“You have to have goals,” says Kelly Neville, 26, who started her own jewelry business, Special Sparkle, six years ago with her mom when they found it difficult to find the right fit for Kelly’s skills.
“I love what I do, and I love it more every day. I especially love shopping and buying the beads at shows with my mom,” says this entrepreneur, who was recently featured on Special Books by Special Kids.
What’s her goal? “I want to be a jewelry designer,” she says. While Kelly’s mom designed the jewelry at first, Kelly recently began getting her feet wet.
“I designed the Christmas doubles bracelet. They are the best ones I ever do because they are my inspiration. And Christmas is my favorite holiday of the year. I have my own tree I can set up, and it’s all about my family and friends.”
Besides jewelry design, Kelly is also a public speaker, with a message for others with Down syndrome. “If you want to follow your own dreams, speak up for yourself. You have to have goals. Speak up for what you want.”
Kelly was chosen to be the keynote speaker at a Ray Graham Training Center high school graduation by the students! “I love speaking. I share about what my life is like, and about having dreams. I got a big bouquet.”
She has also spoken at the Speak Up and Speak Out Conference, and the NADS Fashion Show. She also enjoyed the interview portion of the 2015 Miss Amazing Pageant, where she won first runner-up for Junior Miss.
Here’s the rest of Sam’s interview with Kelly:
What’s been your biggest challenge? "I don’t like heights at all. I usually have someone help me use the stairs—like when we go to concerts, like Bruno Mars or Taylor Swift.”
What are you most looking forward to? “I’m going to Washington D.C. for a [NDSS] leadership summit in October. A leader is a role model. I was born a leader.”
What are some of your happiest memories? “One was when I graduated from high school. It was during the summer. We went to all these beautiful parties. I had a graduation party at my house too, with all my friends, and some of my teachers came. Everybody was inside. We did a Wii bowling challenge in my basement. It was a great day.
“Then when I was 25, I went to Vegas with my mom and my Fab Five girls. (We do girl’s nights together a lot and now we have a Bunco group.) We went to see Michael Jackson in concert, and I loved the chandeliers in the hotel—of course—because they were so sparkly!
“I went to Camp Hope this summer. They have good food and wonderful friends. They also had a reptile petting zoo. I touched the lizards because I liked the color of their skin. One of the snakes kissed a guy on his ear!”
Any more dreams? "I’ve always wanted to be a painter. I’m very artistic and creative."
We hope every single one of your dreams come true, Kelly!