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World Down Syndrome Awareness Day is March 21: Meet Ben

Image of Ben Krifka, wearing his green Bandits uniform, kicking the soccer ball with his right foot.

We’d love for you to meet Ben, whose positive attitude is guiding his transition to adulthood. The early years of adulthood are challenging, regardless of background, and Ben has been working hard over the past three years to increase his living and work skills in order to be as independent as possible.  Ben has been at Berkshire Hills Music Academy for the past three years, & after completing the Two-Year Transition Program in 2014 he became a LIVE (Long Term Independent Vocation Experience) member. We spoke with Ben about his journey, and this is what he had to say to other young adults:

“It is hard work to become an adult! It is really important to have the people you love help you out. My family is very important to me. They love me for who I am. My friends are important too. I can trust them to help me out, and now that I’m older I like to hang out with them and go places. Friends and family are a big part of my life.   

Image of Ben Krifka, wearing a yellow striped polo shirt, black apron, and BHMA hat, posing in the BHMA commercial kitchen.

You have to learn a lot of things as you get older. You have to learn about relationships and respecting the boundaries of those relationships, so that people can trust you. You have to learn how to do things on your own. I have a paid job now but I had to learn a lot of things before I could take the job. I work in a kitchen, and I enjoy the work. I want to live in an apartment someday with friends, so I am learning how to take care of myself. I am learning how to cook and clean, and go shopping for myself. 

You still get to have fun when you are an adult! I love to play basketball and soccer. I was just in the Special Olympics. I also like to swim and run. Music is very important to me. I practice singing low and high, and practice dance with my dance teacher. Music makes me feel peaceful. It also makes me feel joyful.

I decide what is important to me and what I do every day. If I need help, I know that my family will be there for me.”

Ben is working towards achieving the goals that we all want in life: to be a self-sustaining individual, contribute in a positive way to the world around him, be surrounded by a community of people who can serve as supports when needed, and engage in activities & relationships that are meaningful to him. He is a role model for any young adult! 

"Rainbow Connection", sung by Ben: 


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