Extraordinary Ordinaries: Special needs woman fulfills dream, becomes Zumba instructor

- Thalia Arbelaez has been dancing since she was three, and even after 20 years, she likely has a smile every time.

"I feel my heart because it makes me so happy," she said. "I feel my heart because it makes me soo happy."

Thalia frequents the Special Olympics Florida Healthy Community facility in Tampa, where she is considered a rock star- not just for her infectious smile, but also for her determination.

The 23-year-old has Down Syndrome, and from the get-go, doctors said it wasn’t likely that she’d become a fully functioning adult later in life. But her parents, and most importantly Thalia, had other plans.

"It makes me feel happy because my dreams have finally come true," Thalia said.

Thalia loves dancing so much, she thought she'd move to the front of the class. Now, she's a Zumba Instructor, and teaches twice a week for the clients of the Special Olympics Florida Healthy Community facility.

"It's wonderful because not only is she able to teach to people like her, they're able to learn from someone like them. They just adore her and it's been wonderful to see her and come in here twice a week," said Allison Rapp, Senior Director of Special Olympics Florida Healthy Community Tampa.

Thalia's parents couldn't be more proud of her progress and determination, and Thalia is proud too.

“I'm so proud of me- that all of the students in this building love my classes. Love my class and learn a lot!" Thalia said.

The Special Olympics Florida Healthy Community Tampa location provides those with Intellectual and Developmental disabilities an opportunity to get health care and wellness resources.

Click here for more information.

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