Breaking Ground 102 - Five Things That I’ve Learned about Advocating for Myself

By Jasmyn Cheatham, with support from Tonya Bowman
Selfie of Jasmyn Cheatham and mom Tonya Bowman
Jasmyn Cheatham (right) and mom Tonya Bowman (left)
  1. It’s ok to ask for help. My mom always helps me. My brothers, my teachers, my Bridges for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing family, my nana, my Brentwood Deaf Church family, and others help me.
  2. Let people know what you need. They can help you if they know what you need.
  3. Sometimes adults don’t have all the answers and that’s ok. They will do the best they can.
  4. It feels good to have what you need. When my hearing aids are working and I have my interpreter with me at school, it is a good day.
  5. You can help others by telling people about your need. They might need the same thing. We have to help each other.

Jasmyn Cheatham is a 2020 senior at Hillsboro High School and a member of the State Youth Advisory Council. She likes to advocate for people with autism and be involved with her community, family, and friends. Jasmyn lives in Nashville with her mom and brothers.


Tonya Bowman is the Statewide Family Resource Specialist for Family Voices of Tennessee. She is the mother of Jasmyn and two sons, Jeffrey and Jacob. Two of her children have special healthcare needs. Tonya loves working alongside other people who are passionate about serving children and families.  She uses her voice to share the parent perspective across various councils, committees, and boards.