Q: What’s your story?
A: My mom found me in a Russian orphanage when I was 11 months old. I was alone, sick and starving. She brought me home to Bonaire. We are a family — my mom and me.
Q: You have been diagnosed with autism, intellectual disabilities and Rubinstein-Taybi syndrome. How do these conditions affect your life?
A: Rubinstein-Taybi syndrome is a very rare genetic disorder. People with this condition are short — I am shorter than my friends — and we can have learning disabilities and an increased risk of cancer. I sometimes can't think of the right words to say because I have autism. Sometimes I have to try harder than everybody else but that is OK because I never quit. My mom taught me that. I can grow up to do anything I want as long as I work hard enough and never give up. That is what our book is about.
Q: Why do you think people like your book?
A: Everybody faces challenges. Everybody has a story.
Q: What do you think other people would get out of volunteering and helping other people?
A: Everybody should help somebody. You should treat people like you want to be treated. Everybody is going to need help at some time in their life. Helping makes you happy.
Q: How are you making a difference now?
A: Kids are no longer hungry when they are not at school. The dogs at the shelter have something to eat. Kids have a backpack full of supplies that they need. Kids who get sick or hurt at school have Band-Aids and other things they need to make them feel better.
Q: How do you hope to make a difference in your life?
A: When I am older, I am going to start a foundation that will help children who need help. I want it to also help animals that need help too. I like helping people and animals. People with disabilities can make a difference in other people's lives and make their community a better place to live. My mom taught me that.
“I Want To Make A Difference,” the book Kesley Norris wrote with her mother, Carol Norris, is available online through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million.