Letters from Ypsilanti New Tech High School

Dear Owen

Hello, Owen how has things been so far?  My name is Jehon.  My partner Otha, and I have been doing some research on your genetic condition.  We are currently attending a New Tech High school located in a small city called Ypsilanti in Michigan.  In case you didn’t know what New Tech means: it’s a school where your learning is project based, more advanced with technology. You also can go on youtube and find some videos that we have produced.  After looking through your blog on “The PEARLS Project” my partner and I see that you are very adventurous and like things such as walking through the woods and following trails.  That is one thing we find very fun because there are so many amazing sites you can see while doing it.

I understand you are missing part of your chromosome 18 and you have 18q deletion syndrome.  You look like a great kid to hang out with, I would love to be your friend.  You’re always happy.  Never let anyone strike down all the confidence you have.  No one should try to talk down on you because you are just as human as everybody else.  People who brings nothing but negativity around are a bad influence on your life and have no reason to be in it.

Hello Owen, I am Otha, Jehon’s project partner.  I also have a lot of questions for you.  I wonder if your condition makes you lose focus every once and a while.  I have read all about your condition and the symptoms that go with it but this is my first time actually interacting with someone who has the condition.  I would also love to be your friend.  You look like someone who knows how to enjoy yourself.  I also like walking through the wood and following trials.  I also feel that there is a lot of more adventures that I could show you that you didn’t know about.  The reason my partner and I are contacting you is because our school is doing a project named what is beauty and when I saw your video on your blog I knew then I wanted to write to you.  I love the fact that you are always happy and that is a great personality to have in the world.  I can tell you are a very warmed hearted person and it would be very nice to meet you.


Jehon and Otha


Dear Owen

Hello Owen, I am Gregory. I go to Ypsilanti New Tech at Ardis.  I am in the ninth grade.  I found it interesting in Biology that you were missing part of your 18th chromosome.  I have friends who get treated badly in school and I don’t want that to happen to you.  Dont let people say you’re not normal, because what is normal anyways?  There is no definition of normal. So that means weird is normal, and we are all weird.

Hi, my name is Austin I also go to Ypsilanti New Tech at Ardis.  I am in ninth grade.  I see that you are missing a part of your eighteenth chromosome.  I was bullied in elementary and middle school for the way I look and the way I act.  I feel like we have a lot in common and I’m happy to be able to talk to you.  What do you like about home, school, etc?  How is working with Rick?  Like Greg said, “Don’t let people put you down, We are who we are. It’s not the outside that counts, it’s what’s in the inside that counts.”


the Gregory & the Austin

Letters from Ypsilanti New Tech High School

Dear Joachim

This is Da’Vian and Aaron here to say that we watched your videos and we liked them (especially the intro).  One of those videos showed you making potato pancakes, right?  Well, good job, man.  We have some questions that we want to ask you.

  • When did you get invited to the project, how, and why?
  • How big is your family?
  • What kind of xbox you have? My friend, Aaron, has an xbox 360 and he thinks maybe you two could meet online.
  • What grade are you in?
  • What are some hobbies?

That is it for now. We will talk to you later.


Da’Vian and Aaron


Dear Joachim

I’m Jazlyn.  I’m fourteen years old and fabulous.  I like to read mostly fiction books like, Harry Potter and The Hunger Games.  I also like to sing and write poetry.  I want to make the most positive changes in the world that I can.  I think beauty is the kindness of someone’s heart and warmness of someone’s soul.  I think those qualities make a good person and looks can never define those qualities.  What do you think beauty is?  I’d like to know what your genetic disorder is and what kind problems have you faced from people who don’t understand your genetic disorder?  Who do you have to support you?  Now you’re gonna meet my friend Haley.

I am Haley.  I am fifteen years old and I like to read books about murderers. Another thing that I like to do is draw and listen to music.  I think beauty is based on how kind and generous a person is.  What is your view on beauty?  What are some other activities that you like to do?  Thanks so much for talking to me and my friend Jazlyn.

Your friends

Jazlyn and Haley

Letters from Ypsilanti New Tech High School

Dear Alexandra

Hello!  Our names are Jimmy I’m (16 years old) and Tyreek I’m (15 Years Old).  You sound like a wonderful kid and we would like to get to know you better.  We hear you’re into musicals.  Looks like you have animals.  We also have animals, Tyreek has a dog it’s a puggle named Honey, and Jimmy has a dog it’s a miniature pinscher mixed with a chihuahua, named O-B.  They have the same qualities as your rabbit.  The qualities that are the same as your rabbit are fluffy, cute, loveable and small.  Our favorite thing to do is to play Basketball.  Our favorite subject in school is Math.

We have a couple questions to ask you in relation to our BioArt project called “What Is Beauty?” is that ok?  What is your definition of beauty?  Our definition of beauty is someone who is outgoing, courageous and someone who is caring and giving and loving.  Beauty is not always on the outside and that’s what makes you beautiful.  How does your genetic disorder affect your daily life?  How was working with Rick Guidotti?  Please get back with us when you can.

Thank you for your time.


Jimmy and Tyree


Dear Alexandra

In my biology and art class, we are doing a project on beauty.  One of the things is defining beauty.  My definition of beauty is more of what your personality is like.  The better personality, the more beautiful you are.  Because though outside looks do have a slight affect.  What’s inside should be what counts.  What is yours?  I’ve also noticed something we have in common, we both like to dance.  If you put on Justin Timberlake I will definitely be dancing.  I also wanna know how your condition affects your daily life?  Does it greatly affect your daily life?  Or does it do little effect?  What was it like to work with Rick Guidotti?  I really want to know.  I hope you can reply soon.




Dear Alexandra

Hi!  My name is Jade.  I’m 15 years old and my birthday was January 5.  My favorite color is green.  I like to play basketball.  I’m in the 9th grade.  I love helping people who are in need and one thing I figured that we have in common is that we both like to dance.  One day I hope I will get the chance to help people who are really sickly or even people that don’t have a lot.  But, one thing that I’m looking forward to is to help people who want to do stuff in life.

I’m even trying to help younger boys and girls who want to grow up and be something in life and change the world.


Letter from Ypsilanti New Tech High School

Dear Grace from California

We are two students from Ypsilanti New Tech High School, who ended up very lucky to get you to show the face of beauty.  We saw your video and blog, and took time to notice that you like to have fun.  But other than that, we don’t know anything about you.  We would like to learn a little bit more about you and who you are so we need to ask you some clarifying questions in this letter.

So, how did you become interested in dancing and singing?  What do you think beauty is?  We think beauty is when your are a very strong minded person who is always happy and uplifting others and yourself.  It’s not about appearance but what’s on the inside.  How has working with Rick Guidotti affected you throughout the years?  Does having Down Syndrome affect your learning?

Sorry for all of the questions but we wanted to know a little about you and your opinion on beauty.  Also here’s a couple words of good advice you should always remember, don’t listen to anyone that tries to bring you down, or criticize you.  We think you are beautiful.  This is the reason we are glad to have you as our PEARLS Ambassador.  Oh, and we have one more question what type of dog is Roxie?


Spencer and Tyonna


Dear Grace

This is Shakia and Ashia, we are from Ypsilanti New Tech high school.  And we would like to tell you that we admire you.  We’ve heard about you in a project in  BioArt.  And BioArt is a class that we take studying about Biology and Art.  It’s very cool in Biology we learn about cells and genetic things.  And in Art our teacher make us draw the cells and create other things.  We also did our research on you, we would like to tell you a little bit about ourselves and our definition of beauty.  And we would love to get to know you and your definition of beauty.

Hello this is Ashia, and I would like to tell you that I love rain. To some people they think that the rain is all bad but I think its actually beautiful how the weather changes like that.  Don’t you agree?  Another thing I’m interested in is animals.  I absolutely love dogs and I have a dog also.  He’s a German shepherd, and his name is Max.  He is a big puppy, and I love hugging him.  And I give him huge hugs everyday before I go to school.  Anyways I just wanted to let you know that I’m interested in learning about you.

Hey this is Shakia, but you can call me Kia.  I am a 14 year old that loves animals, food, and music.  I am also a dancer.  I love to dance because it helps me control my emotions and makes me happy. I’ve been looking on your blog, and I admire you in so many ways.  I absolutely don’t care what anybody says about you because you are beautiful. And besides you look very happy to me. Live it up and enjoy your life, and never be ashamed or embarrassed about who you are.  And even when the road is hard never give up.  You might think I might be saying all these things just to get a good grade on my project but no I really mean these things.  My definition of beauty is just being yourself.  Having an outstanding personality that a lot a people can connect to.  I don’t think beauty is just all about looks and technically appearance.  I think it’s because of your mind-set, if you’re independent, smart, and funny.  But I know you heard the saying, “You can be beautiful on the outside but ugly on the inside. ” Which means, the way that your attitude is can affect people being around you.  But can I know what your definition of beauty is? And I noticed that your last update on your blog was two weeks ago on a Tuesday and I just wanted to say I love your dog, Roxie. I would love to have a dog that would wait for the bus with me.

Me and Ashia really enjoyed writing about you and to you.  We actually would really love to meet you.  We are not judgemental, we find you are actually beautiful and that you should never be ashamed of who you are.  But when will update your blog?  And we would really like to know how has having Down Syndrome affect your daily life?  If you mind answering that question, you don’t have to if you don’t want to. And how did working with Rick Guidotti have an affect on you?


Shakia and Ashia

Letters from Ypsilanti New Tech High School

Dear Jonah

Our names are Naya and Precious, and we wanted to write to you because we care about you and hope to hear from you.  We think that you are so adorable and that you sound fun!  As we read your blogs you seemed like the type of person that doesn’t let something bad ruin you and that you never give up.  Please continue to be like that.  We are 14 years old 9th grade girls.  We both like Subway and Chicken Alfredo.  What is your favorite Fast Food place and Home Cooked Meal?  We Like listening to music but we don’t have the same favorite artist.  Do you have a favorite artist or song?  One thing we both have in common with you is that we never give up.  Precious and I definition of beauty is a lot different, mine is more about what is inside more than outside like your personality, attitude and you itself.  Precious’s definitions is most times it may be on just looks but how you caring yourself around other people.  We would love to know what your definition about beauty is.  We would also know how you are holding up with your disorder if you are okay and if it is not affecting how you live as much.  Also we want to know how did Rick Guidotti have an affect on your life. We hope you write to us soon.


Naya and Precious

Dear Jonah

Hi! My name is Liz, but my full name is Lizbette (pronounced Liz-Bet).  I am in 9th grade (freshman in high school).  Just like you, I also love music and M&M’s but my favorite candy is probably Snickers, Reese’s Cups or Crunch!  My favorite type of music is punk rock/alternative rock, such as Nirvana and Pierce the Veil.  I also read that you like Spongebob.  I LOVE Spongebob.  I have my own Spongebob onesie!  I’ve seen every episode about 4 times each but my favorite show is probably American Horror Story, Dr. Who, Supernatural or Soul Eater.

My name is Jada, I am in 9th grade, and like you I like to exercise and be healthy with my dad.  I love to play Minecraft on the computer and play Clash of Clans on my iPad with my dad.  I have two dogs and a cat.  My cat and one of dogs are in love with each other.  They give each other baths.  I absolutely LOVE to ride horses and to care for animals.  My absolute favorite show takes place in a hospital, it’s called Red Band Society.

Liz:  The word “beauty” has so many meanings behind it.  To society, beauty is based on appearance; that beauty is a combination of qualities, such as shape or color that come together and pleases the sight of others.  But I believe beauty is more powerful than appearance, for it is deep inside personality and heart. Beauty can also mean to not be afraid to be who you are in front of anybody, no matter what they say.  No one should be afraid to be themselves because everybody is different and special in their own way, just like you are different in special in an amazing way.  You are what my definition is of beauty, and when I look at you I feel inspired because you’re smiling and happy and I think that’s beautiful. Be happy. Eat pizza. (\(^-^)/)

Jada: Beauty is defined as someone’s appearance and whether they are pleasing to look at but to me it’s what you see in yourself and the beauty that others see.  It’s having the confidence to show your self off to the world.  To be confident in who you are, your body and mind, spirit, having mind over matter, to not be afraid of what people think.  Be happy.  Eat pancakes.

Some questions we would like to know are:

  1. What career do you see yourself pursuing in the future?
  2. How has working with Rick Guidotti changed your life?
  3. What is your definition of beauty?
  4. Do you like being in front of a camera?
  5. What was your first reaction to being in the photography business?
  6. Who/what do you see yourself as?


We would appreciate if you could write back to us. Thank you, and keep smiling.


Jada 🙂 and Liz 🙂


Dear Jonah

Hello, my name is Randy Mejia.  I’m 14 years old and a 9th grade student at Ypsilanti New Tech in Michigan.  I love to play games, watch TV and go outside.  I also have a little sister like you but she is 11.  I been assigned to be your partner in this project we are doing in our class.  I been doing research and I heard you have genetic disorder and I hope you’re doing okay.  You seem like a very nice kid and I would love to meet you.  I saw your blog on Positive Exposure and it’s fun reading what you post.  We have a lot of things in common like playing on the computer, taking pictures and talking.  I saw that you last posted on the 13th of January and I hope you keep on posting more!  You look like a kid that would be fun to talk to and have fun with playing around.  I was wondering, what is your definition of beauty?  Mine is that beauty doesn’t matter about how the person looks, what matters is their personality.  If their personality is nice and sweet, then that person is beautiful but if their personality is ugly and disrespectful, they have no beauty at all.

I have a lot of questions to ask you.  How does your genetic disorder affect your daily life?  Does it affect the way you talk or look?  What are you doing to help it? Is there any way to get rid of it?  How would it affect your life later on?  I’m also interested in other aspects of your life.  When is your birthday?  What are your favorite foods?  What are your favorite hobbies to do?  What is your favorite subject at school?  Do you like going to school?  What types of sports do you like play or watch?  These are all my questions to ask. I hope you can answer me back some time later.




Dear Jonah

Hello, my name is Shawn.  I am 14 years old and a 9th grader at Ypsilanti New Tech High School…Ypsilanti, Michigan.  I love to play baseball because it keeps me active and in shape.  I and my partner Randy have been assigned you to be our Ambassador for our project and we are happy that we got you as it.  We have been doing a lot of research on you and we found out that you have a genetic disorder and we hope that you feel better and it doesn’t bother you as much.  You seem like you’re a very n ice person and you look like a normal person.  We would love to meet you and be your new friends.  We have a lot of common, things like playing on the computer and taking selfies and talking.  We love talking because we always get in trouble in class because we never can stop talking.  We saw that you last posted on January 13, 2015 and we hope that you keep on posting so that we can see that you are doing good just like we are.  You look like a kid who would be fun to meet and play around with. What is your definition of beauty?  Beauty means to have a nice personality no matter what you look like, but if the person is disrespectful, then they don’t have any kind of beauty in them no matter how sorry they are.

I have just a few questions to ask you.  What caused you to get you genetic disorder?  How does it affect your daily life and does it bother you at all?  What is your favorite hobby?  My last question to ask you is do you have any siblings and if so do they have the same genetic disorder as you, or do they have any genetic disorder?  What type of effect does working with Rick Guidotti have on you? Those were my only questions that I wanted to ask you and we hope that we can soon meet each other.



Letter from Ypsilanti New Tech High School

Dear Rebecca

Hi my name is Kevin. I am 15 in the 9th grade. I go to Ypsilanti New Tech High School. I have  2 brothers, Juwan and Rico. I am doing a project on inner beauty and wanted to know your thoughts on this topic. and I also want to know more about you. Does chromosome 18 affect your speech and other abilities?Did you inherit this condition from a previous family member? What do you like to do during your free time?



Letter from Ypsilanti New Tech High School

Dear Talia

This is Deshard and Corinthia.  We’re from Ypsilanti, MIchigan and we go to Ypsilanti Community New Tech High School.  The reason we’re writing to you is because we have an assignment to do.  We are freshman just like you.  I’m 14, and Corinthia is 15.  The thing we have in common is our favorite subject: I like math and English too.  I was wondering if your life is hard or is it fine with Chromosome 18.  The project we’re doing is about beauty and I wanted to know what your definition of beauty is.  Because my definition of beauty is that beauty is something that everyone has, just in different way’s.

Hi Talia Corinthia here.  I’d like to start by saying that when I first laid eyes on a picture of you, I would have never thought that you had any type of genetic condition.  You are beautiful and very active.  I see that you like to do a lot of things and that’s amazing.  You’re not holding back on anything or letting your condition get the best of your life.  I am very excited to get to write to you.  Before I knew that I was going to be writing to you I said to myself, ‘wow I wish I could hear from her.’  While doing my research on chromosome 18, I found that there are many different kinds.  Exactly which condition do you have?


Corinthia and Deshard

P.S.  We would really love to hear from you!

Letters from Ypsilanti New Tech High School

Dear Rebecca

Let me start off by saying my name is Kiyla , I’m a 9th grader and the school I am attending is Ypsilanti New Tech @ Ardis.  I found out the condition you have and its called AMC, short for Authrogryposis Multiplex Congenita.  I also read the meaning of this disorder and I found out that it’s a genetic disorder of newborns resulting in decreased flexibility of joints.  Rebecca , you are a strong woman.  I’ve read that you have graduated from the University Of Michigan with a master of social work degree with a concentration of community organizing in health.  I just want to tell you to keep pushing forward and anything you put your mind to, you can do.  One thing I like about you is that you’re not letting the condition you have stop you.  You are a very beautiful young lady and you are focused on what’s ahead of you and not what’s getting in the way of stopping you from doing what you have to do.  I’m here today to tell you keep pushing forward.  Don’t let anything get in the way of doing what you have to do.  I have a 6 years old cousin that is Autistic.  When I first met him I cried my eyes out because I honestly thought he wasn’t going to make it.  But, now that I see he’s learning how to talk, going to schools and learning new things around him, I’m not worried about him passing away.  He’s doing just fine.  From what I read about you, I know you’re gonna be just fine as well.  You have a good life ahead of you and you are such a strong, beautiful lady.  I’ve had such an amazing and interesting time learning about you.  Keep your head up, Rebecca and continue to go down the right path in life.  Continue to stay strong.  XOXOXOXOXOXO


Dear Rebecca

Hello my name is Doriyahna, I am 15 years old, and my birthday is January 4th. I am here to talk about beauty because it is a class project we are doing.  My definition of beauty is the way a person’s personality is.  If you are nice, kind, happy, and etc.  I think you are a beautiful person because you seem like a nice, kind, confident, happy person.  I watched your video and you have a pretty voice like me. I hope to graduate from college just like you did.

Some questions I have to ask you are, how old are you?  Do you like the way you are living?  What did you graduate for?  What were some of your dreams as a kid?  Did you feel insecure as a child about people.  Do you feel beautiful yourself?  Do you have any sisters or brothers?  I am asking you these questions because I’m curious and when you answer them that will help me to be a better person.  My goal is to be a beautiful person just like you.


Hi Rebecca

My name is Mikayla.  On October 18th I will be turning 15 years old.  I am a freshman at New Tech High School in Ypsilanti, Michigan.  My definition of beauty is someone who is nice on the inside.  I do not think beauty has anything to do with a person on the outside.  It is all about the inside.  When I watched your videos, I thought your voice was very pretty and you were soft-spoken.  I noticed that last year in October you mentioned reading The Fault in Our Stars and Divergent.  I also had read The Fault In Our Stars but haven’t got the chance to read Divergent.  I also live in Michigan.  There are a few things I would like to know about you.

What is your definition of beauty?  Have you lived in Michigan all of your life? What are some of your short and long term goals?  Have you made a bucket list if so, what are five things you have on it?  Those of just some of the questions I have for you.  Since reading your entries and watching your videos I understand that having Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita your joints are curved and it is hard to move your legs and arms.  How have you been dealing with it for 24 years?  How was it working with Rick Guidotti?  I bet you had a great experience with him.  Hopefully, I will get to meet you one day.


Hello Rebecca

My name is Eli.  I go to Ypsilanti New Tech High School.  I think that it is great that you are sharing your life story with everyone throughout the whole world.  I was wondering what your definition of beauty was because we are doing our project on beauty.   I think beauty is knowing what you want to do in life, how you change the world.  So, you have changed the world in a big way.  You are very beautiful in my eyes.

I was also wondering how everyday life is for you? You seem very happy.  It seems like it would be hard to move and do physical things.  What activities do you like to do most in your freetime?  I like to play sports hang out with my little brother, Lance.  What’s your favorite restaurant?  I know you like Applebees, and like to play trivia there.  I play trivia at Buffalo Wild Wings.

What’s your family like?  Do you have any brothers or sisters?  What are they like?  I have 2 brothers and 2 sisters.  I am the 2nd youngest.  What’s your favorite food?  Mine is pizza.  I hope you write back.  Do you like sports?  I like the Pistons, Tigers, Redwings, and the Lions most of all.

Looking forward to seeing you soon.

Letters from Ypsilanti New Tech High School

Dear Grace

My name is Andre and I’m here with my partner Daniel.  We are 9th graders from New Tech High school.  I’m 16 years olds and Daniel is 15 years old.  We saw some of your videos and your intro.  You seem like a cool person to hang out with.  I too love to dance.  I actually have my own dance group called “The Elementals.”  I’m very good at it but probably not as good as you are.  My partner Daniel likes to read, me too.  Harry Potter is a good book.  I read a couple of them in the past.  Daniel said that he would like to know what other cool books you like to read.  What’s your favorite genre, like horror, romantic, action or even mysteries?  Sadly, we have to go. Talk to you soon.


Andre and Daniel


Dear Grace

Nice to meet you, my name is Denzel and my partner is Jordan.  We are 9th graders in Ypsilanti New Tech in Ypsilanti Michigan.  We are here to talk to you about yourself like what school do you go to, do have a favorite TV show any question that we can learned about you.

My name is Denzel.  I am 14 years old, and I live in Ypsilanti, Michigan.  I like to play video games, sports games, and play basketball outside.  I like to have fun with anybody like my friends.  My dream is to become a pro NBA basketball player and an architect.  My definition for beauty is a key thing in a human being.  To me beauty is in the inside of your heart and the outside of you.  I wonder what is your definition for beauty?  I heard that you like animals we both like animals too, that’s a thing we have in common.  What do you want to be when you get older?

Hi, my name is Jordan.  I heard you like dogs?  What kind of dog do you have? My favorite dog is German shepherd.  I also heard you like acting.  There is a girl at my school who really likes acting and maybe you two will be in the same movie together.  How does Myotonic Dystrophy affect your everyday life?  You do not  have to talk about it if you don’t want to.  Some people say that I’m a little too curious.

Talk to you soon

Denzel and Jordan.


Hi Grace

My name is Jalen and my partner’s name is Janaye.  We are both 9th grade students at Ypsilanti New Tech High School in Ypsilanti, Michigan.  We have been studying Myotonic Dystrophy and what is beauty for about 2 days now and I have a couple questions to ask you.  What do you think true beauty really is?  Do you think beauty is inner or do you think it is an outer thing?  My definition of beauty is something that is inside of you not what you look like or you wear, beauty isn’t something you can go out and buy everybody has it for free no matter what shape or color you are.  Janaye’s opinion of beauty is not external, it is internal.  I think that your personality has more to do with it.  I think that your looks don’t really affect beauty, beauty is what you do.  Beauty in my opinion can be found in your actions, and 25% appearance.  I have a couple questions to ask you.  Do kids at your school look at you differently at school because of your disease, if so how do you handle it?  Do you find yourself beautiful? If so do you feel you’re beautiful outer or inner or both?


Jalen and Janaye


Dear Grace

We are working on a project called “What is beauty?”  We go to YNT and we are 9th graders.  And we think that you are beautiful.

Desire’- I believe that beauty comes from the inside.  You can have a beautiful face, but if you do not have a beautiful personality you are not beautiful person to me.  I feel that you are a beautiful person, everyone is beautiful in their own way.  Even know you have a birth defect you are  beautiful, you are one of a kind.  And don’t let anyone tell you differently.

Personally, I believe beauty is what’s on the inside.  Looks really doesn’t matter.  You don’t have to impress somebody because of how you look, dress or act.

Jalan- We should all just accept the fact that everybody in the world is not perfect. Everyone is not the same.  Like you Grace.  You’re different.  But, with you having a birth defect doesn’t make you ugly, dumb or stupid.  It makes you one of a kind. Don’t let anyone tell you different.  And, if they do.. Be like “And?  Glad you proved your point”.

With all love.


Desire’ Brown & Jalan Mitchell

Letter from Ypsilanti New Tech High School

Dear Byron

Our names are George & Jason.  We saw your video on the PEARLS website. You seem like a cool kid to hang out with.  We are sorry to hear about how you had to have your right half of your brain removed.  But I’m glad that you are a part of life.  If we didn’t know that you had brain surgery we would have never guessed.  We guess you hear that a lot from a lot of people.

George:  I’m mixed with African American and Caucasian and I’m 14 years old. I had surgery also on my head but not as severe as you.  When I was 12, I was playing baseball.  I was on first base trying to get an out and the sun got in my eyes.  The ball missed the glove and hit my forehead.  When I went to the hospital they said I needed surgery the next week to put a plate on my forehead. But is all good.  I quit sports and want to be in the same career as my dad in mechanical engineering.  What would you like your career to be?

Jason:  I am Hispanic.  I am 14 years old.  My family is from El Salvador.  I was born in Michigan.  I have lived in Michigan all of my life.  I am a very curious person and always trying and looking to find out more.  I like exploring.  I am loud and always laughing.  I enjoy working with my dad in construction and building.  I like to play soccer with my cousins and friends.  I also like engineering.  I like to get outside and do fun things hangout and just chill. What are your family traits?

Hope to hear from you soon


Jason & George

Letters from Ypsilanti New Tech High School

Dear Austin

Our names are Yasmin and Reggie.  We are writing you a letter from biology class, we’re also 9th graders.  We are kinda the same because we are in high school.  We attend Ypsilanti New Tech High school.  It’s mostly project based learning.  That means most of the work is online, and we work on projects in groups.

Yasmin:  I  like to talk, and I’m a happy person. You seem like a happy and energetic person by the look of your videos on your blog.  I’m 14 years old, I’m going to be 15 in April.  My favorite person in the world is August Alsina, he is a r&b singer.  I love to eat food and sleep too.  My definition of beauty is what’s on the inside not outside, like how you treat others and act around people.  For example, today I helped this girl with special needs open the door. What’s your definition of beauty?

Reggie:  I’m Reggie, and I am 15 years old.  I like to meet new people, but I don’t really like to talk much to people.  I don’t really know why, which is kinda a back fire for meeting new people.  I like to play music like you do, but I play guitar.  Also I don’t play in a band.  Is it fun to play the drums?  I am also a gamer.  I don’t play any sports but if I did I would play football or baseball.  Do you like to play any games or sports?  What do you feel that beauty means? I think that there is no true definition of beauty.  Everyone has their own definition.  Some like looks some like personalities.  If I had to choose though.  I would go with personality over looks because good people are better then good looking evil people.


Yasmin:  I would like to know how it is to live with Moebius Syndrome.  Are there any challenges involved?  Also do people treat you different just because of your disorder? What effect did Rick Guidotti have on you?  I also would like to know if you would update your blog because I’m sure you have more interesting stories to tell about how you’re life is going.

Reggie:  How many surgeries have you had for the muscles in your jaw?  How has your disorder affected your life up to now? (Don’t have to answer if you don’t want to).  How does it feel to be working with Rick Guidotti?  Why not update your blog so we can see how you’re doing?

It was nice getting to know you


Yasmin and Reggie


Dear Austin

Hello, my name is Jenny. Usually I spend a majority of my time on the internet.  I also like to read different kinds of books.  Do you like books?  My favorite book is The Fault in our Stars.  Have you ever read it?  I also really enjoy music.  I listen to many different bands and artists.  I can listen to music for hours and never get bored.  Okay, enough about me.  In BioArt we are doing a project about beauty.  I would like to know your opinion about beauty. To me beauty isn’t what you see. It’s not about how a person dresses or looks.  It’s who they are on the inside.  If they have a beautiful personality then in the end that’s all that really matters.  And everyone is beautiful in their own way.  What is your definition of beauty?  What is beautiful to you?  We are also learning about genetic conditions.  What is it like having a moebius syndrome?  Are people ever rude to you and if they are, how do you deal with it?  Is there anything that your condition stops you from doing? How do work to overcome this?  I’ve heard that Rick Guidotti has done many things to help and show what people truly are inside.  How has he impacted you? Has he helped you with something?  Do you believe he is genuinely making a difference to help people?  If so, in what ways?  I really like that he captures beauty in different ways.  He shows people that just because you have a condition doesn’t mean anything.  You can be beautiful no matter what.  So I saw in your blog that you had surgery.  How did that turn out?  Are you happy with the results? Thanks for taking time to read this.





I’m Mary.  I guess I’ll start by telling you a little about me.  I’m 14.  I LOVE music.  I saw in your bio that you’re into music too.  What genres do you listen to?  I listen to basically everything.  My music library contains everything from Vance Joy to Fleshgod Apocalypse.  I also saw that you play drums.  Right now I’m learning to play drums and bass guitar but I’m not very good.  I’ve been doing unclean vocals for a while though and I’m pretty good at that.  I hope to be able to scream like Allisa White-Gluz from The Agonist someday but I think I’ve set my hopes too high.  I also enjoy art.  I draw all the time and I’ve gotten pretty good at portraits and facial features.  I painted a mural with a few other artists over the summer and it was great.  I want to do it again but I don’t know where I could and I don’t have others to help me.  Well, I think that’s enough about me.  From what Jenny wrote, I’m pretty sure you know about our bioart project on beauty.  I’m curious as to what your opinions on beauty are.  I personally think beauty is in everything.  One person can think something is ugly, while another thinks it is beautiful.  I think it’s hard for people to see beauty because they don’t look past what is physically visible.  They don’t look for the things that matter.  They look at what they find visibly pleasing.  Looks might seem important to some but true beauty lies beneath the skin.  When I draw, I don’t draw what I see.  I draw what I feel.  I draw what I have experienced.  I draw what is actually there, not what is seen.  I love what Rick Guidotti is doing.  He doesn’t photograph people, he photographs personalities and experiences and strengths. He is able to capture complex emotions in a simple picture and I think that’s beautiful.  It’s great that you’re working with him on this project.  Why did you decide to do it?  Were you worried about anything when you started?  I know you must have expected negative reactions from people.  It’s really brave of you to be doing something like this.  Maybe the PEARLS project will have a positive impact on some people.

Hope to hear from you soon.



Hello Austin

My name is Nick and my partner is Zariah and we are from Ypsilanti New Tech High School in Michigan.  We are doing a project about beauty in a class called BioArt here at New Tech and all of us doing this are sending letters to PEARLS Ambassadors as part of our project on beauty.  I see that you love baseball which I do and I actually play, I am a pitcher for our district.  The season here is over cause it is cold as a brain freeze here in Ypsi so I can’t wait until the season starts up back in the spring.  I also heard you’re in band and what instrument do you play?  I played the trombone in my band class when I was in 8th Grade.  I am 15 years on April 28.  I was wondering if I can ask you a few questions.  When is your birthday and and what grade you are in?  I have learned that you and me have more things in common than we know that we like all kinds of music which in case I and that we both get bullied rarely.

One of the favorite foods that we both like pizza.  We both do youtube videos.  I do videogame videos what kind of videos do you do.  I have another question what is your definition of beauty well mine is everyone one is beautiful in there own special way. What did you think when you were taking pictures with Rick Guidotti? And how is your disorder affecting your life as a teenager.  I look forward to you writing on your blog.  Austin it was nice to write to you stay cool man peace.



Hi Austin

My name is Zariah and I go to Ypsilanti New Tech in Michigan.  I am fifteen years old, I’ll be sixteen in March.  I love to read, write and sing.  Also I’m a big fan of wrestling and rock n roll music.  I see you’re in a band, what’s your band’s name and do you listen to any rock bands yourself?  Anyhow, me and my partner Nick are doing a project in class on Beauty, I was hoping if I can ask you some question if it’s cool.  My first question is how do you live your daily life with this disorder?  What are the challenges you face in your everyday life?  My second question is what is your definition of beauty?  How does it make you a better person and how do you use it to make you a stronger person?  If you want I can tell you my definition of beauty is personally, people many look at your personally.  Seeing if you’re a nice and kind person or if you are mean and rude. It kinda doesn’t matter what you look like, if you have long or short hair, black or white skin or anything really.  As long as you’re kind to others then you have true beauty.  Thank you for letting me write to you, I hope your doing well.  Be safe and stay awesome. See ya later.




Dear Austin

Our names are Mariah and Brandon.  We both currently live in Ypsilanti, Michigan and go to Ypsilanti New Tech High School.  In class we are working on a project about people with Genetic Conditions and we luckily got you to do our project on!  So, through this letter Mariah and I would like to tell you about ourselves.

Hi Austin

My name is Brandon.  I am from Ypsilanti, Michigan.  I am 14 years old, my birthday is September 7 and my zodiac sign is Virgo.  My favorite food is pizza and another one of my favorite foods is also mac ‘n cheese.  Something else you and I have in common is marching band, I played the clarinet during 7th grade, and in 8th grade I played the bass clarinet.  My favorite color is white and two places I hope to visit is Atlanta, Georgia and New York City.  So in our project we also have to talk about our definition of beauty and my definition is someone who is positive and respectful to other people.  Or someone who isn’t rude to other people.

Hey Austin

My name is Mariah Donnell.  I am from Ypsilanti, Michigan and I am 14 years old. My birthday is May 12 and and my zodiac sign is Taurus.  My favorite food is Mongolian and Shrimp alfredo.  My favorite color is black.  One day I hope to visit is Hawaii.  My definition of beauty is someone with a great personality.  That is what makes someone beautiful.

So Austin, since we told you what our definition of beauty is, what’s yours? Another question we would like to ask you is what is the effect that Rick Guidotti had on you?  Did he make you see yourself differently, or make you feel more beautiful?  How has your life been going since you haven’t been posting on your blog since September? We both hope that you fulfill everything that you want to accomplish in life!


Mariah & Brandon


Liceo Scientifico Classico

Hi Lorenzo, Anna, Andrea, and Simone,

I am 17 years old and currently in my sophomore year or second year of high school. I live in a suburb of Boston Massachusetts. I have been to Italy once for about two hours. My family went to Monaco and we drove into Italy for lunch one day. What do you guys enjoy doing outside of school. I love sports and enjoy playing basketball, soccer, and football. My favorite sports teams are the Miami Heat and the Washington Wizards for basketball, New York Yankees in baseball, New England Patriots and Washington Redskins in football.



Hi Byron

We are three 16 years old guys and one 16 years old girl; our names are Lorenzo, Andrea, Simone and Anna.  We are frequenting the third years of the Cuneo high school.  We live in Cuneo, a little town near Tun.

If you have time to answer us we would like to talk with you using the positive exposure blog.

Lorenzo, Anna , Andrea, Simone.


Letter from Westchester Reform Temple

Dear Joachim

We wanted to write to you because we think you are really awesome.  We are a group of 5th grade boys with lots of interests like you.

Congratulations on winning the World Cheerleading Title TWICE.  That is so cool.  It is also great that you are a videographer and photographer.  We take pictures on our cell phones but that is about it.

We are into sports too.  We like soccer, basketball and baseball.  Do you like any of these sports.  We like music.  Our favorite songs are Royals, Holy Grail, Gas Pedal and Wake Me Up.  What is your favorite music?  Do you have any favorite songs.  You must know a lot of music.

You must be busy at school.  We work hard and have a lot of homework and we are only 10. You must get much more.  We wanted to tell you our favorite foods are Chinese, burgers and any kind of dessert, but especially chocolate.

We hope you write us back.

Ellen’s 5th Grade:  Charlie, Matthew, Trevor, Max, Jake, Jack, Ryan,
Eli, Jack #2, Noah, Aaron, Cole and Josh

Letter from Westchester Reform Temple

Hi Jonah

We wanted to write to you because we think you are way cool!  You do so much in the Special Olympics and never give up.  We are a group of 5th grade 10 year old boys.  We like basketball and baseball and a few of us practice instruments, like piano.  We are better at video games and we all love the iPad.  Our teacher tells us we are silly sometimes too!  School is good but sometimes we get a lot of homework.  Do you have a favorite subject?  That is one area none of us agree on.  Some kids love math and others do better in science. We all LOVE vacation.  Our favorite foods are chinese, burgers and chocolate.  What do you like to eat.  We hope you write back to us soon.

Ellen’s 5th Grade Class: Charlie, Matthew, Trevor, Max, Jake, Jack, Ryan, Eli, Jack #2, Noah, Aaron, Cole and Josh

Letter from Westchester Reform Temple

Dear Byron

We are the 5th Grade Judaica class at Westchester Reform Temple in Scarsdale, New York.  We meet on Monday and Wednesday afternoons.

We really liked your blog and your videos. We put together some questions if you have time to answer us. (Just one letter for all of us and you don’t have to answer every single question).

We wondered:

*What do you like best about being the manager of the soccer team?

*Did your surgery make it harder for you to learn things?

*Has anybody ever been rude to you about your surgery? If so, what did you do?

*can you move your arm with the brace on it?

*When did you find out about the surgery you had when you were a baby?

*Has anyone ever made fun of you?

*Are you good at basketball?

*Why do you like history?

Here are some things to know about us:

We like the following sports:  baseball, football (to watch), Lax, skiing, golf and tennis.

These are our favorite foods:  wings, sushi, steak, lobster, pasta, pizza, tacos, candy, pie, tiramisu and bread pudding.

Our favorite subjects in school are:  Math, PE, Computer, Reading and Social Studies.

Our favorite movies/books are:  Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Rush Hour, Money Ball, Iron Man, Grown Ups, Harru Potter, Septimus Heap, Inheritance, Hunger Games, Gregor and Overlander.

Here are some words we used to describe ourselves: athletic, amazing, awesome, boss, brilliant, kind, cool, friendly, happy, and fun.

We had a good time writing you this long letter.  There a lot of us but only one of you. it’s fine to write us just one response. Thank you and we can’t wait to hear back from you.


Scott, Jacob, Ben, Sam H. , Noah, James, Max, Levi, Leo, Danny, Sam W., Michael and Matthew.


Letter from Westchester Reform Temple

Dear Grace,We really liked reading your blog!

We are the 5th grade Sharing Shabbat class at Westchester Reform Temple in Scarsdale, New York.  Sharing Shabbat is a Hebrew and Jewish studies class that meets after school on Thursdays and for Shabbat Services and class on Saturdays until noon.

We thought we had a lot in common with you!  A ton of us liked One Direction and Good Luck, Charlie. (Genie got to go see One Direction in concert). We are big dog fans too and wonder what your favorite dog is. Do you have other favorite TV shows?
A lot of us also liked to swim and wondered what your favorite swim stroke is and how far you can swim
without getting tired. Some of us are on swim teams.  What songs do you sing in Chorus? We are in choruses too at our regular daytime schools.
Some of the songs we’ve sung in chorus are:
Penny Lane, Rainbow Connection, Keep a Song in Your Pocket, Down Calipso Wa.
We also wondered why you use the elevator at school and if it was fun to use. And we thought that it was cool that you were going to Homecoming and wondered what it was like.We wanted to tell you that we liked your name.

We made lists of the things we liked. Did you like anything on our lists?

Sports we Like:Skiing
Paddle Tennis
Ping pong

We are all in 5th grade but go to a lot of different regular schools.

Our favorite subjects are:  Writing / science / reading / PE / Social Studies / Math / Art / RECESSWe love cooking and eating A LOT.

Our favorite foods to cook and eat are:

Chocolate cake
Scrambled eggs
Egg with a hole in the middle (egg cooked in bread)
French toast
Rainbow cookies

Here are some words we used to describe ourselves:

“Bob O’Pedic”

We had a good time writing you this long letter. There are a lot of us but only one of you. It is fine to write just one response to our whole class.

Thank you and we can’t wait to hear back from you!Sincerely,

Jordana, Eliza, Genie, Robert, Raphael, Danielle, Sam, Josh, Matthew, Jane, and Zac