Photo: Me, Nicki Pombier Berger, and Sara Wolff at the National Down Syndrome Society Annual Gala in New York City, February 2013.
Sara Wolff is the Law Clerk at O'Malley & Langan Law Offices in Scranton, PA. She works for Todd O’Malley, who is also her Godfather, and describes her work as "doing filing, hole punching, typing, typing projects for attorneys, and etc." She also pitches topics for the local talk show Todd O'Malley hosts, called YOU BE THE JUDGE, which airs Sunday mornings at 11:30 on Fox 5. Here Sara talks to me (Nicki Pombier Berger) about her work at O’Malley and Langan.
Sara: I like coming up with different topics for them to talk about on the show. I've been on the show a few times before, for the Buddy Walk that I did in 2001. I was in high school when I did the Buddy Walk, and then I was in the show again for something else, so he asks me a lot sometimes to go on the show about certain things. There's no script, you just go with the flow. He asks you questions and stuff, I'm really good at adlibbing, so. I was on it recently for the ABLE Act, I was trying to get past this year, the ABLE Act means Achieving a Better Life Experience Act. I did a lot of research on that, and trying to get people to be co-sponsors to get it passed this year, and I was on the show for that.
Nicki: Is that a topic that you suggested to him?
Sara: Yes, yes.
Nicki: How did you suggest it?
Sara: Oh gosh, it was a while back, last year actually that I did this. It was pretty cool.
Nicki: So how did you present it to him as like an idea that he should have on his show?
Sara: I gave it to him, and his secretary, and he looked at it and was like, "Really good job, Sara," he knew that [the ABLE Act] was up, and it makes me feel good that he does that, you know. Now I have a pretty funny story, not just with that with work and stuff, I also help people who get iPhones at the firm. I helped an attorney learn how to use an iPhone, and his brother, I had to help him with his iPhone, so it was pretty funny. I helped someone, too, he’s an attorney, when he first started, he wanted help to get his computer together, and he was like, “Alright Sara, go in there and show him how it's done.” So I did, and I fixed everything, and he couldn't believe it that I, a person with Down syndrome, could fix a computer. I hooked everything up and stuff and it was pretty funny.
Nicki: So when you say something like that, you have such a great sense of humor about it, but like, are there other examples of like times when you realized that people don't think that you can do something?
Sara: Yeah. A lot.
Nicki: Can you share some of those?
Sara: A lot of them are personal ones, a lot of them are work ones. And friends-wise. Um.... I don't want to share too much of that.
Watch Sara's appearance advocating for the ABLE Act on YOU BE THE JUDGE
Read Sara’s stories here:
This is a transcribed, edited excerpt from a life history interview I conducted for my thesis in the Oral History Master of Arts program at Columbia University, in which Sara Wolff shared with me her life experiences and reflected on her role as an advocate for herself and others with disabilities. The full interview was conducted on January 5, 2013, in Moscow, Pennsylvania, and will be submitted to the Regional Oral History Office at the University of California, Berkeley, for inclusion in the Disability Rights and Independent Living Movement archive. I will also submit a methodological paper providing context for and analysis of my process conducting and sharing life history interviews with self-advocates with Down syndrome to the Academic Commons at Columbia University. If you would like to know more about my process, please contact me here. With gratitude to the National Down Syndrome Society for their early support for this project.