I am the first born to Dan & Karen Manchester. Born on December 14, 1972. My parents have been married for 45 years and have been a model of true love, through think and thin.
I have one brother, Dan. He is 4.5 years younger than me. He currently lives in Portland, OR with his wife, Erin, 6 year-old daughter, Roya and 1 1/2 year-old son, Quinn. He is a digital graphic web designer and writes poetry on the side.
I was the oldest granddaughter and great-granddaughter, out of 22 (and counting) grandchildren, on my mother's side. This came with both privileges and responsibilities. My patience and love for children grew out of always being the family's built in baby-sitter.
I was fortunate enough to have two complete sets of grandparents, as well as great-grandparents growing up. Each one of my grandparents had their own, unique impact on my life's story. Some of my fondest memories come from their stories and my time spent with them.
I loved making mud-cakes in this tree at my grandparent's house, when I WASN'T wearing frilly dresses!
My dad and I have always had a special bond. He was my softball coach from the time I was 8 and never missed a field hockey game or ice skating event. Both he and my mom were always very involved in our lives, both with school and sports.
Always a lover of music ....
School didn't always come easy to me. I struggled until 3rd and 4th grade. I had two amazing teachers that allowed me to recognize and believe in my strengths. In high school, I came into my own and sports became an even bigger part of my life. I played softball, field hockey and figured skated competitively, all through high school. Being on a team has always been very important to me. The team atmosphere was where I thrived, made life long friends and felt part of something bigger than myself. That feeling of team camaraderie has carried over to my adult life. I thrive most when I am collaborating and working closely with others.
I graduated from Pilgrim HS, in 1990. Went to URI to play field hockey and study elementary education. After a very difficult year, I transferred to RIC and worked part time at United Health Care. This was one of the hardest times in my life. As a 12-year-old I had come to terms with who I was and wanted to be. My parents, on the other hand, buried their heads in the sand. Coming out to my family and friends was not easy, nor supported. I continued to be true to myself and grew stronger with each punch. Out of this experience I always felt a sense of responsibility to educate others and a duty to fill the world with love and acceptance!