MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Passage USA is a program at the University of South Alabama that prepares adults with intellectual disabilities for their careers. Benjamin Pelham was the first student in this program and was recently cast in the movie “Embattled.”
“Embattled” is a movie that was shot in Birmingham and is about the son of an MMA fighter who has to overcome many hardships to follow in his father’s footsteps. Benjamin played a friend of the son.
Benjamin says, “It’s always been an incredible fun. So fun being on that film. When I was premiered on that film, like I am on a movie screen. It was just so fun.”
Benjamin’s mom Lisa is very passionate about the inclusion of individuals with disabilities and seeing them represented in different aspects of society. She says, “We need to see more of these young adults, young children and babies with Down syndrome so that they become a regular part of what you see. Film can do that. It’s powerful.”
Dr. Abigail Baxter is the director of Passage USA and says that Benjamin has been a trailblazer since the first day he walked in the door. She says, “He really took the program and ran with it. He was vocal in terms of what he wanted to do and what he wanted to accomplish. He ended up doing all that he wanted to and maybe even more.”
Benjamin says the PASSAGE USA program really opened up opportunities for him and his career and he would love to continue acting on stage or on camera.
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