Addison Mouser

How did you earn The Congressional Award?

I took on the Congressional Award to force myself to step out on my own to navigate my hearing loss and challenges while doing something I love, like giving back to my community.

What you did in each of your goal areas that helped you Earn your Award?

For Voluntary Public Service, I started the Gratitude Project to encourage youth with special needs, health issues, bullying, and homelessness. I also worked with many programs that empower youth in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.

For Personal Development, I began American Sign Language classes outside of school to help with my gradual hearing loss. I attended mentoring classes to become a “mentor in training” to younger youth. I learned to cook by researching recipes, planning meals, buying groceries, and cooking our meals. 

After multiple knee surgeries and the pandemic eliminating my weekly physical therapy, I put together my own fitness plan for physical fitness requirement. My goals included daily strengthening exercises, increasing my core with planks, and taking ballet barre. My hearing diagnosis includes Vestibular Balance Disorder, and I added biking to see if I could overcome and reach that milestone. Eventually, I was riding around two to three hours a day. 

What are your current ambitions?  

I am continuing all of my volunteer work and the mentoring program. I am now on the Youth Action Board with Housing Forward in Dallas to help reduce youth homelessness. We were recently awarded a 9.3 million grant, which allows me to learn from many in D.C. overseeing the grant. I am also working on a children’s book about being homeless. In Fall 2023, I began my first semester of college at Abilene Christian University. 

Where do you find your motivation?

Much of what I do is rooted in my own experiences with disabilities, chronic health issues, missing out on childhood, homelessness, and finding where I belong. I am also incredibly grateful to have Dr. Opal Lee as a friend and mentor from whom to learn. She decided at 89 to start a petition for Juneteenth as a Holiday. She never gave up, and at 94 years old, she stood by President Biden to see him sign Juneteenth into law as a National Holiday. She is proof that ANYTHING is possible!