IL ABLE will cheer on Account Owner athletes and all of the teams that will compete at the Special Olympics Illinois Summer Games in Bloomington-Normal, IL this weekend!
Our editors connected with IL ABLE Account Owner and Special Olympics Illinois Global Messenger and athlete Zinyra “Z” Ross and her mom, Simyra. During the interview, Z shared how being a participant and owning her IL ABLE Account boosts her continued achievements as an entrepreneur, artist, disability community advocate and volunteer.
IL ABLE: You will be at the Special Olympics Illinois Summer Games but not as an athlete. What will you be doing?
Zinyra: I will be at the Summer Games with my “Just Z” business. I will be selling hand sculpted/painted charms you can use for keys, hang on backpacks or purses, T-shirts with my original artwork, and information about SOILL.
IL ABLE: Tell us about your business.
Zinyra: My Just Z business gives me the opportunity to be an artisan. I’m able to use all the skills I learned in speech therapy, occupational therapy and special recreation organizations to develop unique one-of-a-kind functional art pieces like charms, jewelry, T-shirts and framed artwork.
Just Z is meant to inspire others by embracing life’s challenges through arts and creativity.
IL ABLE: How does your IL ABLE Account help you with your business?
Zinyra: MyIL ABLE Account helps me with my business because it allows me to build savings with money I earn and protect my benefits. And I can use the money I save to reinvest in my business. I plan on using money saved in my IL ABLE Account to pay any fees that come with creating an LLC For Just Z.
IL ABLE: A question for Simyra: What role do you play, if any, in managing Z’s IL ABLE Account?
Simyra: I am an Interested Party on her Account so I can make phone calls and ask questions on her behalf. I make sure that Z completes the deposit slips, signs the checks and that they are delivered to the post office. I also help her manage her Account by showing her the difference in daily living expenses and future expenses. She loves shopping at art stores and GameStop, but it’s a great lesson for her to see how her hard work can go into savings in her IL ABLE Account and add up for future expenses.
Showing Z how to read her monthly statements is rewarding. I also enjoy watching her learn how spending subtracts from her savings. It gives her a greater appreciation for working hard and keeps her motivated to work in the direction of her dreams.
IL ABLE: Zinyra, where can people find you and your Just Z booth at the Special Olympics Illinois Summer Games?
Zinyra: My booth will be located at ISU Red Bird Stadium (Olympic Town) on Saturday, June 10 only. Just look for the bright pink tent that says, “Just Z”.
Editor’s note: IL ABLE is a proud sponsor of the Special Olympics Illinois Summer Games. Be sure to stop by the IL ABLE booth at the Horton Fieldhouse and Families Tailgate Picnic to say hello and learn more about IL ABLE!
IL ABLE: In March, you received the “Outstanding Achievement Award in Arts and Humanities” from Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs as an acknowledgement of your accomplishments and commitment to advocating for people with disabilities through art and community engagements. How did it feel?
Zinyra: It was the first time I was recognized as an artist. I truly felt like my advocating and volunteering for those with disabilities really mattered.
IL ABLE: You also recently threw out the first pitch at a Cubs game at Wrigley Field. You were representing Special Olympics Illinois and celebrating World Autism Day. What does being an athlete mean to you?
Zinyra: Becoming an athlete opened many doors and gave me unbelievable opportunities like becoming a Global Messenger for Special Olympics Illinois.
I joined Special Olympics Illinois at 14 years old. I never knew I had the physical ability to ride horses, compete in track and soccer, win state championships in bowling, and play basketball. I even earned the name “Rebound Queen!”
IL ABLE: Z, how is having an IL ABLE account helping you achieve your goals?
Zinyra: I always wanted a debit card/credit card with just MY NAME on it! I can save without a $2,000 SSI resource limit. I can create my own future.
Editor’s note: IL ABLE Accounts allow eligible people to save while preserving federal benefits. Learn more about IL ABLE & Public Benefits at illinoisable.com.
IL ABLE: Are you saving money for something special? If so, what are you saving your money for?
Zinyra: I’m saving to secure my future by getting a degree in art. I have always dreamed of getting a college degree and I would love to attend The School of The Art Institute of Chicago. I would love to own my own home and have a lot of animals.
IL ABLE: As a parent, what are some of your hopes and dreams for Zinyra? And how does having an IL ABLE help her to achieve those dreams?
Simyra: Having an IL ABLE Account allows her to save and invest in herself, it gives her a checklist of future goals and allows her to see the possibilities every single month. I hope that she knows there are no limits to her earning potential. I would love for her to own her own house and car. I would love to see her business grow and see her original functional artwork sold in stores all over the world.
IL ABLE: Simyra, what should other families know about IL ABLE Accounts?
Simyra: People should know that an IL ABLE Account can help build greater financial independence for our young adults and any ABLE eligible individual. It helps me feel more secure about my daughter’s future. And I love watching Z save with a purpose and build toward her dreams.
Thank you, Z and Simyra for sharing your IL ABLE story with accessABLE News & Updates!
You can learn more about Zinyra, her work, and see her artwork at justz.org.