiring speech that quoted Helen Keller. She felt amazing with the support of so many people behind her.

Paloma holds up the sign she made for the march.

Paloma holds up the sign she made for the march.

The lobbying process itself was an exciting one for Paloma as she went to the Florida Capitol Building and met with thirteen legislators in a single day! With her vision guiding her, she told the legislators her story and showed them the technology she needed in order to learn properly. Her story definitely touched the heart of the Governor for on June 23rd, Governor Scott signed a bill granting one million dollars to Paloma’s cause. Half of the amount will recur every year.

Paloma takes a picture with legislators in the Florida Capitol Building.

Paloma takes a picture with legislators in the Florida Capitol Building.

However, her vision has yet to be completed. Paloma’s original goal was to raise three million dollars. While she sees her campaign as a success – and it certainly is one – she’d like to keep fighting. In the future, she’d like to receive eight million dollars in order to cover all 921 visually impaired children in Florida.

She’ll be leading another march in December and we wish her the best of luck.

Seeing with the Heart

The world is a great place, but nowhere near perfect. As a result, it is important for all of us to be conscious of the things occurring around us and seek out solutions to problems we witness. We have to be willing to see with our hearts and embrace our role in the world. It is easy to stay detached from life, but in order to create positive change, we have to work together and see with the heart.

Paloma’s story reminds us to look with our hearts and be the change we want to see. In her words, “Think about your idea, talk it through, and share it with the world with the help of your family and friends.”

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