If you follow my Instagram or Facebook page, you may have seen me share links to stories on a site called yoocan. I have written several articles there, and recently wrote a list of 10 Tips for Parents Who Have Children With Physical Disabilities, that was featured as the Story of the Day on the site.
Yoocan is the first global empowerment site where people with disabilities and their families can share stories, educate, and motivate each other to do anything. Yoocan has an active Instagram account that is a wonderful starting point for connecting with other individuals with disabilities or finding your daily dose of inspiration.
"The account has become a place for differently-abled people to put themselves in the spotlight and share their personal stories with others who truly understand and can empathize with them," says Stacey Kaplan, the creator and community manager of yoocan. "The account empowers those who sometimes need an extra push of encouragement on a daily basis."
I know what it is like to feel that need for support, encouragement and motivation. Since Brennen was born, I have had an overwhelming desire to connect with other parents who know what I am going through. Starting my blog and sharing our story has connected me to so many families experiencing challenges, and they are some of the most beautiful and courageous people I have ever met. It is so important for families like mine to know that we are not alone - that there are others who have been where we are right now and who will help carry us during the times when we need it most. In turn, I wake up every day and hope that what I am doing is helping other parents out there.
I reached out to yoocan to learn about the inspiration behind the site, and here's what I found out:
My name is Yoav Gaon and I am one of the co-founders of yoocan. Yoocan is the world’s leading empowerment site for people with disabilities. In 2008, my son Erez was born with a rare disease and complex cognitive and physical disabilities. This was the beginning of an emotionally challenging journey for me, Ruthi my wife, and our family. It brought us together in many ways, but it was hard as we needed to adjust to a new way of living. Over the years we have come to do that in our own unique ways. Erez has certain limitations, but they have definitely not prevented him from living life to the fullest! Erez celebrated his 9th Birthday on July 21st, and we had multiple celebrations for him with family and friends. One of the most special birthday celebrations we had was at our family home where we invited both Erez’s inclusive class as well as his special needs class from school and everyone was able to celebrate and enjoy together. We have two older children, Noa (16) and Assaf (13) who act as role models to Erez, but I sometimes think that Erez is also a role model to them.
Like Erez, there are over 1 billion people in the world living with some kind of cognitive or physical disability, striving to live a better, more inclusive life and to fulfill their dreams. The goal in launching yoocan was to create a safe and inclusive community in which people with disabilities and their families can share their stories. We have over 1,000 stories on the site to date and this number is growing each day.
Our Instagram account, @yoocandoanything is reaching over 21,000 followers, and each day we post a new story and photo from someone around the world living with a disability. The unique thing about our page is that the posts or stories are written by the contributor in their own words, allowing everyone to empower and learn from one another. Our stories include individuals from over 100 countries, uniting people and families with disabilities all around the world.
I want to thank Julie for hosting me as a guest writer on Tiptoeing Through, and helping us to spread the word about yoocan, and for sharing her family's story on the yoocan site. I also want to thank each person who is a part of our community because they are an integral part of the network we are building. I would like to invite anyone who has a disability or knows someone with a disability to join our community and share their story with us at yoocanfind.com
*****Thank you, Yoav. I am so happy to be part of the yoocan family, and I encourage everyone reading this to check out the yoocan site, to explore the many empowering personal stories, and to connect and share their experience with others. Keep up the great work, and hugs to your sweet Erez!!