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Meet Brandon Ziemke

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Meet Brandon Ziemke

Meet Brandon Ziemke, a college student, employee and young man with an intellectual disability. Brandon talks about overcoming obstacles, the impact of caring adults in his life, and his hopes and dreams for the future.

  • Duration: 3 minutes
  • Date Posted: 3/11/2015
  • Topics: Employment, Postsecondary Education, High Expectations, Perseverance

Funding for this series was provided in part by the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation.



My name's Brandon Ziemke.

I grew up in Virginia.

When I was 3 I moved to Seattle, when I was 5 I moved here.

And, I pretty much knew I had a disability since the day I was born.

School is pretty good some days, sometimes.

I think that being friendly has been a big help.

I think overcoming obstacles sometimes.

I had to work on reading and writing and using my muscles.

Like I didn't know how to ride a bike until about 10 years ago.

I took it upon myself to learn and it just came, came to me yeah.

Like I think I've been trying ever since I was young to shoot a basket.

And, one day when I was in middle school I just finally did five shots in a row, five baskets, after a lot of misses and trying and trying and trying.


I didn't want to be special needs people.

I wanted to be in the community, I wanted to be in the normal classes, I wanted to be in the lunchroom with those people because I felt like that was important to me.

Yes I have very high expectations of myself.

There were teachers, the people at my job now, there are people at Kawasaki's, there are people here on campus.

I mean the list just goes on and on and on of people.

I have people here like Mara and Naomi who helped me learn to cook and clean and do laundry and do math and stuff like that.


I do washing dishes, I do all sorts of stuff in the kitchen around here.

And, it just kind of like community based.

You know, you have friends that you can talk to and stuff at work.

I'm good at communicating.

I'm good at getting things done as fast as possible.

There's always stuff to do.

There's never a boring moment at work.

Oh I feel really good about it.

And, I feel like I'm helping other people with disabilities get better, because they're people like me, that's why this college thing happened.


I really want to become an actor.

That's seriously something I'm considering doing some day.

I've been in plays before and I've done shows before.

And, I just want to someday get that a little bit better.

My dream job would be Vee Productions in Minneapolis that does Sesame Street Live.

I'd probably want to do like marketing or something like that.

Like if you're looking for a job now, don't give up because you're going to get a job that you love someday.

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