Michael loves to bring people together and spread happiness. One way he accomplishes this is through his apparel business, M. Girgis Designs.
Michael works hard to make t-shirts, hats, stickers, and other items that spread a positive message. His two lines, “upside” and “live life” encourage people to see the positive sides of life.
Having Down syndrome himself, Michael wants to make a difference in the Down syndrome community and encourage others to “prove them wrong.”
“I am happy to be who I am.” Michael feels loved and supported by his family, friends, and church community, and his support system has helped him to work toward his goals. Having a business has boosted Michael’s confidence and empowered him to believe that he can do what he sets his mind to. “I want to prove to everyone that I can do it.”
Howaida, Michael’s mom, shared her thoughts on labels placed on her son and how he has exceeded expectations.
“In our world people in our society with different abilities are often seen as invisible. They are not seen as people who have capabilities to be productive members of our society due to the negative stereotypes that exist within our society for those who have disabilities. These labels have negative connotations for those with different abilities which make it more challenging for them to be looked upon for their abilities rather than their disabilities.
Michael has proven that people with disabilities can be successful members in society through encouragement and guidance.
He works hard to prove himself and to other people that he can achieve anything he puts his heart and mind to… he teaches us on a daily basis the importance of perseverance and determination. Michael has a way of touching other people through his gentle soul, character, love, determination, and hard work… he is an amazing person both inside and out. Everyone he touches in his life is blessed by his big heart and devotion.”
She also shared that being a business owner has helped Michael in many ways.
“This program* has been a huge blessing in Michael's life. We have seen him grow as a more confident individual. His creative side has expanded and flourished more than we have seen prior to this program. Michael is more confident in coming up with new business ideas on his own. In addition, he has developed more emotional intelligence through this opportunity has been blessed to have. Most importantly, Michael feels he can accomplish anything he puts his mind to. *Note: “this program” is in reference to a service provider connected with ITG.
Michael has also developed stronger communication skills that allow him to speak his mind confidently. He has been a huge advocate for the Down Syndrome community and loves to spread positivity and encouragement to those with different abilities. He has always had a dream to own his own business and this program has allowed him to live his dream.”
Please consider supporting ITG and our new program Limitless so we can impact families like Michael and Howaida’s through microenterprise development services.