In 2004, when Steve Ferreira was 15 years old and a freshman in high school, he decided that he wanted to make a difference in the world. He felt he could not only positively affect the lives of people with disabilities, but also influence the lives of everyone else around him. He started speaking at local high schools about what it is like to live with a disability.
The impetus for Steve’s speaking was an invitation that he received at his high school to attend a program called Challenge Day. Challenge Day’s vision is that every child should live in a world where they feel safe, loved and celebrated. Challenge Day has a three-step program to create positive change. The first is to wake up and notice what is happening in the world. The second is to create a vision for what you DO want your life to look like. Finally, you need to act and have the courage and commitment that it takes to BE the change.
During the next seven years, Steve spoke over 1000 times at regional high schools, colleges, churches, Kiwanis and Rotary Clubs, graduations and numerous other venues. In November of 2011, Steve decided to form Beyond Disabilities, a nonprofit, with the mission “to inform individuals and communities around the world that if you are disabled, you are just like everyone else…just living life in a different way.” In 2012, he was invited to speak internationally at his birth country, Taiwan, and presented at a Charity Dinner for Christian Salvation Services (the organization that sponsored his adoption), as well as, two Taiwanese high schools and Dong Hwa University in Hualien, Taiwan.
In 2013, Steve, in continuing his advocacy for people with disabilities, was elected to the Board of Trustees of the Arc of King County. The Arc was founded in 1936 and is the oldest non-profit organization serving individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities in the Greater Puget Sound area and throughout the United States. In addition to being a Board Member, Steve has been a Keynote Speaker and Emcee at the Arc Legacy Luncheon. After serving 10 years with the Arc of King County, Steve is now on the Board of Trustees for the Arc of Washington.
In 2022, Steve was asked to present at a TEDx event for Laguna Blanca School in Santa Barbara, California. He received a standing ovation from the audience. Also in 2022, Steve received a Certification for Accessible Studies from Central Washington University which gives him the ability to be an ADA consultant for municipalities and companies.
As a motivational speaker, Steve Ferreira aims to raise disability awareness within each and every community he addresses. He is capable of achieving anything he sets his mind to achieve; there is no obstacle that he will not attempt to tackle enthusiastically. His drive and passion in life has always been to achieve above and beyond what is expected of him. Every day he continues to try to achieve more at school, work, or his athletics while keeping in the back of his mind that nothing can stop him. Many of his friends, some disabled and some not, share his lust for life. His goal with his speaking and athletics is to try to spread this way of life throughout the communities with which he comes into contact.